I've said it before and I'll say it again - freeganism isn't about employing any particular tactic or set of tactics. It's not necessarily about dumpster diving or squatting or hitch-hiking. Freeganism is rather the praxis employed by an individual who is informed by a world view that values human dignity and ecological health over the profit motive or the acquisition of endless material goods. This praxis certainly may include dumpster diving, squatting or hitch-hiking; but it can also include hundreds of other tactics that minimize waste, restore value to discarded goods, and encourage simple and/or communal living.

I've written already about some of the drastic changes taking place in my life these days - namely, getting a job (finally!) and committing my self and my time to the Heights of uptown Manhattan. But there is still more evidence these days that I've departed from the track on which my life has traveled these past three years in NYC. I'm making new choices, taking on new challenges, and moving in what may seem an all new direction. And while there are aspects of these changes that may indicate an abandonment of freegan principles and practices, I hope to absolve myself with this here post.

One major development of the past week is that I've moved into a new apartment where I'm not only paying rent, but my name is on the lease! This is definitely a first for me and a world of difference from my wanderlusty ways these past three years and especially the last year, most of which I've lived rent-free right here in the city. Indeed, I've basically squatted a Washington Heights apartment since July! 

I have no freegan justification for the change to my new digs. I'll only say that I much prefer paying rent and having some semblance of security in my own home to constantly worrying about whether or when I'll be served an eviction notice and/or forcibly removed. Nevertheless, I assert that housing ought to be a human right, not a privilege, and it's a travesty that thousands in the US sleep without a roof over their heads while many more apartments and houses sit empty. I hope to soon join the work of Organizing For Occupation (O4O) to make sure that more of these spaces are occupied by people in need.

Though I can't justify the rent, there is at least one good freegan outcome of my living in this new apartment: it takes less than ten minutes to skate to my job-place, where I spend a significant portion of five days a week. This means that my travel expenses will be much lower and I will be using human-powered transport (skating and walking) almost exclusively.

By the same token, it's that much easier for me to get back to Darling during the closing hour to rescue whatever food is to be discarded each day. This should be a decent method of filling the fridge until I discover the bountiful trash heaps near my new home.

So you see - though I'm now a job-worker and rent-payer, I do intend to continue my explorations of life in the city with a minimal ecological/economical impact and maximum communal/cultural impact. I'll keep the reports coming right here, in hopes that you too will be inspired to do whatever you can in whatever situation you may find yourself. That's all that anyone can ask.

Another way that I'm keeping the freegan spirit alive is by making my music available for FREE download online! You can get my new album #Heliotropism at my bandcamp link and/or the "it's a post-industrial world" single, along with the original studio recording of Pax Americana at my noisetrade page.
 


Comments

karen kramer
11/21/2012 04:20

Gio - this is a beautiful piece. I wish all people would read this especially on this holiday of abundance

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Tatianna
11/24/2012 13:41

Calling all freegans or those considering it! Can you please complete either a multiple choice survey takes less than 7 minutes http://www.surveymethods.com/EndUser.aspx?87A3CFD684C2D0D08C OR an under 5 minute short answer questionnaire http://www.stellarsurvey.com/s.aspx?u=B0C2352F-90C5-4B66-BA78-9B716EB2676B& The purpose of this survey is to educate Florida Atlantic University's graduate class Food: Environments and Culture class about freeganism. Your answers will remain anonymous and confidential. The results will be compiled into large statistically representations, unless otherwise noted by you in with written consent at the designated final box stating that you want to be used as a specific example. At the end of the survey there is also an optional elective to request a follow up interview which should last between 30 minutes to an hour depending on your availability. Feel free to skip any questions you feel uncomfortable answering, you can always save and continue later, and you can submit without finishing if need be. Thank you in advance for your participation in my project. I really appreciate it!

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