I invited readers at my portfolio blog site to ask thoughtful questions about freeganism, to join the discussion. A dear old friend was up to the challenge. From my blog at gandollo.weebly.com:

What kind of a difference exactly are you trying to make? I know what you're trying to change, but how does a "freegan lifestyle" contribute to that change? ... Is there any way to go about making a difference without such radical life changes, or are we so far gone that the only way out is to completely change our lives?

These are great questions! Let's do this people!

Let's start with the real difference freegans are making from day to day. I would cite:
  • Rescuing viable food, clothes, furniture, energy, TIME from the waste stream
  • Feeding ourselves and hungry people in our communities (homeless or otherwise)
  • Educating people about waste and other inherent problems with capitalism, materialism, corporatism; holding up a mirror to these realities which are so deeply engrained and normalized in us
  • Liberating minds and consciences from the hamster wheel of consumerism
  • Otherwise building sustainable community with our neighbors
The truth is - none of these are really a big deal. As my interviewers have been quick to point out, rescuing a few bananas from my local grocery store doesn't stop the deaths of thousands and thousands of hungry people around the world. Showing people the ills of our economic systems - of systemic injustice and waste - won't lead to justice and sustainability.. 

Or will it?

Many people dismiss freeganism as futile because they don't see a direct connection between our activism and the injustices we are reacting to. They don't see it because it isn't there. There is no direct connection. But does that diminish the value of what we do or what we hope to accomplish? Not at all!

This brings us to the real difference we are trying to make, that which freegans really hope to accomplish: to increase the collective consciousness until we determine as a society that
  • The waste is unacceptable
  • Injustice and inequality are unconscionable
  • Our current economic systems and consumptive lifestyles - ostentatiously indulgent and wasteful, built on unchecked exploitation of poor people and the environment - are unsustainable
  • Running the hamster wheel of consumerism is a futile waste of time and energy, but the best things in life really are free!
  • We need each other
To be perfectly clear, one does not have to be a freegan to hold these values, work towards this kind of world, or possess this kind of consciousness. So to answer your final question,freeganism is only one solution, the one that some of us have subscribed to in response to the points above. There are certainly other solutions. Regardless, I can guarantee you that as you embrace the values listed above and respond to them in ways that make sense to you, your life will radically change. You will see that it is impossible to live the way we are expected to live - the way "they" want us to live - while still following our consciences. 

And this is all I really ask of people, that they obey their own conscience. I promise that, in doing so, you will also free your mind, your spirit, your imagination. And we'll gradually become the change in the world we wish to see.
 


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