As the world population continues to grow, it becomes more important to consider the state of the natural world. Humans are consumptive. At the bare minimum, we need food, energy, warm clothing, clean water, air, and space to live in. Many of us enjoy luxuries like fancy cars, stylish living spaces, and food that's been pre-packaged or prepared. However, if the generation that follows is to have all of the essentials they need, it's up to us to live more sustainably so as not to deplete the earth of its natural resources.
What Is Sustainable Living?
Sustainable living means living in a way that reduces the impact on the environment. Turning off the water while brushing one's teeth is an example, as this action reduces the amount of water wasted, which also reduces the energy that must be spent to clean and treat the wasted water. Sustainable living practices frown on excess waste and consumption and emphasize using only what is absolutely necessary. This may sound like a lot of work, but it's actually very easy to make the change to living a sustainable life. Plus, the benefits of sustainable living help everyone, not just the individual practicing it.
Sustainable Living at Home
One of the most attractive benefits of sustainable living is how much cheaper it is. For instance, a homeowner can save electricity by turning off any lights or appliances they're not currently using. It's a small move to make, but by saving electricity, they reduce their electric bill, saving money and energy. Since most of the energy sources humans depend on (coal, oil, and natural gas) are limited, it's important to make them last as long as possible.
There are many other changes an individual can make to live more sustainably. Riding a bike instead of driving a car cuts down on fuel consumption and reduces greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution. Growing your own food in a small garden means less money spent on groceries and reduces the expense of having food transported, cleaned, and preserved. Try to reuse household items as much as possible before throwing them away, and when possible, recycle or repurpose items.
Sustainable Living on Small Farms
Sustainable living is always an option on both small farms and large ones. For farms, sustainable living often goes hand in hand with being self-sufficient, which means that enough food has been produced for the farmer and their family to live on. Small farmers often find that raising both crops and livestock works well, as each helps support the other. Crops can be used to feed the animals, which in turn provide fertilizer and pest control for the crops. Crop and pasture rotation ensures that the soil maintains some nutrients, and a compost bin can help provide extra fertilizer when necessary. The trick is to waste nothing and come up with new ways to work with what you already have.
Tips for Self-Sufficient Living
No matter where you are, there are steps you can take to become more self-sufficient. One of the most common methods is gardening. Even a small backyard garden can cut down on food purchases and save families a good chunk of money. Keeping a few chickens is a great way to guarantee a constant supply of eggs. Learning new skills is another way to be self-sufficient. Instead of going to a hair stylist, for instance, dedicate some time to learning how to cut your own hair. Instead of throwing out worn clothing, patch it. Self-sufficient living is, at its core, an invitation to become more creative and resourceful.
Check out the links below for more resources on self-sufficient living and farming: