Tuesday, 21 February 2006

freegans

Blogging today is brought to your from: The Bedroom
Ably assisted by: Simpkin and Betty, who are sleeping on my feet
Courtesy of: A functioning wireless connection and a laptop. Yay! Sloth rocks!

B has gone off for a couple of nights on a job in Birmingham. R has taken the week off to be with his kids over half-term.

I am alone with the internet.

Bwah ha ha ha ha!

*Coughs slightly shiftily*

Erm, anyway.

I seem to be posting quite a lot of ethical living stuff at the moment - it's not a conscious decision, it's just the things that are catching my attention. Today, there's a news article in The Independent Online about "Freegans".

Freegans seem, basically, to be people who go through bins for food (and most other things, actually). It's a lifestyle choice based on the premise that as a society, we throw too much away. After reading the article, two things strike me about it, apart from the intial "They do WHAT?" reaction:

  1. The amount of stuff chucked out by shops like Tesco and Iceland et al seems absolutely phenomenal.
  2. As a lifestyle choice it seems quite labour-intensive - really a return to a hunter-gatherer style society, where you don't grow your own food; but you therefore have to put more energy in to locating and collecting it. This is not a bad thing - but if I remember my archaeology 101 course from nearly twenty years ago (yipes!), hunter-gather societies do not have so much time to pursue things that aren't necessary to immediate survival - ie, art, literature etc..
In a slightly-related conversation I had with Semi-Invisible Lodger this morning, he was telling me that his family have 'gone organic' after one of their children was quite ill and was diagnosed as having an allergy to food additives.

I'm not really going anywhere with all this, just mulling over what a wasteful, un-natural society we seem to be living in. I don't think it will change overnight; and I think that if it does change, then it will be a change from the grass roots upwards:

People who by increments change their lifestyle so that we are NOT buying so much food that we chuck it out when it reaches it's sell-by date; who plan and cook their own meals rather than buying pre-prepared; who source locally; who make a conscious decision to use cleaning materials that are not harmful to the environment.

Thoughts, anyone, while I go and make myself yet another cup of tea?

Update: Lots of interesting comments, thank you all very much. Also, via Kitchen Witch's post that kind-of-referenced this one, a comment by Lisa, referencing this essay on Freeganism by Barbara at Tigers and Strawberries. All interesting, thought provoking stuff.

Update Two: Barbara has another follow-up essay here.

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