When you've been doing something for along time it becomes a habit and you take it for granted. We embarked on self-sufficiency farming in the seventies when all good hippies were doing it. After a while you tend to assume that it's not news anymore. So, it's a joy to read blogs of young people discovering the joys of self-sufficiency and older people continuing their commitment to it.
The shift of emphasis from self-sufficiency to sustainable living is interesting and important. My earliest understanding of economic principles grew from analogies comparing our household to the world. We were taking a great deal of pride in producing as much as possible of our own food, shelter, energy, clothing, music, art, etc. And producing enough excess to trade for things we couldn't grow or make ourselves. Or selling our time and skills (and sometimes our souls) on the open market for cash to cover taxes and such. We learned a lot about the real cost of stuff in raw materials and labor. And something about the cost of government services. We learned to do without stuff that was just too hard to produce. And it turned out that there was a lot of stuff we found we didn't really need.
These were important lessons in sustainable living. Every object in our lives is made by taking some resource from the earth and adding some amount of energy and skill, then consuming, passing on or discarding the object. In any event you've irrevocably changed some natural resource into something else.
I'm putting "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle" in the sidebar and linking it to a post with ideas for doing just that.