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Becoming Self-Sufficient: How And Why To Do It

It sounds like a dream come true – living via your own means, not having to work for a salary and not needing to rely on supermarket trips to get food. Instead, you live through nature, growing your own food and becoming truly self-sufficient. Pure bliss.

While this all sounds great, is it actually practical and possible to live like this, on a solely self-sufficient basis? Put simply – not really, but, as the case of the Watkinson family proves, that shouldn’t stop you from doing as much as you can to live independently.

Whether you live in an apartment or on a farm with 200 acres of land, every single one us can do more to become more self-sufficient. Plus, with the UK Government aiming to reduce greenhouse gases to almost zero by 2050, we all need to contribute in our own way to making the planet a much more environmentally friendly place.

Whether it be installing a renewable energy heat pump or simply growing your own food, we can all do something. Here are some of the key reasons why living self-sufficiently is so important, and some effective strategies you should think about implementing.

Reasons for becoming self-sufficient

Everyone has a different reason for wanting to become more self-sufficient. From personal reasons, like wanting to improve someone’s diet, to political justifications, like wanting to ‘stick it to the man’, here are some of the common reasons why people choose to live independently.

  • One of the main reasons for becoming self-sufficient, many people want to prepare themselves for any potential catastrophe, such as an end to cheap oil, political threat or a zombie apocalypse. Living by your own means can give you peace-of-mind and security in the event of a disaster.
  • A self-sufficient person may believe that the current social structure is wrong, and that the food infrastructure is badly organised, finding issues with the cultural habits of over-consumption and food waste. By choosing to become more independent, this person could remove themselves from that culture, and start to feel more connected with an already disconnected society.
  • Perhaps the simplest explanation for self-sufficiency is the personal satisfaction that people gain from the lifestyle. Whether it be growing their own food, raising their own animals or building their own home, people take pride in being able to provide for their family and enjoy the principle of living via their own means.
  • It’s no secret that climate change is happening – the sea levels are rising, atmospheric carbon dioxide is increasing, and ice caps are shrinking. People are becoming more and more aware of their own carbon footprint and are doing all they can to protect the planet. Choosing to be self-sufficient is one of the most effective ways of doing this, by reducing your waste output and heating your home via renewable energy.

How to become more self-sufficient

There are so many different ways you can make you and your home more self-sufficient. Here are five of the main ideas to get you started:

  1. Renewable energy.

Wherever you live, you are going to need energy of some kind. Now, to become more self-sufficient, you simply have to use a form of renewable energy – whether that be solar energy, a heat pump or a biomass heating system.

Being able to produce your own electricity and pay less each month is one of the best parts about living self-sufficiently. Whatever happens in the rest of the world, you can rest assured that you will always have energy when you need it.

  1. Food and Water.

One of the easiest ways to become more self-sufficient is by growing or sourcing your own food. Fruit and vegetables can be easily grown using a few seeds and a bit of knowledge, whereas raising your own animals – such as chickens, goats or bees – can provide you with a constant source of produce. Plus, learning how to fish and hunt properly can be a highly effective way of finding your own food.

In terms of water, you need to ensure you waste as little as possible, so think about installing a greywater system. Also, install a few rain barrels or water butts in your garden to collect water to use as and when you need it. Whether you want to water your plants, wash your dishes or purify it for your own use, you should avoid using water from the tap as much as possible.

  1. Think about finances.

If you choose to ditch your job and live completely independently, you are going to need to secure your finances somehow. Earning your own income is important not just for clearing your debts, but also for ensuring you can continue to live in the event of an emergency, or if your crop yield fails.

Whether you choose to sell your own eggs, lemonade, goats’ milk – whatever – having your own source of income can also help maintain relationships with the self-sustained community. After all, we all need relationships in our life, so shopping for other environmentally-sourced goods from fellow self-sufficient living people ensures you meet this need.

  1. Some things to avoid.

Domestic appliances are serious energy-guzzlers. While some may be required more than others, avoid using your dishwasher and clothes dryer when you can, and start hand washing your clothes using your collected rainwater. Also, think about getting rid of your TV – not only do they use a lot of energy, but they also drain you of your time. Remove it from your life and you’ll be surprised at how much more productive you become.

You should also avoid using products with harsh chemicals in, such as cleaners or bleaches. These are bad for the environment, so follow this guide to learn how to create your own eco-friendly alternatives.

  1. Some things to learn.

Without that TV in your life, you will free up so much more time to learn new things. Whether you choose to do some thing that increases your revenue, or a new skill that will help you in the long run, here are some things you could learn to do in order to increase your self-sufficiency:

  • How to sew, knit or crochet.
  • How to make your own candles.
  • How to make your own soap.
  • How to make a fire.
  • How to tap trees.
  • How to forage.
  • How to make butter, cheese and yoghurt.
  • How to utilise the medicinal use of herbs.
  • How to fish, hunt and butcher.

In conclusion…

Choosing to become more self-sufficient can not only help protect the planet, but make you feel better at the same time. Whether you choose to embed one or all of the strategies we talk about here, you will be making a difference whatever you do, and should find you feel a lot more productive as a result.

Claire James

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