Intern Diaries: The Freegan Movement?!
I made a very interesting discovery at work yesterday (we’re researching investigative story ideas), and if any of you readers live in NYC and spend time outside of the Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods in Union Square, you may have witnessed what I’m about to discuss: The Freegan Movement.
Freegans are people (sometimes homeless, but often not) who commit to living a life of limited participation in the conventional economy. They believe that food and shelter are a right as opposed to a privilege, and they are opposed to the fact that homeless people live on the city streets when there are vacant apartments that exist under the grip of capitalist landlords.
So they go scavenging, or “dumpster diving,” for unspoiled food that has been thrown away, and they often recover non-food items like toiletries and electronics. Freegans (a combination of the words “free” and “vegan”) essentially oppose the purchase of any item in attempt to boycott the corporations responsible for human rights violations, environmental destruction, and animal abuse.
They also often “squat” in apartments (meaning they occupy rooms that they do not own that are often decrepit or under construction), and they participate in “voluntary joblessness” as a way to speak out against America’s money driven society. They believe that work is a waste of time because it only serves to accumulate material items, that it’s ridiculous to take orders from others, and that we would be better off volunteering or spending time with family.
Some interesting facts:
- Freegans are often people who have jobs and homes, yet still choose to eat out of dumpsters. They basically exist on trash.
- Instead of fueling their cars with gasoline, they often steal discarded vegetable oil from restaurants to fill up their tanks.
- Many Freegans collect and compost human manure (a.k.a: poop!) rather than using modern plumbing systems, as they believe they are wastes of electricity and water. They create their own toilet receptacles that often contain sawdust to act as a natural biofilter.
- They often have confrontations with true homeless people, who believe that the Freegans are stealing the food and other items that they need to use in order to survive.
Being an underpaid intern, Freeganism is sounding really good right about now. I mean, I’m only a few steps from living on the streets anyway, right?
What do you think? Would you go dumpster diving for dinner?