Skill Building – Top Skills For Sustainability

Tomatoes ripening in my polytunnel.

Re-skilling is essential if society is to transition to a sustainable future. If we look at how people lived a hundred years ago, we will see a range of stark differences. One of the things that has changed is that most people are more reliant on outside resources, and less able to do things for themselves.

This is something we can change relatively easily. All it takes is a little time and effort. By building our skills, we can increase our capacity to live in a more eco-friendly and sustainable way. There are a wide range of skills we can work on. But here are ten top practical skills to build right now for a better future:

  • Organic gardening.
  • Cooking meals from scratch with fresh, local, seasonal ingredients.
  • Food preservation: making jams, jellies, chutneys etc., drying food, canning…
  • Baking your own bread.
  • Foraging for wild/ hedgerow foods.
  • Herbal remedies/ natural first aid.
  • Making natural cleaning and beauty products.
  • Working with fabric: sewing and mending/ making yarn/ knitting, crochet etc..
  • Basic woodworking/ DIY and traditional crafts.
  • Upcycling and reuse (upcycling old furniture, for example).

But skill building is not just about practical skills. It is also about building skills related to how we interact with other people and the world around us. Other top skills for sustainability include:

  • Compassion and empathy. (Understanding others and responding kindly.)
  • Conflict resolution/ effective communication. (Accepting difference without letting it get in the way, and knowing how to defuse difficult situations and get along, even with those who think very differently to yourself.)
  • Coping and resilience. (Being able to handle it emotionally when things go wrong, and building our capacity to ‘bounce back’ from setbacks.)

Remember, sustainability is a journey not a destination. Skill building over time is crucial to continuing to move in the right direction. If at first you don’t succeed – practice makes perfect. Try, try again.

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