These days life is so expensive that some people are poorer than they have ever been. The global population is booming and that means that demand is outstripping supply. Energy, food, health services and even clean water cannot be provided in the quantities that we require. This contributes to the prices of these essentials rising year on year beyond what some of us can earn. Is the answer to go off the grid and become self-sufficient?

It’s not easy to live life without the help of others. Humans have always lived in communities where different skill-sets were used for different things. It’s rare for someone to choose to be independent of their neighbors. But to choose independence from services most of us take for granted is a huge leap. Can you grow your own food? Can you generate your own power? It would certainly reduce your dependence on other service providers. It could also be far less impactful on the environment.

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The answer is yes, but not completely. When it comes to energy, we can use natural resources to generate electricity. Solar panels, wind turbines, and even waterwheels can create the energy we need. There may be shortfalls, depending on the season and our demand, though. For heat, you could potentially live off the land. Burning twigs, branches, logs and peat can create the heat you need for warmth, cooking, and hot water.

Food is another matter, though. In many places, it is illegal to kill and butcher animals without certification and a license. Even fishing requires a license in many places. Vegetables and fruits will only be available seasonally if you don’t have the right artificial environment. However, you could choose to purchase foods from sustainable sources like salmon farming centers. This reduces the impact on the environment substantially.

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There may be plenty of positive views about natural and homeopathic remedies. But medical health care is an essential consideration. Growing your own herbs and wildflowers to take care of basic ailments may be one option. But there are many times in our lives where professional medical care is needed. Self-sufficiency cannot realistically be extended to this area.

To be self-sufficient, a reliable, healthy water supply is needed. You may have a well on your land. Or maybe a stream runs through your property. Even so, the quality of the water may be questionable. It’s difficult to live completely off the grid and still ensure your health. While we can possibly achieve a degree of self-sufficiency, we will still need to be a part of the wider community to live the lifestyle we desire.

There are many reasons why you may want to be self-sufficient. You may have political reasons, financial reasons, or ethical reasons. Even in the city it is possible to reduce your impact on the environment. Solar panels can be installed on house roofs. In apartments, you may be able to grow things like tomatoes and strawberries in hanging pots. You could also reduce your wastage of energy and water. Self-sufficiency isn’t practical for most of us. But responsible purchases and usage can reduce our costs and be less impactful on the environment.