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Alex Steffen, 10 May 05

Daniel Pink moves to coin a new buzzword: hygrid:

Today, hardcore has given way to hybrid. Soccer moms tool around in the Toyota Prius, with its nifty gas-electric engine that saves both fossil fuel and family funds. The suburbs are stuffed with flexitarians - mostly-veggies who pick up their staples from the gleaming organic produce section at the local Whole Foods but also opt for an occasional free-range-chicken breast.

Now come the first stirrings of what may be the most telling sign of this shift from hardcore to hybrid: people who are both middle of the road and off the grid. Across the US some 185,000 households have switched from the local power company to their own homegrown, renewable energy. The fastest-growing segment of this population - their ranks are doubling each year - isn't doing a full Kaczynski. Sure, these folks are slapping solar panels on the roof and erecting the occasional wind turbine, but they're staying connected to the grid, just to be safe. And in many cases, they're operating as mini-utilities, selling excess electricity back to the power company. Just as their cars aren't kludgy and their food isn't flavorless, their homes aren't drafty or dimly lit. Call them hygridders. And look for them soon in a neighborhood near you. Because - trendmeisters, take note - hygrid is the new Prius.

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Hygrid's pretty good, but I think the term to watch from this is "doing a full Kaczynski."

Posted by: Emily Gertz on 11 May 05



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