We've been talking over on the selfsufficientish forums about "What is self-sufficiency". Here's my contribution to the discussion:
I saw a quote that said "You can't be self-sufficient in wellington boots". To be wholly self-sufficient and rely on no outside inputs whatever, you'd probably be living a stone-age existence. Which is one way to go if you really want to, but why would you want to?
Humankind is inherently social. We rely on other people. We form communities which help each other. That's a *good thing*. So complete self-sufficiency in that sense doesn't seem like a desirable goal to me.
But it is good to be self-sufficient in some things. Self-sufficientISH is a great way of describing it. I have a personal goal to be self sufficient in fruit and veg. It will take a few years but it's do-able. If we ever get more land I'd like to be self-sufficient in meat and dairy. That's a bigger goal. I'd love to be self-sufficient in energy and water. That would mean solar water heating, photovoltaic cells, a suitable site for a good-sized turbine, and a borehole I expect. It's definitely a long-term goal but it's in my mind.
Until then I try to get my fruit and veg and meat and dairy from local (organic, where possible) producers. We try to reduce our use of electricity and water, because that would be part of being self-sufficient in those things anyway, and we get our electricity from a "green" supplier.
It's not about the destination, it's more about the journey. It's about being aware of the impact of your lifestyle on the planet, and trying to make that impact as benign as possible. At the moment even the whole planet isn't self-sufficient, i.e. we can't sustain this way of living without bringing in resources from elsewhere, but there is no elsewhere. If I aim for self sufficiency, it's at the planet-wide level.