I’ve been meaning to write about dumpster diving for awhile now, but Colin at No Impact Man beat me to it. Be sure to watch the video he posted from CNN and also all of the comments on his post…it’s a great eye opener. A fortune 500 executive dumpster diver? Who woulda thought?
I just cannot wrap my brain around the fact that we as a nation throw away and waste so much food every day…and yet there are people who go to bed hungry. Why on earth would a restaurant or grocery store taint food it throws out for the sole purpose of keeping people from eating it? They threw it out…it’s trash in their eyes. Why not let someone else make use of it? I just don’t get it. I can understand why they would be upset if someone was taking food from their dumpster and making a mess around the area, but one of the generally known rules of dumpster diving is to leave the area cleaner than you found it.
I have never gotten food from a dumpster (although I have found other lovely household items like this!), but I am certainly not opposed to it…and have been quite fascinated by it for awhile. What a brilliant form of activism…the ultimate in anti-consumerism. Freegan.info describes the activism side of it like this:
“Freeganism is a total boycott of an economic system where the profit motive has eclipsed ethical considerations and where massively complex systems of productions ensure that all the products we buy will have detrimental impacts most of which we may never even consider. Thus, instead of avoiding the purchase of products from one bad company only to support another, we avoid buying anything to the greatest degree we are able.”
I think this might be why people are so opposed to letting their trash go to whoever wants it. Food, trash, possessions….they are all highly political. The choices you make about these things reflect your values. And when you get your food from a dumpster, it makes others uncomfortable…like you are judging them for NOT getting their food from the dumpster. They don’t understand it, so they fight against it. They can’t imagine themselves doing it, so in their mind…it’s wrong/weird for anyone to do it. There seems to be feeling of “if I have to work hard for this…then you do too!”.
In the book Evasion, the anonymous author brings up the absurdity of it all:
“There is the odd paradox — the casualness with which they will throw something into the dumpster, and the lengths they go to protect it once it’s there. How an innocent and harmless act — dumpster diving — will be confronted by greedy shopkeepers, store managers, and employees with scathing words, rage, and violence. “
What would Jesus say about dumpster diving? I think he would hold weekly dumpster diving parties. He would be right there inside the dumpster with everyone else…exclaiming words of joy when he finds a sealed box of bread or a bright shining apple. He would take the food and feed those in the neighborhood…and then go fight for better processes when it comes to food waste!
I think one of the biggest reasons for people throwing things away, wasting food, etc. is pure laziness. I am just as guilty as anyone else of this….although I am much more mindful about my choices now. Household items that you could Freecyle get put in the trash because you’re in a hurry. Restaurants throw out food because it takes too much work in their mind to partner with a food bank or homeless shelter. There needs to be a greater network of people who are willing to be the liason and fill the gap. How about a restaurant with only dumpstered food? A health inspector’s worst nightmare, I’m sure…but what a wonderful thing for a community. And Jesus would be the general manager
Photo credit: Flickr/toddmundt
I’ve always loved the feeling of a “fresh” journal…the smooth pages, the crisp binding, and the way the pen glides. I’m normally a very “tech-obsessed” girl. I switched from a paper planner to an electronic one as soon as they came out, and I love the convenience of it. My computer is one of my best friends. However, eventually I found that I really missed writing on REAL paper (I know, I know, not too ec0-friendly, but I just found about 20 brand new composition journals in the dumpster, so I think I’m good for awhile!). Just as I LOVE getting mail that is written out by hand, I also love writing and pouring my heart out to God on the pages of my prayer journal.
