Sustainability has been something I have been interested in for the past few years. I first learned the concept of sustainability when I started using menstrual cups instead of traditional feminine hygiene options. Since then I have been slowly eliminating my usage of single use plastics, been more considerate of what I buy at the grocery store, and realized that sustainability and survivability go hand in hand.
What does it mean and why it is important?
Sustainability is the capacity to endure in a relatively ongoing way across various domains of life. There are three pillars of sustainable living: economic viability, environmental protection and social equity. More simply put, sustainability is using the least amount of resources possible. We are only going to explore environmental protection, however economic viability will be touched on.
Living in an environmentally sustainable way isn’t just for granola eating tree huggers. Being sustainable will benefit everyone. It can help you save money, make a positive impact on the environment, and prepare for the inevitable end to life as we know it.
Living sustainably isn’t hard and isn’t a drastic change. Part of making sustainable changes in your life means taking baby steps. I have found that setting small goals, or focusing on specific areas is helpful.
Sustainability and Survivability
As I have gotten deeper into the prepping world I have noticed quite a bit of overlap. Both groups value self-reliance as one of the ultimate goals. Power sources that are sustainable, think solar, wind, water. Food sources that are sustainable, think farming. The result of having off grid energy and food sources is not only great for prepping, but also helpful to the environment now!
Does this mean you need to suddenly stop shopping at the grocery store? Absolutely not, but we can start making better choices at the grocery store. Do you need to immediately go buy solar panels for your home? Not at all, but you can find ways to reduce your energy usage at home.
Easy Ways to Get Started:
Carry your own water bottle
Now you no longer rely on single use plastic water bottles! Bottled water is not going to be an option after the collapse of society. Right now, 80% of plastic water bottles end up in landfills. Even if you recycle at home approximately 50% is not recycled. Not to mention that the chemicals from plastic leak into the water and are known to cause various illnesses such as cancer, or reproductive issues. Carrying a reusable water bottle allows you to re-fill as you need. If you’re concerned about water quality in your area, there are numerous water filter options available. There are some that can even be placed in your water bottle.
Bring your own bags
These are easy to store in your trunk, some even fold up to fit in a purse or backpack. Reusable bags are inexpensive, and can be found online, or even in the checkout line. At most grocery stores bringing your own bags can even save you a couple cents. For the occasion that you forget your bags at home, as I often do, opt for paper bags. Paper bags can be reused as wrapping paper, can be recycled, and are biodegradable in your composter. Usually reusable bags are sturdier than paper or plastic bags. My favorite bag is my souvenir from a trip to France in 2016. Durability is a necessity, especially when you are emptying your pantry into bags.
Buy in bulk
Buying in bulk saves you money, while also cutting down on waste. Recently we have been eating a lot of yogurt. Rather than buying them in the small, convenient, portion containers I’ve been buying larger tubs of yogurt. When packing them in our lunches, or portioning them out for a snack I just grab a measuring cup. We could go through 10 small containers a week, or we could go through one large container a week. Less plastic waste! Buying in bulk is going to ensure you have food and other supplies in the event you need to bug-in.
Look in your lunch box
I remember in elementary school, opening my lunch box every day and unwrapping my PB&J. My chips and fruits/veggies were in neat little snack baggies. Now, you can buy reusable sandwich and snack bags. These are relatively inexpensive and save you from having to buy boxes of baggies every other week. These can be made of silicone, or fabric and can be rinsed out and reused. For things like applesauce or dips, you can put them in reusable pouches or plastic/glass containers rather than buying them individually. Again, durability is important. Reusable sandwich/snack baggies and containers can be used to contain items you might find as you forage, or other food scraps.
Practicing sustainability now will prepare you for when SHTF and help save you some money in the meantime. Set some realistic goals for sustainability. Find some small changes you could implement now. Don’t rush yourself to become a homesteader overnight. Find a sturdy, reusable water bottle and filter if needed. Throw a couple reusable grocery bags into the back of your car for when you go grocery shopping. Lastly, ditch the plastic baggies for some reusable ones, or for some plastic/glass containers for your lunches.