one man's muck is another man's meal

| | Comments (5)

meet the freegans...

who says there's no such thing as a free lunch?

in my quest to find out just how far some crunchies will go in the pursuit of green godliness, i stumbled across the freegans. what is a freegan? well, according to the website freegans are "people who employ alternative strategies for living based on limited participation in the conventional economy and minimal consumption of resources." basically, a freegan is someone who claims to be anti-consumerist while consuming the foods and waste you've discarded. the smock has three words: yuck. ick. and, ewwww.

some strategies for this lifestyle?
- dumpster diving
- trainhopping and bumming rides
- tresspassing on private property and squatting
- "voluntary unemployment"

it would be really easy to totally lambast these people as freakazoids of the highest degree, but to be fair, some of what these uber-crunchers say rings true. and while i sympathize with those who want to be more, er, conservative in their consumption (yes, recycle! yes, re-use! and yes, renew!), i simply cannot wrap my brain around the fact that choosing to be a jobless, homeless freeloader is a good thing.

and of course, the smock totally objects to the "holier-than-thou" attitude some of these green-beanies have adopted. case in point: “if a person chooses to live an ethical lifestyle it’s not enough to be vegan, they need to absent themselves from capitalism,” said adam weissman, 29, who started so, the smock asks, is freeganism only virtuous if it's voluntary? the rest of the dumpster diving squatters are just opportunistic parasites sucking off the working classes they despise? this sort of reasoning leaves me completely nonplussed. and, honestly, if you don't need all the crap corporations are trying to shove down your throat, why are you stealing that crap outta my trash and shoving it down your throat?

and here's a disturbing thought that i couldn't find an answer to in my research on freegans: what about their children? what sort of protection do they have from all of the food-borne illnesses of crap food and all of the diseases associated with such unsanitary living conditions? i'd love to know.

on the lighter side of the dumpster, one woman's go at being freegan-lite for a month can be found here: freegan ride; a lengthy, thought-provoking article can be found here: marginal utility: elitist dumpster divers; and another interesting take here: wisdom at the bottom of a dumpster, where the author points out:

freegans are most likely to vote for democrats who keep promising free stuff. free health care, free housing, free college tuition. free, free, free.

freegans won't vote for conservatives, because conservatives keep insisting, stubbornly, foolishly, that free stuff isn't really free and somebody has to pay and that somebody is you. who wants to hear such nonsense?


The second article hits the nail on the head...parasites need their host to survive. If there wasn't waste, freegans couldn't live off of it. I'm all for living simply -- reducing, reusing, recycling -- but these people are freakin' ridiculous...

The thing is, it is sort of like St. Francis, yet without the thing that makes St. Francis a worthy model: the cross and the Gospel. St. Francis would rather eat out of a dumpster, and have everyone think that he was pigging out at the table of rich patrons rather than have any sort of public display of his penance.

This is another example of well-intentioned folks sort of getting what is wrong with our society, and, not being guided by the Gospel and the Church, going around and making things worse in the end.

Though I am happy to have furnished my home with some fabulous "found" treasures, I draw the line at food. I can't think of anything more disgusting. And dangerous.

(I think the parasite and host model is quite apt. Even if I don't wish to think of myself as a parasite, the reason that my family is able to live quite sumptuously with "Found" and rummage sale items is because we live in an outrageously affluent town where people throw and give away things that most of society only dreams of buying.)


What you are describing is more symbiosis than parasitism. If you were a parasite, you would be making (or convincing) the rich folks to give you something that they were using. When you are re-using refuse, you are not draining from the host at all, in fact, you provide an outlet for them to discard large objects without the cost of hiring someone to drive it to the dump.

so what we need to do do combat freebeeism is to be the absolute best at reducing/reusing and recycling as most of us are who have more than 1.2 children in our households. We have less waste by necessity and therefore we can't sustain these parasites.



About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by smockmomma published on October 13, 2007 11:05 PM.

crunchies take note was the previous entry in this blog.

never trust a skinny cook ... and other aphorisms from my youth is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.