We’re nobody special – just a family of five six seven living in a semi-rural area of central Pennsylvania (or “Pennsyltucky” as we like to call it). Like many others, we’ve become increasingly aware of how the life we’ve been living is, at times, very complicated and conditional on lots of time and resources. But, can this be sustained indefinitely? What do we mean by that?
Is our life simple enough that we can live a healthy, peaceful, and plentiful life despite political, social, environmental changes that cause disruption to our community?
We realize that we take much for granted. We assume that life will always be at least as good as it is now and that everything we have available to us now, will always be available. We assume that our fundamentals in life are constant – jobs, vehicles, homes, food, peace, water, etc. World events should be teaching us that this is not the case.
The thing is, most of the world lives with much more day-to-day unrest than we do in North America. We’re not saying “the sky is falling”, we’re not survivalists, we’re not expecting the apocalypse to start tomorrow, etc.
Despite not being fearful of the future, we do realize that here in the west, we take so much for granted in our young history as a nation, that we assume it will always be peachy. This kind of thinking is unknown in much of the world and in our estimation, unwise to continue. Not because bad things are going to happen, but because being unprepared for the unexpected often results in tragedy.
So we’ve been deeply examining our own life.
- How do we live?
- Is it sustainable – Are we replacing what we’re consuming?
- How do our daily decisions impact the ecosystem in which we live? This “ecosystem” is not just the environment, but our neighborhood, community, etc.
- Who do we depend on for our basic needs like food, shelter, water, heat, etc.?
- Is it really natural to eat food that on average travels 1500 miles from field to fork?
- Is it healthiest to eat food that is prepared in factories rather than kitchens?
- Is it wise to rely on corporations for our food supply?
- Is it good to eat food that has been modified by scientists?
- Are we prepared for “the long emergency” – any natural, civil, political, or other event that disrupts the normal flow of life as we know it.
- Can the government really be depended on to meet our basic needs?
- Is it the government’s job to meet our needs?
- Is individualism always a healthy characteristic?
- What does it mean to be a neighbor?
- What does it mean to love our neighbors as we love ourselves?
- What does it mean to live in a community?
As we’ve thought through these things, we’ve realized that we take the source of many of our basic necessities for granted and that they can disappear at a moment’s notice. Now, we’re not survivalists and we swear, there’s no bomb shelter being built in the back yard! However, we’re seeing the wisdom in learning some new ways to take more ownership and responsibility in managing some of our basic needs. We don’t believe that it’s the responsibility of “someone else” to meet these needs. These needs should be met by ourselves in cooperation with our community – people living in such a way that they look out for the needs and interests of one another.
This has lead us to a host of ideas all aimed at one thing – to live a simple, sustainable life – preferably one of interdependence on others rather than independence. To be honest, we’re not entirely sure what that looks like yet, but we’re journeying toward it! We hope that as we do, the information we consider and stumble upon will help others on similar journeys.