To Build Sustainability, Build Personal Resilience

On the road to sustainability, it is always important to remember that change comes first from within. As we work to create more sustainable lives, we all need to begin with ourselves. Finding ways to build personal resilience is key.

By personal resilience, I mean both our ability to ‘bounce back’ emotionally when things go wrong, and our inner resources – our knowledge and skills, and ability to make the most of the resources around us when times get tough.

Emotional Resilience

Our ability to ‘cope’ emotionally whatever life throws at us is an often overlooked element of sustainability. But our inner strength and coping mechanisms are essential.

Personally, I find a good night’s sleep goes a long way. I also find it useful to channel my energies productively in my garden. Gardening can help us accept things we can’t control, and find a sense of empowerment in those things we can.

No matter how tough things get, a sight like the blossom on my apple, plum and cherry trees never fails to put me in a calmer, better mood.

Finding a meditative moment to literally stop and smell the flowers is never a bad thing.

Even if you don’t have a garden to enjoy, spending time in a local park, or simply looking at the nature around you on city streets can be a very healthy thing for mind as well as body.

Building Knowledge and Skills – Tools for Sustainability

Building knowledge and skills can give us the tools we need for a more sustainable way of life. Useful things to learn about and skills to build include:

  • Gardening (and food production).
  • Cooking and preserving food.
  • Foraging and plant identification.
  • Herbal medicine/ first aid.
  • Making soaps, cleaners and other natural household products.
  • Sewing, knitting, crochet etc..
  • Woodworking, carpentry and DIY skills.
  • Upcycling a range of reclaimed items, and repair skills.
  • Other age-old crafting skills – basketry, making yarn, natural dye making etc..

These are just some examples. The more knowledge and skills we have to fall back on, the more resilient we can be as we transition to a more sustainable way of life.

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