In order to make our planet last, we need to stop being consumers and start being creators. We need to stop depending on factories that pollute the environment, to create things that are bad for us and our surroundings, package those things in harmful materials, and then have those things transported to us using fossil fuels and polluting some more while they’re at it. In order to do that, we need to be more self sufficient. And for that, we need to posses certain skills.
Here is my list of 5 skills everyone should have.
Everybody should learn how to cook. And I mean proper cooking, not just heating things up. Learn how to prepare vegetables, how to cook fresh beans instead of canned beans, or how to season things. Learn how to chop vegetables so you con’t have to buy them prepackaged.
If you really learn how to cook, not only will you save a lot of money by not buying all the pre-sliced, prepackaged, pre-cooked foods. You’ll eat healthier and you’ll know exactly what goes into your food. Fresh fruits and vegetables aren’t usually wrapped in plastic, so you’ll even create less garbage.
Everybody should learn how to bake for all the same reasons as cooking. If you can make your own bread, crackers, cookies and sweets, you’ll save money, eat healthier and save the environment. See if there’s a mill anywhere nearby. If you start buying your flower there, you’ll even help a local business.
Gardening is the perfect skill to add to the first two. If you can grow your own vegetables, fruits and herbs, you’ll save a ton of money (If you know how to properly prepare them of course.) If you choose the right crops, you can have fresh food all year round. If you don’t have a back yard, there are lots of different crops you can grow on your balcony. You can even grow herbs and other small produce on your windowsill. Gardening is definitely one of the best ways to become more self sufficient.
And nothing is more fulfilling than eating a nice healthy home made, home grown meal, and some home made strawberry-cake, with freshly picked strawberries for dessert.
DIY stands for Do It Yourself. By this I mean actually grabbing some tools and fixing or creating things. Learn to build a table, fix a chair, stain or paint a cabinet. Anything to keep you from trowing out perfectly salvageable furniture and keep your home from falling apart. If something in your house breaks, you should know how to fix it. Ideally you’ll also know how to fix electronics, but I realize this is not for everyone. Next time something in your house breaks or gets damaged, don’t trow it out. Figure out a way to repair it. If something is really beyond repair. Try to find a way to re-purpose it. My mother in law for example, has a broken cabinet. Many of the shelves are badly damaged or even broken. Next week, we’re going to make what’s left of it in into a table.
You can find lot’s of tutorials and videos on the internet explaining you how to fix certain items, it’s worth a shot, right?
In the same category as DIY, sewing will help you repair and re-purpose things. When you rip a seam, you’ll be able to fix it in no time. When something is completely worn, you can make what’s left of it into something different. You won’t have to buy so many new clothes, and you can make your clothing exactly the way you want it. If you gain or lose weight, you’ll be able to take in or let out your old clothes, so you won’t need to buy new ones. Even scrap cloth can be used to sew potholders or dishcloths. You don’t have to create high fashion… but you could if you wanted to! You can find many patterns online, to make just about anything you can imagine.
So, these are the 5 main skills I think everyone should learn, but there are many more that’ll help you be more self sufficient and live more green. Crafting can be a good start, so you can make your own decorations and gifts. Fishing can be a good skill if you eat fish at all. Knitting, patchwork, masonry, brewing tea, basically any skill where you make or repair something rather than buy it, will make you more self sufficient. The environment will profit as well, since making things yourself won’t require packaging, transportation or (usually) the use of toxins.
If you have any spare time, pick up a new skill. If you don’t know where to start or what to create first; Instructables is one of my favorite websites. You’ll find guides on different skills and countless step-by-step tutorials to make just about anything you can imagine. Or you could start by making your own iced tea, or building a bee hotel.
Any skills to add to the list? Have you picked up a new skill lately? Tell us, in the comments.