Aug 152010

Monday, August 16, 2010

In an earlier post I made the statement, “Homesteading consists of a lot of details, but the three main themes to homesteading, at least for me, are frugality, simplicity, and sustainability.”  In many ways these three are intertwined and dependent on each other.  For example, if you like to fish and are living a homestead lifestyle, sitting by a mountain stream catching trout captures the simplicity of the lifestyle you have chosen while also meeting the demands of frugality and sustainability mandated by homesteading.

After all, besides enjoying the pleasant simplicity of time spent with nature beside the trout stream, sustainability is also addressed (at least if your fishing trip is successful) by providing food, and your fishing equipment, consisting of an inexpensive fishing pole and small tackle box, is certainly a frugal alternative to a 48 foot Hatteras Sport fisherman one might have chartered (or owned) in a former life.

The point is, while this is the first in a series on the sustainability aspects of homesteading, sustainability is never divorced from frugality or simplicity, sometimes connected in a very direct way and sometimes with a tenuous connection, but always connected to one extent or another.

Also, please note that this series is on sustainability, not survivalist planning.  Sustainability is a part of a lifestyle…the way we intend to live our lives in a, hopefully, long, happy, and contented manner.  Survivalist planning does not address lifestyle.  Survivalist planning deals with the here and now, how an individual or small group would survive in a relatively healthy condition over a short term…say a day, week, month, or, in the extreme, a year, if our infrastructure or social support systems crashed.

Survivalism is not an end game…it is designed to get you through the rough spots as you develop a new lifestyle that will provide a long term way of living…perhaps a homestead way of living involving those three precepts…frugality, simplicity, and sustainability.  For political reasons I won’t go into here (but that can be found here) I think having a survivalist skill set is a good idea, and I’ll address that in other articles, but for this series the focus is not on survival in the moment but on sustainability over the long term, whether due to political collapse OR as a lifestyle choice.

Regardless of how you get here…through necessity or through choice, sustainability is sustainability.

There IS one difference.  Sustainability is a lot more fun for those who choose it rather than those who it is forced upon…LOL.

Sustainability is about providing three basic life needs…nourishment, shelter, and social order…on a long term basis, as opposed to providing the same thing for the short term in survival mode.  I like to consider the difference this way:

Sustainability is living.  Survivalism is existing.

Also, remember that what constitutes survivalism today might have been sustainability 100-150 years ago. and what was survivalism 150 years ago might have been sustainability 5000 years ago.

The next two pictures depict reasonable sustainability as late as the early 40’s in America while today they would be considered marginally survivalist…

While a survivalist existence 150 years ago, like this…

…was a normal sustainable lifestyle during the Stone Age..

So…for the purpose of this series we need to define what constitutes sustainability for us, today, keeping in mind that circumstances, both natural and manmade, might cause a re-defining of the term, possibility on an extremely fast timetable.  Given the possibility of natural and manmade disasters, today’s survivalism COULD become tomorrow’s sustainability.  In other words, live expecting good, prepare expecting bad.

This Sustainability Series will address sustainable nutrition, sustainable shelter, and sustainable social order.  Articles will be written in no particular order, and will be interspersed among other Family Homesteading posts.  For leisurely reading, simply scroll through this, or any other part of

If, however, you want articles on specific topics like “sustainable shelter” or sustainable nutrition”, use the category drop down box in the left sidebar and choose a topic to have just those articles selected.

Finally…this is a discussion series, not a lecture series.  While knowledgeable, I am by no means an expert.  Weigh in with questions, comments, suggestions, and yes, criticisms and critiques, in the comment section below.

So…read, enjoy, and…most of all…learn.

All about Bob the nutjob!

Bob is a N Georgia blogger, homesteader, yurt liver, self-sufficiency nutjob, pig farmer, political activist, politician baiter...and the best damn cook you know that doesn't make a living at it.He can be followed onTwitter. You can also "Like" our Facebook page.

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