I've argued before that survival skills are sustainable, even if you never use them. The same goes for DIY and construction skills too.
In a world of disposable products and easy consumerism, there's much to be said for practical, self-reliance and an understanding of where our stuff really comes from and what goes into making it.
It's these kinds of skills that Eddie Ebel is trying to instill in his teenage sons, building a floating, off-grid barge home that they are planning to take from Oregon to Alaska to help teach communities how to take care of themselves.
The home is going to house all 12 members of the Ebel family (6 of the kids are adopted), and it includes an expandable hidden lower level, as well as its own lumber mill. Here's how Eddie describes his motivations:
"A lot of people like to be survivalists, but that's just for themselves. I'm a military guy - I was who you'd call if there was an emergency. My thing is, if you are surviving just for yourself, that doesn't seem like a good plan. Survive so you can help others and show others how to survive. That's a good plan."
Like the teen who built a tiny, mortgage-free home, it seems like the Ebel kids will grow up with a lot more than just "book smarts".