Friday, January 27, 2006

Freegan? Now I've heard everything.

I actually read up on these guys back in November around Thanksgiving. Now it looks like a college paper in Arizona has picked up on their story. It's a story about these folks called "freegans". For your amusement, I thought I'd post about them here.

Basically, freegans want to bow out of "normal" life due to the environmental impact they cause there. So how do they accomplish this goal?

1. Waste reclamation: They eat trash. They might try to make this sound a little better than it is, but THEY EAT TRASH. They also try to get their clothing, office supplies, and I assume they get their profos from the trash. I just hope they make sure they haven't been used yet.

2. Recycle, reuse, reduce. You know the routine.

3. Eco-Firendly Transportation: They hitch rides, walk and stuff instead of owning and driving their own cars.

4. Rent-Free Housing: They squat housing.

5. Going Green: They forage for food, medical herbs, etc.

6. Working unsteady jobs or no jobs at all.

I remember when we used to call them bums. When somebody gets their food from the trash, hitches rides, squats housing, and doesn't work a steady job, they're a bum. I guess that's fine if you want to be a bum. I just find it odd that these folks are aspiring to be bums. At least the freegan movement is already pretty sizeable due to the large amount of bums already present who are automatically freegans now.


Corwyn said...

The mere thought of these people existing makes me physically ill.


petallic said...

I suppose it's the difference between a hooker and a trophy wife. Some women work their whole lives to be treated like an object. Others just come by it naturally. To be fair though, I'd rather have a conversation with a freegan than a trophy wife. At least the freegan probably has some interesting recipes.

Patrick Armstrong said...

The difference between "bums" and these people is actually pretty extreme. A lot of the folks I think of as "bums" are of the involuntarily homeless variety. I know some of y'all might think there's no such thing as involuntarily homeless/jobless, etc., but there is plenty of evidence to suggest that in many cases, involuntary homelessness/joblessness has root causes other places than the individual.

What these 'freegan' people are doing is something different entirely. These people are making a conscious choice not to work and not to be a part of society, when they could otherwise be very productive members of it.

Shame. If they really cared about the planet and the environment and all that, they'd all get jobs and put their earned money into buying land and turning it into either wildlife communes (so they wouldn't have to bother us), or organic agriculture centers.

But that would require them to interact with our everyday evils, wouldn't it? I guess the planet will just have to wait.

patsbrother said...

Gosh, petallic, I wonder if your school knows about your Marxist conception of women. (Perhaps you did look up meretricious after all...) Damn communist...

Speaking to paT's distinction between voluntary and involuntary homelessness, I doubt these phrases are accurate nomenclature. One implies: Gosh, I'd like to be homeless today! The other implies: Me landed? That's unpossible!

I suggest we classify the former class of individuals urban frontiersmen and the latter class the residentially-challenged.

Sadly, some part of me isn't joking.

Meredith said...

A.) That sounds like an episode of "wife Swap" that I saw a promo for.

B.) Bums are the folks my used to deal with back when he was an EMT. Great stories, however none of those folks were bums by this type of a choice.

C.) I'm thinking the mortality rate among this group will keep the real bums looking good. That is if the "Freegans" don't go running home to the parents first.

petallic said...

Yes, yes, I see your point, Pat. Pardon my facetiousness.

I disagree with you, however, that if they really cared for their jobs, they'd work within and against the system. I understand why they choose to buck the system entirely...for the same reason that we discussed that some people choose not to date or marry. For many, it is better to abstain from a flawed system than to be an unwilling member.

Of course in their situation, they're not abstaining. They're leeching. If they wanted to abstain, they would form a commune like other self-respecting hippies and live off the land a la "The Ballad of Jack and Rose." No, instead, these people choose to live off the waste of this capitalist, wasteful, demoralized society. Personally, if I don't want to consume the best of something, I don't see how consuming the slag is any better.

petallic said...

Whoops. Scratch "jobs" and insert "principles."

"...if they really cared for their principles..."

Dante said...

Here's something interesting that reminded me of the freegan movement recently. The garbase man came by an emptied my garbage Friday but I guess something spilled and he left it in the road. I was cleaning up what I thought was a soggy bun from McDonalds (piece of McDonalds bag was next to it). I discovered that it was really some sort of cheese that had formed in the garbage. As disgusting as the experience was, my first thought was wondering if any freegans have set up a cheese booth at their "free markets."