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Sustainable Living Vs. Self Sufficiency

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What is the difference in sustainable living and self sufficient living and what should be my goal ?
I get asked all the time about my off-grid lifestyle and one thing I have noticed is people are often confused by the ideology and differences between sustainable, self-sufficiency, off-grid and homestead lifestyles.

I have been an off-grid sustainable living homesteader for over 15 years. That means I am not hooked to electricity grid and I produce most of my energy from clean solar and wind power and have a minimal use of grid provided energy from fuels like propane and gasoline.

Now some people believe we should be completely free of all grid provided energy and fuels and 100% self sufficient but I can tell you in my many discussions with hard core off-gridders that I have never met anyone that is 100% self sufficient producing everything they need without some reliance on society.

The goal of most off-gridders is to produce as much as we can from our own homesteads and to minimize our reliance on consumerism and store bought goods, government handouts, and corporate produced energy.

Some off-gridders are minimalists that eschew tvs, and other electrical conveniences while others like me reduce our needs and design our lives to be debt free and sustainable while using some of the technology that makes life a little easier, safer and comfortable like having solar and wind power for gadgets, lights,communication and internet and many of us use services like the internet to run online businesses that support our sustainability.

I was raised on a homestead and my grand parents and parents were subsistence farmers so I know that lifestyle and I can tell you that old homesteaders would quickly adapt to new tools and technology if it made life easier and safer. Having communications like cell phones and internet and tv reception are tools much the same as a truck or tractor is much more efficient than using a horse for doing work.

Now that is the difference in sustainable living and self sufficient living. Sustainability is based on being able to provide what you can for yourself and trading, bartering or selling something you produce to purchase things you do not produce yourself.

My lifestyle is sustainable because I use the tools like internet and communication tools like cell phones but if those services were no longer available I can still provide for most of my basic needs.

Going off-grid and sustainable living does not mean giving up all the tools and conveniences that make life easier, safer and more comfortable. It does mean reducing your reliance on society for things like food, energy, and other conveniences that you could produce for yourself.

The benefit of sustainable living is you can live very comfortably and if you are living debt free with no house payments and no utility bills then the money you make working can be saved for retirement, to improve your homestead, help your kids, or enjoy your hobbies. You can afford health insurance and necessities you don't produce and you have security in the event of an emergency.

Sustainable living can be done anywhere even in the city and does not require severe changes to your life or going without!

I hope that helps people understand the difference in sustainable and self-sufficient living and set some goals.

I have videos of my homestead and cabin on youtube:
http://www.youtube.com/solarcabin

LaMar


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