Adding sustainability with reskilling.

There’s a movement afoot in many parts of the developed world that some view as turning back the hands of time and others view as adding sustainability, resiliency and independence back into their lives. I’m talking about reskilling.

According to the Cambridge dictionary, reskilling is:

“the process of learning new skills so you can do a different job, or of training people to do a different job.”

In the context of the current movement, reskilling is about much more than just reskilling for a job though. It’s about becoming a more resilient and self-reliant person, helping to create a more sustainable future and learning and appreciating some “lost” skills, like home canning, gardening, beekeeping, home brewing and more.

This interest in reskilling comes from a variety of fronts: the handcrafted/handmade movement, homesteading and ‘urban homesteading’, the Transition Town Movement, sustainability gurus, and of course, those Brooklyn and Silver Lake hipsters. There are a lot of folks coming to the same conclusion: our current Western way of life is not sustainable. In order to both save the future and plan for a different kind of future (more local and sustainability, less corporate mass production) we need to learn skills that are new to us, but not necessarily new to our grandparents and great-parents.

With reskilling, the focus is on learning skills that used to be commonplace, but which have skipped a generation or two in the name of progress. As we face ever-worsening global climate change, dwindling easy and cheap access to fossil fuels and the overpopulation of our planet, many are realizing that our current trajectory of “progress at all costs” cannot be achieved infinitely on a planet with finite resources. Proponents of reskilling see a return to a more local community-based way of life where we are more involved with growing our own food and fulfilling our own needs and adding sustainability back into the equation.

Some view reskilling as a hobby, and that’s perfectly okay, but learning and undertaking a new skill can have profound impacts when magnified across millions of people. If communities raised their own chickens for their egg needs, we could have a dramatic effect on the unsustainable practice of factory farming.

What are some of the other ways people are reskilling? Here’s a list of some of the most common ways people are adding sustainability back into their lives.

  1. Beekeeping
  2. Cheesemaking
  3. Fermenting foods
  4. Gardening
  5. Rainwater harvesting
  6. Permaculture
  7. Beermaking
  8. Whole foods cooking
  9. Soapmaking
  10. Food preservation
  11. Sewing
  12. Textile weaving
  13. Composting
  14. Grey water management
  15. Bicycle repair
  16. Auto repair
  17. Aquaculture
  18. Book making/binding
  19. Solar cooking
  20. Pruning
  21. Edible plant identification
  22. Vermiculture
  23. Carpentry
  24. Sustainable building techniques
  25. Wilderness skills
  26. Seed saving and plant propagation
  27. Raising chickens, goats, sheep
  28. Urban homesteading
  29. Energy conservation

Resources:

http://transitionus.org/knowledge-hub/themes/reskilling

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