Self sufficiency vs. sustainability

A sustainable lifestyle takes planning, preparation, and practice, but to be truly self sufficient and live of the land means an even bigger commitment. There may be many reasons why you can’t fully adopt the good life immediately, but there’s nothing to prevent you from pursuing part of that dream right now, regardless or where you live or the size of your property.

What do we mean by self sufficiency?

For IzReaL, self sufficiency is an integrated part of life where you endeavor to produce all you need from the resources that are available to you. In the past, such a lifestyle was essential for subsistence farmers; the communication infrastructures we take for granted didn’t exist and people had to live on what they could obtain within a few miles of their homes.

Communities formed where natural resources were concentrated and people traded their skills and produce to ensure everyone had all they needed to live. It was often a matter of trying to survive rather than having a high quality of life. In many countries this is still the case, but in the developed world today we don’t need to do everything ourselves or within the local community. That has some positive benefits, but reaching outside the community, especially across the continents, can have a serious impact on the environment.

What do we mean by a sustainable lifestyle?

Living a sustainable lifestyle means using no more than our fair share of the planet’s resources to meet our needs. In the future we can expect energy and food to increase in price as resources become scarcer, and consequently, a degree of self sufficiency will become essential. Self sufficiency automatically leads to a sustainable lifestyle, as you try to produce everything you need, but sustainability is achievable without being entirely self sufficient, if you at least make sure you are acting as a conscientious consumer. Deliberating the full impact/cost of your purchase.

 Just a better way of doing things

Until a couple of years ago, all books on living sustainable would start by having to justify the need to do it, nowadays, few people won’t acknowledge that we’re living beyond the planet’s means. The Eco warrior’s mantra of “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” is the best way we can all contribute.

Put simply,we have to cut down on the resources that we’re using, and stop throwing so much away.

Whether you live on a farm or in an urban loft, you can make your lifestyle more sustainable. Reducing what you use in all aspects of your life also makes sense financially from saving energy in the home to minimizing unused food that’s thrown away, and mending old clothes instead of discarding them.

Identifying areas where you can cut down will help you to realize what really is important and what you simply won’t miss. Sign up to your local (virtual) communities and use them to dispose of items you don’t need and acquire things that still have a useful life in them, rather than buying new.

Thoughts and considerations

How much time do you have to spend working?

Time spent sitting behind a desk to pay the bills is time that you’re not on your land enjoying your chosen lifestyle. However, you have to go into things with your eyes open and accept that to provide sufficient funding for, say, a small hobby farm or an even larger property, it may be necessary to postpone your full commitment to the paradise you have planned. More on this subject here.

Where should you live?

Many of us need to be near a workplace, perhaps in an urban setting, for part of our life. If you have no choice where to live, it’s important to make the best use of your environment to try out all those things you want to do later.

If you’re taking the plunge and moving to the country, it’s easier and cheaper to find a farm in a remote place away from the modern world, but that also limits your opportunities for paid employment, and usually means you have a smaller choice of facilities close by.

We at IzReaL like the idea of being part of a community as we believe in the importance of supporting local economies and felt we needed some of the trappings of modern living, such as good access to healthcare,  public transport and road links, broadband internet, and cellphone coverage.

How to support and achieve your dream?

When striving for self sufficiency it appears there’s always more to do than you have time for. Nature is always keen to reclaim any land, so there’s an ongoing struggle, which depends on the size of your chosen battlefield. In a rural community you will find lots of local expertise, but this requires an investment in time and perhaps some money if you want to be part of the in crowd and have access to more than a bit of advice.

It’s important to assess your capabilities and realistically plan accordingly. You can find more in depth information on this subject here. – It’s really you

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