Self-sufficiency, also known as self-reliance, not only saves you money it protects you from the vicissitudes of life and also helps to protect the environment.
Over the past 100 years changes in the economy and in society generally has led to less self-sufficiency. Increasing centralisation and globalisation of production means you can buy almost anything ready-made but it is not likely to be made locally. Increasing specialisation, both parents working, and more work-life pressures generally means that people have lost the time and skills to be self-sufficient. People are money rich but time poor so they will pay for others to do what they would otherwise do.
We are increasingly dependent on other countries or distant areas of own countries for even basic needs like food and clothes. With increasing fuel prices, the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and protect the environment it is much better in the long term that people be resilient and sustain themselves within their local communities.
Self-sufficiency is surprisingly satisfying as anyone who has grown vegetables or made their own clothes will tell you. It provides us with intrinsic rewards like a sense of achievement, self-esteem and self-confidence.
Self-sufficiency doesn’t mean isolation, indeed it is good to be interdependent, where people reciprocally support each other for mutual benefit. In modern societies, as incomes have increased, trust between people has decreased. Mutual self-suffiency increases levels of trust in society.
Sufficiency is having enough for a life of well-being. A big part of self-sufficiency is knowing how much is enough. If you can reduce your material needs you might be surprised how little you actually need.
There are many ways we can be more self-sufficient, including:
- Grow you own vegetables and fruit at home
- Cooking your own meals
- Preserving food
- Walking or riding a bike to work and school
- Foraging, hunting and fishing for food
- Making and mending clothes
- DIY building, home improvements and home maintenance
- Solar panels, solar hot water heaters
- Insulation and passive solar heating
- Recycling and reusing
- Rainwater collection and greywater recycling
- Craft making like woodwork, basketmaking, weaving and metalwork.