Giovanna Trabasso  /   01/18/2021

What Is Sustainable Living?

COVID-19 brought upon a shift in city-living. With jobs becoming more adaptable to WFH and the greatest assets of big cities closing down, many moved back to their hometowns, childhood bedrooms, country houses. However, this has merely been an increase in a trend that has been happening for years: sustainable living. What the New York Times calls “Climate Change Insurance” has led Millennials to think ahead and prepare for the worst climate shift by buying rural land. This escape from the big city is a means of preparation and an investment opportunity. Buying rural land as early as possible leads to appreciation in value and, by eventually acquiring more land, a chance to build an investment portfolio that becomes profitable with time.

However, this is a tale of sustainability, investment opportunities are only an extra incentive. Land is our livelihood and it’s currently threatened by climate change. Inefficient farming and poor land management are largely to blame. This leads to the destruction of ecosystems that surround us, risking our main life support. But we can do better. We can still turn the situation around, especially as landowners. Every little bit helps, even when just turning your property into a sustainable ecosystem. Don’t feel intimidated, this doesn’t mean starting an eco-agricultural revolution. Sustainable living simply means producing commodities without compromising the natural ecosystem, converting the land we own and live in into a useful resource for ourselves while still considering other species.

Sustainable living requires a proper understanding of the land.

To put it into perspective, only 30% of Earth is usable land, the other 70% being composed of water. Out of that 30%, only 10% is ideal for crops. Through innovation, technology, and proper land management, that 10% has been converted into 40%. Naturally, this understanding of your land comes with research and acknowledging your responsibilities. Before deciding what to change within your land, it’s important to ask yourself if the change is worth the impact it will cause. It might be profitable and fruitful at the current moment, but, in the long run, how will it affect your land?

This is what sustainable living is all about, Best Management Practices. It may be more costly, but managing your land comes with a better impact on the environment, crop yield, and economic growth. Best Management Practices includes a variety of tasks and responsibility, all with the purpose of maximizing what you can get out of your land. It includes understanding the precise application of crop nutrients, knowing the best time of day to water your crops and plants, planting trees to provide natural shade and replenish solid nutrients, and so much more. Naturally, the more you put into your property, the more you’ll get out of it.

Sustainable living comes in many forms and looks different for everyone.

Not everyone needs to convert their property into a sustainable farm. There are various ways in which one can use their own land to live sustainably within their own families. For example, permaculture — permanent, agriculture, culture — is increasingly popular. It is a holistic approach to sustainability. Waste becomes new resources and structures and landscapes provide multiple benefits and functions. You could take it a step further and go completely off-grid, living entirely off your land while providing your own food, energy, water, making your land completely self-sustaining. Homesteads are also a popular option. This is a self-sustaining-DIY approach to sustainability through a smaller scale production of resources and food preservation. Homesteads also include having land devoted to farming and crops in addition to sustaining the farmhouse.

As you can see, the options are endless and come in various forms. Keep an eye out for more Community Lands blog posts on sustainability and sustainable living, we have a lot more to come! Make sure to sign-up for our newsletter to not miss a post.

Permaculture: You’ve Heard of It, But What the Heck Is It?
Journey 2050: Land Use – Nutrien
Sustainable Land Use Strategies – Universität Göttingen
Sustainable land management – Conclusions and findings from a global research program – UFZde
Our Global Commons: Sustainable Land Management – GEFSecretariat
The Permaculture Principles – Oregon State University Ecampus
Permaculture For Beginners! – Perma Pastures Farm

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