Episode 6 Stages of Sustainability

Stages of Sustainability

Bringing Rural Back Podcast

In this episode we talk about the stages of sustainability. In the podcast I call it steps, but after listening to it I believe stages are a better term. The road to sustainability is very similar to the development of a person.

The stages of sustainability are as follows: consumer, self reliance, and sustainability.


Dictionary definition of consumer


1. a person or thing that consumes.

2. Economics. a person or organization that uses a commodity or service.

3. Ecology. an organism, usually an animal, that feeds on plants or other animals.

I like to compare a consumer to an infant. To be a consumer a person really doesn’t have to produce anything. An infant must have everything supplied for it. As long a person has currency they really don’t need anything else. Once a person has a job that will cover their expenses they really don’t have to have anything else. In fact society really doesn’t want you to have anything else. The system wants you to stay simply a consumer.

Self Reliance

Dictionary definition:  reliance on one’s own efforts and abilities

This is something that only a few people move into and I wish a lot more people would move into. Self reliance is a step along the personal development scale. Self reliance should be measured in time. You have to achieve a level of self reliance before you can move into self sustainability. Self reliance is primarily based on supplies.

Self Sustainability

Self sustainability isn’t even in the dictionary so I am including the definition for self sustaining.

:  maintaining or able to maintain oneself or itself by independent effort <a self–sustaining community>
It is a little sad that self sustainability is so low on the societal importance scale that it isn’t even included in the dictionary. The second part of the self sustaining definition had to do with a nuclear reaction. Being self sustaining takes self reliance to the next level. This is where we take our supplies and them to our developed skills and the end result is exponential.
Corn is a good example. A single grain of corn is not enough to sustain you at all, but when you plant that grain of corn and you work the land, tend and care for the plant, you will get a harvest that is way more than a single grain. This principle applies to every natural system. The increase is different sure, but the underlying ideal is the same. This goes way beyond supplies. But here is the catch. You cannot wait till you need these things to develop the skills. You have to go beyond being a consumer, become self reliant, then develop skills to become self sustainable.
In our next episode we will talk about the education systems impact on the societal view of sustainability.
We are Bringing Rural Back.

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