Really, I would like an answer to this one if it isn't too much trouble.
How, exactly, would becoming more self-sufficient and reducing your impact on the environment change your lifestyle?
See, I have been thinking about this a lot just lately, and I am trying to figure out exactly what is so hard about the whole thing that we don't do it. I just can't seem to figure out what the big deal is. And I am as much at fault as anyone else, so don't go thinking I am getting all "holier than thou" on anyone.
What I am beginning to realise is that we have all been brainwashed into thinking we need all sorts of things that we don't really need. I know some of you that read this are older than my 30 years. I grew up in a large farmhouse with lots of room for our family of four, but I remember my Grandparent's little rambler that also housed a family of four and was only about half the size. Then there were my Grandparent's on the other side of the family, and they had a family of six in a house even smaller than that! The farther back you go in US history, the smaller the houses and the bigger the families. Heck, Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote of when her family of five lived in a two room house. Two rooms, not two bedrooms. Not all that long ago it was totally normal for children to share a bedroom. I have seen reruns of The Brady Bunch, and if it's on TV you know it's true. Hehe
Seriously, though, what is really necessary for (good quality) life?
I am not saying that I would particularly like to live with 3 or 4 generations all under one roof and everyone sharing a room. I do like my privacy, after all. But I could, if need be.
Then there is the whole Electricity thing.
What does 'lectric provide for us that we really need? Microwave? No, it's really REALLY nice, but I don't really need it. Light? Well, what are candles, oil lamps, and (duh) the sun for? TV? Refrigerator? K, well that one is tough since iceboxes have been out of style long enough that it could be hard to find an alternative. Still, folks lived for years without them, so I figure I can learn to as well.
So we move on to heat/cooling.
Well, here in the frozen north, I can't say that I could do without some form of heat in the winter. I don't really care how buff you are, when the windchill is -30 deg F, you need something to keep you warm. However, do we really need to set our thermostats quite so high? In the summer do we need to run A/C all day every day? Probably not, seeing as folks have lived without it for many, many moons. Still, this is one area where I get a little iffy. When I was in CA last year visiting FIL and his wife, it really sucked to wake up to a freezing room in the middle of the night and have to get up and restart the fire to take the frost off my nose. I wonder if I could handle something like that on an every day basis.
What about running water?
Quite simply, there are too many ways to rig this up for me to really worry about it too much. Heck, my honorary Uncle didn't have running water when he first moved up to his place (outhouse and everything, folks), and though it was a bit of a hassle to fill the reservoir every day he seemed to get by just fine.
Obviously, this is just a quick overview. Still, I would like your thoughts on it. What would really have to change in your life if you just gave it all up?