Most all of us are very dependent upon other systems (infrastructure) to literally keep us alive. Naturally, this is a result of many technological and societal advances that have enabled a more convenient way of life. A ‘modern’ lifestyle.
It’s a good thing in the sense of progress. However, the more dependent we become on other systems, the more we rely on them for our survival. There is a certain amount of risk that goes along with it, as we put our complete trust in those systems.
For most people, this dependence and associated risk is not a thought that enters the mind. But for a few of us, we recognize that risks exist. And to an extent, we try to offset some of those risks with some preparedness.
There are a lot of things that people can do to become just a little bit more self-reliant / self-sufficient. To become just a little bit less dependent upon modern critical infrastructure systems.
Lets simply have a look at a few areas of interest. Food, Water, Electricity. There are more, however these seem pretty important.
What we can do to offset reliance, even just a little bit, in order to become a bit more self sufficient.
For starters, we don’t need to go ‘overboard’ to completely sever our reliance on these things /systems. Although becoming 100% self-sufficient may be an admirable goal for some, it is very, very difficult (and rare) to fully accomplish in reality. So to begin with, lets take small steps. Do what you can to soften your existing reliance on external systems.
Food and Garden
FOOD self-sufficiency is very difficult. Why? Because our bodies need at least ~2,000 calories of food per day – along with a good nutritional balance. That’s 730,000 calories of food (minimum!) just for one year…
Your typical backyard summer garden will not even come close to providing a tiny fraction of those calories for an extended period of time. HOWEVER, your typical backyard garden WILL set you in the right direction to be just a bit more self-sufficient. You can take it as far as you want to. It can become significant.
I don’t care how small your starter garden is. You need to start somewhere. Next year, maybe you MAKE IT BIGGER. Learn from your mistakes this year. What worked and what didn’t work. Do more of what did work…
The next food step for being more self-sufficient is preserving some of what you grew in that garden. Seriously, this is important. Canning some of your harvest is not as difficult as you might think. It does take some time, but it is a ‘must’ for self-reliance in this regard. Learn how to preserve some of your harvest for off-season consumption.
You could also utilize home canning by purchasing certain foods from the grocery store that are on sale. For example, once in a while when chicken (or beef roast) is on a deep discount sale, we purchase a quantity and ‘can’ it. We not only save money on the chicken (or beef) itself, we also save dollars by not having to keep it all in the freezer (which we also do – vacuum sealed).
[ Read: My Pressure Canned Chicken ]
WATER is a critical resource. You might say that it’s more important than food itself. While it would take a major disaster to interrupt our municipal water supplies, we should not ignore the importance of clean drinking water.
A critical step towards being more self-reliant in the water department is to acquire a good drinking water filter, such as any of the Berkey countertop filters.
[ Read: Authorized USA Berkey Dealer ]
Unless you live in a dry desert region, many have some sort of water source fairly close to where we live. Perhaps a stream, river, pond, or lake. A means of gathering that water and filtering it for safe drinking is a tremendous step towards risk deterrence.
Additionally, store a quantity of water in your home for just-in-case. Maybe it’s simply a stack of several cases of bottled water. Or you might fill a water barrel for emergency. These simple steps will alleviate (for a time) your reliance on a municipal water source.
I have a well (actually a ‘dug well’ at a natural spring out back), and I still keep water barrels filled for ‘just in case’ my water pump fails (to offset the time to get it fixed). It’s never a bad idea to store water!
ELECTRICTY is the life blood of nearly all things ‘modern’, including our systems of infrastructure. Although the prospect of a long-term power grid failure is beyond the scope of this article, the more likely short-term outages can be fairly easily offset with an ordinary generator.
A generator for home emergency usage does not have to be huge. I know of many folks who have 6,000 watt or 8,000 watt generators (or higher rating). However you typically don’t need nearly that much power to operate critical appliances within your home. For example, I am able to easily run my critical systems with a 3500 watt generator while only consuming a fraction of that power to operate the fridge, freezer, furnace, and some lights. While a whole-house monster generator is great, you can get by with less – just saying.
Solar power has become very popular. However most of these home systems today are ‘grid-tie’ which feedback solar energy into the grid – which you are credited for on your monthly bill. The problem though is that most of these grid-tied systems will not produce electricity for the home if the grid itself goes down (some will), and ALL of them will NOT provide any power for the home at night.
This is why I have built my own ‘off grid’ solar power system (with a battery bank) which provides entirely separate and independent power – not related or connected with the grid. My home is connected with the grid; however, I also have the capability of an entirely separate power source (kind of like having a separate generator). You can really go ‘over the top’ with these systems, but the good thing is that you can start small…
[ Read: Solar Generator versus Gas Generator ]
Regarding becoming further self-sufficient against your electrical utility company, just think of all the things in your home that ‘require’ electricity, and then find alternatives for them. For example, a solar oven is very effective for cooking (it’s similar to cooking with a crock-pot), so long as the sun is shining and it’s not freezing cold outside. Or a small single burner butane stove for cooking.
[ Read: Cooking Without Electricity ]
The point is that you can start small. And I can almost guarantee you that once you start, you’ll be ‘hooked’… :=)