I shake my head within a slight hue of exasperation when I think about the concept of living off the land and a self-sufficient, sustainable lifestyle because there is such a misinterpretation to the whole idea–especially these days. To the layman/woman who isn’t familiar with the movement, one of the first few thoughts to pop into their minds is that people who are involved in living a clean, sustainable life (especially in remote locations away from the hustle and bustle of the city) are basically hippies who wear headbands and sit around fires cooking their dinners on converted 55-gallon drums. Although some may live like that, others are modern, college-educated professionals (even celebrities) who appreciate the old and new ways of providing for one’s self and get a sense of fulfillment from not contributing to environmental degradation–as most people unknowingly do on a daily basis. There is a satisfaction which is invoked when you don’t have to start the car up (creating a notable carbon footprint) just to get a bulb of garlic and cilantro to make some salsa; rather, you merely take ten steps to your herb container or garden just outside your back door to get the ultra fresh ingredients! Yummmm.
I am not practicing sustainable living as I should be at this point in time because though possible, I am still living in the city and it’s rather difficult to mold that lifestyle around an apartment that I won’t be living at too much longer, so please, no criticisms ? . My plan is to pick up a couple of acres of land in parts where a cherry tree won’t perish three weeks after planting; and dropping my container home on those wonderful acres and living the life for which I have yearned for quite some time. I can’t see myself ever being fully self-sufficient because that is a hard lifestyle to get used to and maintain, but I know I will be planting hearty veggies and fruits and cutting back on my carbon footprint as much as possible. Solar, wind, and the like.
So does living off the land, being an agrarian or self-sufficient mean you are a hippie or in extreme cases, a survivalist? Mostly no. Would you call a farmer who is mostly self-sufficient, providing meat and crops for his family a hippie? Hardly… Remember, the hippie movement had its place in history back in the late 60’s. There were important ideologies which have been extracted and assimilated from that memorable moment in time. Today, many people across the world are just well-informed and aware of how important treading lightly upon the earth really is. There is only one earth and we are the caretakers of it for future generations–long-haired or bald like me, hippie-ish or conservative. We are all responsible for it. The byproduct of our efforts, besides preserving our natural resources and environment? Our health, of course –which is a good thing, right?
Here is a site which exhibits great examples of treading lightly, sustainability and living a healthy lifestyle: EarthWise