Your Climate Stories: Tom Hoydic’s Off-the-Grid Approach in Michigan

Written by Guest Blogger on . Posted in Your Climate Stories

This is the first in a new regular series on Planet Change called “Your Climate Stories,” where we share reader stories about changes to the planet that they’re seeing, and actions that they are taking in their daily lives to help reduce carbon pollution and respond to the impacts of our changing planet.

If you have a climate story, please send it, along with any of your photos and videos, to us here.  

Tom Hoydic

Name: Tom Hoydic

Location: Waterford/Drummond Island, Michigan, USA

At our home in Waterford, we have switched over to all compact florescent lighting throughout the house. We frequent the local farmers markets and purchase locally made products and locally grown fruits and vegetables when in season.

We do not apply any kinds of fertilizers, insecticides, or weed control products to the lawn.  Grass clippings, leaves, and other natural yard debris are either left on the lawn or collected and composted.

We have created a natural wild perimeter around the edge of our property which serves not only as natural privacy fencing but also as a carbon depository, oxygen production system and habitat for deer, fox, birds, rabbits, and other critters that we share the space with.

We drive a hybrid, PZEV vehicle (partial zero emission vehicle) that gets extraordinary mileage with near zero pollutants coming out of the tail pipe.

We designed and built a solar powered home on Drummond Island and spend the months of April to November living completely off-the-grid. The home is double insulated, equipped with Energy Star appliances, on-demand water heating, high-efficiency propane heating (which is actually cleaner than burning wood) and has compact florescent lighting throughout. Although we have a small motorized boat for fishing, recreation on the water primarily includes kayaking and sailing, both of which do not require the use of internal combustion engines.

On land we enjoy hiking the miles of forest trails and exploring the acres of unique Alvars on the island that the Nature Conservancy has acquired and is protecting.

Tom with his solar panels


Tom Hoydic is a nature photographer and teacher. He recently published his first book, “A Sense of Place,” a photographic portrait of Drummond Island.

Photos courtesy of Tom Hoydic.

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Planet Change is a Nature Conservancy blog site designed to share stories about actions the Conservancy and others around the world are taking to fight carbon pollution and the impacts of climate change, and to help people feel the connections between climate change and their daily lives and understand actions they can take.

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