In 2001, I read the book Let Prayer Change Your Life by Becky Tirabassi and she turned me onto the idea of journalling my prayers every day. I have found it to be so rewarding and life-changing for many reasons. First, when I write out my prayers, there is a record of what I have asked God for and I can “track” His answers. It’s been amazing to watch him answer requests so clearly…and if I hadn’t written it down, I would have forgotten and probably taken the credit for it myself! It’s also much easier to pray for friends this way…I write down their requests as I get them so I don’t forget. Secondly, I am better able to process my feelings about a situation or an emotion that I have having when I take the time to write it out. It takes much longer to write something than just say it or think it…so it helps me to process though things. Many times, God will speak to my heart and reveal things as I am writing them. It’s fun to go back and see Him working through things with me. Lastly, I love to write out scripture as I pray. God’s word is so powerful…and it’s also easier to memorize verses when I write them down (memorization is a discipline I want to work on more….I’d love to hear from people who are doing it as well).
I’ve had a few different styles of journals…but the one I come back to most often is one that is divided into sections:
- Praise: I usually work my way through Psalms, doing 2-3 a day and writing verses down that really pop for me that day. Sometimes I will write my own Psalm to God…or write out all of the names I can think of for God.
- Requests: I pray for a lot of things because I know I have a big God. I pray for myself, Matt, Bella, my family and friends. I like writing it all out once and then just referring back to it…adding things as needed. I go back and highlight the request when God answers.
- Admitting: This section is always difficult. If I have been neglecting my time with God for awhile, this one takes a long time! I just ask God to show me anything in my heart/life that is not glorifying Him…that He would show me what areas I need to work on. It’s interesting to go back through my journals and see certain “themes” of struggles I have…weaknesses, etc. and how I am in desperate need of a Savior!
- Thanks: I am so blessed and always want to thank God for the abundance in my life. Just writing down that I am thankful for the “little things” in my life like electricity, running water, and food reminds me that there are other people who consider those “big things” and who are struggling right now.
- Scripture and misc: I use this to write down any “random” scriptures I come across. Not necessarily during my quiet time…but anytime (sermons, quotes from books, etc).
I’ve never journalled much about daily life in general (i.e. I went here…I did this…etc.). After a few incidents in junior high, I learned not to write too many details down (remember Heth?) But I’ve been thinking about starting up again. Sometimes I feel like my head might just explode if I don’t write all my thoughts out and process them. Perhaps I will incorporate it into my prayer journal. I’ve been completely inspired by these groups that I found on Flickr (thanks Mrs. Pivec!). The pages are so beautiful…like an heirloom to be passed down through generations.
I would love to hear from all you journal junkies out there…prayer journals, life journals, visual journals, homemaking journals…anything at all. What do you love about it? Why did you start? Share the journal love!
Filed under: Books, Compact, Consumerism, Environmentalism, Green Living, Possessions, Simplifying, Thrifting
Moving to a small apartment with a small garbage can has made me very aware of what I throw away. Having to walk the garbage bag down 3 flights of stairs, then down another to the basement, out the back door…and a short walk to the ally makes me not want to make much trash! We usually fill up one small garbage bag a week…but even that seems like so much! I’m still trying to figure out where I could take my food scraps to reduce that even further. One of my goals during The Compact is to buy groceries/food with little to no packaging. This drastically reduces the amount of trash one produces. I’m amazed by how much trash we can throw away just by ordering take-out one night! Wow.
A movie that is closely related to this topic is “The Gleaners and I” (thanks Ali!). I just finished watching this quirky little French film about modern day gleaners and urban scavengers. It was incredibly interesting to me…I’ve always been curious about the lives of experienced dumpster divers and people who live completely off of the trash that others create. The movie goes far beyond that and delves into the world of found object art and into the lives of those making a difference in their neighborhoods. I can’t say enough about this movie…I think everyone should see it.
The Compact has me on the lookout for items that I can re-use or use in a different way. In my research about these things, I came across some fun Flickr groups dealing with this topic:
Tips for Recycling and Reusing
Today, when you throw something away…ask yourself if it could be recycled, re-used, or given to someone who needs it (Freecycle!). In a disposable culture…it may feel weird at first, but it does the earth GOOD!
Photo credit: D’Arcy Norman