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Defining Sustainable Living

People talk about sustainable living, green living, and living off the grid.  For some, those words are interchangeable.  For others, they are a puzzle that can’t be solved.  For me, the idea of sustainable living is one I can’t reach at this point in time.

Then I had a conversation with a friend about my yearly goals.  I’ve been thinking about what it means to live a natural life.  I don’t even think of it as sustainable living as much as living organically (again another term).  At the end of our conversation, I was left pondering – what does it really mean?

Sustainable means (according to dictionary.com) 1. capable of being supported or upheld, as by having its weight borne from below.  2. pertaining to a system that maintains its own viability by using techniques that allow for continual reuse: sustainable agriculture. Aquaculture is a sustainable alternative to overfishing. 3. able to be maintained or kept going, as an action or process: a sustainable negotiation between the two countries. 4. able to be confirmed or upheld: a sustainable decision.  5. able to be supported as with the basic necessities or sufficient funds: a sustainable life.

In a nutshell, a sustainable life is one that can support its self.

I want to distinguish that from Living Off the Grid – which literally means that you are living off of the power grid.  It’s a building/home that does not physically connect to the surrounding community.  The building is completely self-sufficient.  It creates its own electricity, water and disposes of its own waste.

So for the purpose of my year-long experiment, I will be using the term sustainable.  My goal is to create a life that is supported with the basic needs.  I, also, want to live a more green life.  Green meaning environmentally friendly.

Now while I live in a rural area, I do not live a rural life.  This is where much of my frustration has been.  I live in an apartment with little storage space and way too much stuff.  We don’t have a yard or a place to raise animals.  We don’t have the ability to live a life that is typical to the sustainable life “dream”.  So instead of trying to fit my life to what I think is sustainable living, I’m going to redefine it for myself.

So for those of you who don’t live on a farm, I hope by the end of this year, you will realize that you, too, can live a sustainable life.  I will be sharing some information this month on how to start and plan for a sustainable life.  I have already started some things and am amazed at how one thing leads to another.  There is so much to share and we are just beginning.  I’m so excited and I hope you are too.

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