Today’s world is overflowing with consumerism. We are told every day, through advertising, what to eat, what to wear, and that we need cell phones and the latest gadgets. Oddly enough, this has inspired many to start living a self-sufficient lifestyle, also known as sustainability or “living off the grid”. There’s a lot to consider when making this life transition, and you may not know where to begin if you want to take a step back from the consumer way of life. There a few impactful and integral parts to living self-sufficiently, but remember that any journey begins with a single step.
One of the best and most effective ways to promote sustainability is to hunt for your own food. Instead of being reliant on commercial sales for fresh food, you can provide for yourself and your family, as well as boost the earth’s eco-system. By choosing to forego the grocery store, you’re one less customer that supports factories polluting the air and creating massive amounts of waste, as well as farms that breed and butcher animals at alarming rates. When you hunt, you’re only “taking” what you need from nature, as opposed to over-purchasing from a store. It’s also important to hunt locally to avoid burning fossil-fuels in long distance travel. Starting local hunting (if it’s available to you) is a great way to boost the natural eco-system. Consider what animal overpopulation may take place in your area. If your area happens to be overpopulated with deer, then deer would be an obvious answer as to what to start hunting.
If you’re hesitant or not interested in hunting with a gun, consider taking up fly-fishing as a way to catch your own food. Fly-fishing can be performed in almost any body of water, and there are many types of fish you can catch, from trout, to bass, to panfish. If you live near an ocean, you can even go fly-fishing for saltwater fish.
Part of self-sufficiency is living minimally. While all the latest-hunting gear may seem exciting, remember that the gear is only material items. Only purchase what you need to hunt, and, even better, try to purchase your gear from small businesses to support your local area.
Hunting Isn’t Really Your Thing?
Okay, maybe you’re not interested in hunting at all; or, you’d like to live a fully self-sufficient lifestyle, and you don’t want to purchase commercial hunting gear. Have you ever considered building your own farm? To live off your own land, you could have a farm with livestock and your own garden. Start small: raising chickens and other low-maintenance livestock is a good way to break into farming, especially if you don’t own enough acres to humanely raise cattle and larger livestock. You can also consider planting a self-sufficient garden. Do some research on the area you live in and what type of soil is on your property. From there, you can begin to plan a garden that will cover all of your needs for fruits, vegetables and even herbs. Consider the type of weather your garden will endure, and plant vegetables that will be in season. You’ll never go hungry when you have fresh food growing right outside your door!
While hunting and growing your own food is a major part of living self-sufficiently, “living off the grid” requires some more work than may have been required 100 years ago. We are surrounded by technology, electronical advancements and power sources that weren’t even fathomed in the past. Being self-sufficient doesn’t mean you can never use the internet, but how will you power your home and technology? How will you use gas or electricity to cook your food? There are actually a handful of options that allow you to power your home without having to pay a single bill. If you live near running water, you can use hydro electricity to power your home. Through a system of running water flowing into a turbine, you can harness consistent power. Another source of power is a little more common: wind power. You can check the average wind speed and frequency of your location, and if they’re sufficient, you can install a wind turbine to harness energy for your home in greater quantities. However, the most appealing source of sustainable energy is solar power. Although it requires an investment, installing solar panels around your home is the most efficient and powerful way to run electricity through your home. Installing solar panels in a well-lit location, without any blockage from the sun, will eventually procure return on your investment. Don’t think you are only limited to one source of energy, though! Find a combination of these sources that would work best for you. While one person may only need to use running water to power their home, another may use a combination of wind and solar power for a busier, self-sufficient lifestyle.
Hopefully this information has provided you with enough information to take the first steps towards living self-sufficiently. Remember, a sustainable lifestyle does not mean you have to leave behind everything you own and become disconnected from the world. In fact, many people who live self-sufficiently believe this lifestyle has created a greater sense of community amongst themselves. What do you have to lose? Become self-sufficient, and your life may become easier than you once thought.