Annually, we are assailed with alarming news and statistics about the scarcity of natural resources. With the world approaching eight billion people (we were 7.5 billion in 2019), food, water, and fossil fuels could vanish even faster.
Although it is too big an issue to be resolved individually, when many work to minimize the problem in their own home, it makes a meaningful impact. Being fully self-sufficient is in a world where everyone has less and less time to dedicate to themselves.
But there are some parts of our everyday lives where we can become more practical and conscious.
What Makes You Self-Sustaining?
Let’s take a look at four ways to practice self-sustainability at home.
Growing and Cooking Your Own Food
One of the main aspects of everyday life is related to food. The less time you have to dedicate yourself to it, the more you will eat out or depend on processed foods, which are not always healthy.
One of the first steps to becoming more self-sufficient is to start growing vegetables and fruits at home, cooking your own meals, and paying more attention to ways to conserve and save food (prepare just enough to avoid waste between meals).
Sometimes it’s not possible to grow and cook all types of food. But there are some that you can grow yourself in any available space. Even if you live in an apartment, it’s possible to build a vertical garden on your balcony or some window.
You can start small, with a few smaller vegetables and gradually diversify your garden. The result will be vegetables and fruits produced naturally (unlike the industrial scale of large producers) and healthier (because they do not have pesticides or other chemical additives).
Having a home garden provides fresher food than food bought at the supermarket, in addition, it has the obvious and appealing benefit of being more eco-friendly and saving you money in the long-term.
Changing Your Shopping Attitude
The first thing you should think about when shopping is if you really need to switch to the latest model of car, cell phone, or television every year. Practice buying only what you truly need. And when buying is unavoidable (in the case of clothes, for example), try to adopt the concept of purchasing with purpose.
In recent years, companies have adopted the stance of doing more than just selling products and profiting from them. Some clothing brands have associated their sales with actions that seek to make a difference, from promoting equality to protecting the environment. There is a famous brand that has adopted the “for one, another” business model: for every item they sell, a similar item is given to someone who cannot afford it.
Try to learn more about the preservation practices and social impact of the clothing brands you consume before making your next purchase. As much as it seems like a small step, it can make a difference in the future.
Buying Trans-Seasonal Clothes
It's helpful to adopt the habit of buying clothes and accessories that you can wear all year round, instead of changing your wardrobe from winter to spring and from summer to autumn. The truth is, you don’t really need different clothes for each of the four seasons.
By using trans-seasonal items, you consume less, collect fewer clothes, and save money and save natural resources like wool or natural leather. The same goes for accessories. Instead of changing your glasses frames all the time to follow fashion trends, opt for a more generic style and durable materials that can stay with you for a long time.
The more new clothes/accessories in circulation, the more natural resources will be invested on a mere fashion whim.
Repairing Before Replacing
An absurd amount of product is discarded because of a simple scratch or imperfection. This means that more natural resources (and money) will have to be invested in producing replacements when the old item only needs a little repair.
The first tip for being self-sustaining is only buying high-quality items because they can last longer. But even the best products on the market can have problems over time. In this case, always refer to ways to repair them before throwing them away.
You can try this on your own (there are tutorials for just about everything on the Internet today) or with a little help. Even old clothes can be turned into other things instead of ending up in the trash bin.
Save Money While Preserving the World
Millennial and Gen Z generations are already more concerned about the consequences of their consumption habits. But there are still many people who need to wake up to reality.
Self-sustainability is not just a way to protect the environment. Simple practices and some changes in habits can help you save money and live a simpler and healthier life. The temptation to buy everything ready is great. And the less time you have for your family and yourself, the more likely you are to pay others to do it for you.
But try to adopt these little practices to be more self-sufficient. Some baby steps can help society become more aware of the importance of preserving natural resources for future generations.