For me however, in the case of sustainable agriculture and self reliance, the fear of doing nothing provided the impetus to do what I can. I spent a little while two years ago being homeless after losing my job to cheaper, overseas service contractors and was struggling to get back on my feet. I had done the couchsurfing thing with friends but did not want to wear out my welcome or become too comfortable as this was a temporary setback. One of my friends worked for a small importer and got me the job that got me back on my feet. I found this place through a Craigslist ad and met with the landlady a couple times to test the waters before deciding to move in.
Now, don't get me wrong, I can not put everything into practice that I would like to. I would love to put a rainwater catchment system in place with the house gutters, hook up a greywater system to my bathroom sink and swales in the Western side of the property, a couple dwarf dairy goats and to have a couple beehives. I can't do those things mainly because of lease stipulations and a landlady who is set in her ways. It took 6 months of cajoling and convincing to allow me to put in several raised beds. That was my first step. Because this is a temporary situation, all of my endeavors are scaled to this location and are portable.
So I have chickens who are fed organically, their manure and the alfalfa that is scraped off the deep litter beds in the coop are added to the compost along with the coffee grinds that I recycle from work, vegetable scraps and egg shells too. When that breaks down I add it to the beds. When I do water changes from the tilapia tank, I use that to water the seed starts and vegetables.
Since I use raised beds and recycled nursery pots and only plant roughly an eighth of an acre, I do not need a tiller and I work all the beds by hand. That eliminates the need for tractors, harvesters, threshers, etc. I am not against using those machines in a larger scale operation but would suggest looking for alternatives to gas or diesel powered vehicles.
I've read lots of ebooks, pdf's, books, how-to's, blogs, magazine articles, taken free classes and watched YouTube videos on the various topics. Those sources all have one common theme, that is it is what works for their situation and they are sharing it, just like I do. I have learned a lot and I'm implementing what I can.
The biggest piece of advice I can give you is there is no wrong way to achieve your desired level of sustainability. Learn what you can from as many sources as you can and adopt and adapt what you can for your situation.
Maybe you are in a city that prohibits owning chickens or dairy goats but you can still garden. Maybe you are in an apartment, you can grow your food in containers. Maybe you have a very small property, you could consider joining a community garden. Convert food miles to food feet!! Recycle what you can not reuse or repurpose/upcycle. While you may think that your contribution to sustainability, permaculture, homesteading or the environment will not make a difference, if everyone just does what they can it will make a big difference! Do what you can, as best you can!
Thanks for dropping by and spending some time with us!!