you can do it! we can do it! interested in how self-sufficiency and community can strengthen one another, and how creativity is power.
I grew up in an Amish and Mennonite community of farmers, so sustainable practices and DIY have always been an inherent part of my life in such a way that I never conceptualized them as a choice until I was an adult. It was normal to grow, harvest, and preserve (or raise, butcher, and cure) most of our own food. All of my clothing was handmade, compost was routine; I made my own paints from berry juice and dandelions. I learned how to sew a quilt and braid a rug from my grandmothers (though I didn’t retain as much of this knowledge as I would like, and have to re-learn now as an adult) Growing up and moving to a big city was a definite wake-up call. The higher demands on my time, social life, and finances also made it harder to feel motivated to put extra energy into making things that I could just as easily buy. Since so much convenience is readily available, consumerism and waste can feel inevitable. To consciously choose a sustainable lifestyle as an adult in the city has involved a lot of learning and ongoing practice. I am driven by the need to be creative and self-sufficient. I also love the idea of not generating any trash and make it a personal challenge to myself as often as possible; the zero waste movement has been a huge inspiration. While I will say I am deeply troubled by trash in the ocean, landfills, and the capitalist consumer culture that brings forth these issues and all others of disconnection to the earth— I aim to make my personal choices based out of greater love and connection. Knowing that I can make things on my own from natural sources makes me feel happy, creative, and empowered. It has also been a great personal lesson in overcoming anxiety about the world; it feels great to prove to myself that certain things like living without trash are really possible. I’m also interested in questioning who has access to resources and who is able (or allowed the freedom) to do things on their own. While I think there are always a wide range of options that some may not realize exist, it’s also extremely important to me to balance that view with the recognition that others may not have control over their degree of self-sufficiency. I appreciate that the DIY community tends to bring awareness to a variety of perspectives and I’m constantly learning from it.