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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

What exactly is self-sufficiency?  Webster's defines it as follows:
adj.  Able to support or maintain oneself without aid or cooperation from others.
Let's take a look at this definition "Able to support or maintain oneself without aid or cooperation from others."

To some, this could be as simple as holding down a job, making mortgage or rent payments, purchasing groceries, and paying utility bills. In some ways, this would be right, however consider that you are relying on your boss to properly manage the business and therefore ensure your job.  Not to mention that you rely on your landlord or mortgage company to meet all legal resposibilities to ensure your ability to remain in the dwelling.  You rely on the grocer to maintain inventory and open the store for you to make those purchases.  Not to mention the utility companies maintaining delivery systems to bring water, electricity, gas, telephone etc into your home.

So how can you become self-sufficient?  You would have to rely on yourself for all of life's basic needs. Sustinance and shelter are really all you would need to meet the strict definition.  Sounds easy doesn't it?  Think about it a minute.  Maybe you could build your own home on that 20 acre wooded lot you've got.  Could you forge your own tools to get the job done?  How about nails? well Maybe you could build a forge for tool making and use wooden pegs, actually very feasable.  You could even forge cooking vessels & utensils.  OK, shelter is covered.  Now how about Sustinence.  Water can be gathered from a hand dug well, if you're lucky, or gathered in containers from rain water.  Food is a different story. A garden would be a must, but that alone would be difficult to plan for covering the basic food groups to maintain health.  Of course open pollinated varieties are a must so that you can maintain a constant supply of seeds.  Clothing can be woven from cotton, hemp or other suitable crops.  Not very fashionable and quite time consuming, but what else are you doing?  Farming is about as important.  Livestock will supply you with meat, eggs and milk.  With some knowledge, not to mention male & female versions of all your animals, you could keep your livestock going eternally.  So now we have sustanance covered. Self-sufficiency has been obtained, although a very simple existence has been achieved.  Not really a practical lifestyle.


Well now you have, by definition, become self-sufficient.  The basic necessities of life are covered. Let's face it, man has done this before.  Living with the essentials of maintaining life without running water, flush toilets, electric lights & refrigeration, internal combustion engines etc.  But let's face it, some reliance on other people is a must given today's civilization.  We can, however use the abilities and resources we have to become more self reliant.  In learning some basic carpentry skills, you can buy the materials you need from any home supply depot and build your house.  It may not be fancy, but you could likely make it inhabitable.  Even if you live in an apartment and have no land, you can grow at least some of your own food in containers. 

The fact is, most of us will never be completely self-sufficient, but we can all reduce our reliance on others to some degree.  We are only limited by our own minds.  You would not believe what I myself have accomplished since I began prepping, I know I don't.  Likely you don't have access to a plot of land large enough to start a self-sufficient homestead.  But if you take some time to think about it, you will find ways to make yourself less reliant on others, and in turn, make life a little easier to handle when the unknown knocks on your door.

1 comment:

Sue said...

I'm with James Talmage Stevens on this. Self-sufficiency is just about impossible, but self-reliance is achievable and something worth striving for. I used to think they were the same thing - interchangable words, but I can see the difference now. Thoughtful post - thanks!