Sustainability is Self-Sufficiency

Sustainability is a word that has been thrown around in the recent years. I hear it quite often nowadays. What exactly does sustainability mean? Why is it important? Most importantly, what exactly can we do to be more sustainable?

We cannot strive for sustainability without taking responsibility for a greater level of self-sufficiency. As my family strives to become more self sufficient, my definition of what that means developed largely from me learning about sustainability. The more self-sufficient we can be – the more we are able to meet our own needs, the easier it will be to live in a sustainable way.

Sustainability - E. Jean Homestead


Of, relating to, or being a method of harvesting or using a resource so that the resource is not depleted or permanently damaged.

Merriam-Webster Dictionary

A common definition, largely taken from what is known as the Brundtland Report: Sustainability involves meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. It is also, doing whatever we can to care for our planet while caring others; taking only our fair share enabling surplus to be returned to the system.


Sustainability isn’t just some ‘oh, that would be nice to have’ concept. The climate crisis, pollution, waste, ecosystem damage – these are all huge issues affecting all corners of our globe.  If we continue as we are, we will increasingly find that we are not able to meet our own basic needs moving forward. What happens when the damage to the ecosystem around us is beyond repair, where will our food come from? What will it mean for the health and well-being of future generations?


All the crises we currently face can leave us feeling helpless. There are a number of things we can do to take back control and be more sustainable. While it can be helpful to be more self-reliant and self-sufficient, this does not mean that we should not forget to look outwards – and think about other people and the wider world.

Remember, as an individual, it is unlikely that you will truly be able to meet absolutely all of your own needs. However, you can move much closer to doing so. You can certainly make sure you reclaim control over everything you buy, everything you do, as well as, your impact on the planet.

As individuals, we often have more power to create positive change than we give ourselves credit for. To empower change, we can:

  • Refuse (to buy or participate in anything that is unsustainable)
  • Reduce (the general amount we consume – buy less, buy better)
  • Reuse (items we do own for as long as possible)
  • Repair (anything we own to prolong its lifespan in addition to the natural ecosystems around us)
  • Recycle (as a result – participating in a circular economy)

We, as humans, need to start to shift to a more sustainable lifestyle. The first step is to admit that there is a problem with the systems within our current lifestyles. The second step is to take action. Let’s take a look at each of these ideas, refuse, reduce, reuse, repair and recycle, in a little more depth. As we do that, we think about the small, practical actions we can all take, right now, to be more sustainable.


Sustainability - E. Jean Homestead

environment, Home, humble home, self sufficiency, sustainability

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