Sustainability is more than a trend, it is becoming a desired way to live. More and more I hear the term sustainablility, self- sustainable, etc. What is sustainability you might ask?
dictionary.com defines sustainability as this:
- the ability to be sustained, supported, upheld, or confirmed
Mirriam-Webster defines sustainable as this:
- able to be used without being completely used up or destroyed
- involving methods that do not completely use up or destroy natural resources
- able to last or continue a long time.
Sustainability is a life choice, choosing to live in a way that not only pacifies the immediate moment (i.e. instant gratification), but also allows for a lasting change or impact. Is this a new idea? Not necessarily, our grandparents and great-grandparents had a much more sustainable mindset than our modern outlook, but people once again are gaining a newfound awareness of how sustainability can impact their lives and the lives of their children, and perhaps their children’s children. Those who came before had a deeper understanding of what it meant to purchase something and work the land. Their money was hard-won and they understood the value of the exchange they were making, the sweat equity invested, if you will. They were informed consumers, purchasing only what they needed, (the original minimalists), as well as choosing a quality product from a craftsman/artisan who specialized in making that particular product, knowing that it was made to last.
I believe sustainability is gaining momentum in this country. People are beginning to see that how they live, what they buy, and the choices that they make, does impact the earth, their health, their family, and leave a lasting impression, a legacy, if you will. However, it can be tricky to think outside the instant-box ideas that we have grown accustomed to, so we may need to pause to become intentional and mindful in the choices that we make.
We are currently experiencing a phoenix-rising-from-ashes artisan/craftsman resurgence in this country. With the help of the internet, artisans are once again able to support themselves and their families with their craft or art, and in turn they are providing us a unique opportunity to forego the big box type outlet for all our needs and choose a sustainable lasting product, in many times a merging of utility and art.
We also need to become aware that we can look down the road at our neighbors, our community craftsman/artisans right in our own backyards. In our rural area we have many many craftsman/artisans. A few miles down our road, is a knife-maker, who makes high quality beautiful knives and leatherwork. We also have a wood-worker who produces works of art that are purchased all over the world. I myself have become a bread-baker selling at our local farmers markets and taking orders for special occasions. We have a retired artisan just up the hill, who creates works of art from metal. We also have amish basket-makers and quilters in the area. These few examples are just the tip of the iceberg from the top of my head. This is not to even mention the numbers of carpenters, mechanics, organic farmers and homesteaders, and also the skilled laborers who make their livings in our neighborhoods. In choosing a sustainable product or service from your neighbors, your local craftspeople and artisans, supports your community and the families living around you.
I have become more and more aware of sustainability in this past year, call me a late bloomer if you will, but to some degree we have been living this way for years, just by default. We haven’t always had the latest and greatest, our vehicles are not new, but well maintained. When we got chickens we re-purposed a shed that was no longer in use from another family member, we didn’t rush out to buy new materials to build a state of the art coop. (Let me tell you though, it has taken a lot of years and acceptance to realize that Martha Stewarts chicken coop should not be coveted!) wink. wink. I love my chicken coop, the weathered boards and peeling paint, my grandmas nesting boxes, and old feeders and waterers we picked up at auction sales for pennies on the dollar. Making do with what we have has brought us endless moments of creativity and much more joy than we could have ever dreamed. I would not want to live any other way. I love my sustainable life.
Homesteading is a great showcase of sustainability. Raising your own chickens, growing your own gardens for food and medicine, cooking with what you have, buying in bulk rather than single-serve often plastic containers, looking closely at how you live, and how you can become more sustainable-conscious. Homesteading is a state of the heart, a mindset, an intentional way of living, being fully awake and invested in your own health and well-being as well as that of your family, while being firmly rooted in your values, living conciously and deliberately in order to elevate yourself and others. Even if you live in an urban area, or are new to gardening, chicken-keeping, etc. employing sustainable thinking, a homesteader’s heart, to your lifestyle is not only possible, it may lead you down a path to a healthier, happier, life.
In keeping with a sustainable mindset, I want to dedicate Monday’s posts to Sustainability. Here I will share ideas for living a sustainable, and sometimes self-sustaining lifestyle. It’s all about making concious, informed choices, and living your values, whether you are purchasing an item, or making-do with what you have. Let’s awaken together to a creative and beautiful way to live, repurposing items, reducing our enviromnental impact, and leaving a legacy of abundance and joy in the process.
Please join me in this journey by sharing what sustainability means to you in the comments below.