Sustainable living means a lifestyle that uses as few resources as possible and causes the least amount of environmental damage for future generations to deal with. Permaculture is an aid to those individuals who strive towards a self sustaining, off the grid lifestyle.
“We see a system of exchange based on abundance instead of encumbrance, equality instead of competition, opportunity instead of obligation, gratitude instead of greed. We see all peoples everywhere, enjoying equal access to all good things, and with this comes a blossoming of the soul of humanity such as has never been seen throughout the whole of time. – Author Unknown.”
- Housing: Sustainable homes are built in such a way that they use few nonrenewable resources, do not require much energy to run, and cause little or no damage to the surrounding environment. A sustainable home should be constructed from materials that have been produced in an environmentally friendly manner. For example, a house might be built from straw bales, adobe, or reclaimed stone or brick. Many homeowners pursue sustainable living by making their homes as low energy as possible, either by making sure that they have very high energy efficiency or by producing their own power from the sun or wind.
- Sustainable energy: The energy sources used must be renewable rather than limited in quantity. Energy sources such as fossil fuels cannot readily be renewed, so instead of these, sustainable living requires using renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, water, or geothermal energy. The energy must also be captured and used in an environmentally friendly way that does not damage the environment for future generations. For sustainable living, a person must leave as little impact on the world as possible.
- Diet: The diet of someone who is focused on sustainable living should focus on foods that are at the base of the food chain. A vegetarian lifestyle is best suited to sustainable living (but not essential provided animal rights are respected) because it requires the fewest resources to produce and causes the least amount of environmental damage and degradation. The food should also be grown organically without the use of chemicals such as pesticides or herbicides that can pollute the environment and cause health problems for other animals or humans. It is best to eat food that has been grown locally to reduce the problems caused by transporting food over long distances. Many people try to grow their own produce in their yard or in a community garden near their home. A Permaculture food garden is best suited for this purpose.
Essentially, sustainable living involves living as lightly on the Earth as possible. Someone who succeeds at living a sustainable lifestyle will use very few resources and will leave the environment as untouched as possible so that future generations will be able to enjoy the same high quality of life that people do today.