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Essential Points on Freeganism

* Freegans are people who people who want to reduce waste, limit their consumption, save money, strengthen their communities, and opt out of the cycle of working for socially irresponsible corporations to buy the goods of other socially irresponsible corporations.

*In a society of massive overconsumption and inequality, enormous quantities of usable resources go to waste while the vital needs of hundreds of millions for food, clothing, and shelter go unmet.

* Through dumpster diving, squatting, guerilla gardening and other strategies, freegans transform waste into resources to meet real needs, allowing us to live our values of ecological sustainability, cooperation, & sharing while reducing our contribution to capitalisms abuse of humans, animals and the earth.

* Freegans believe that our overconsumptive society‚Äôs wastefulness is overtaxing our planet’s ecosystems, creating a garbage crisis, and leaving millions without vitally needed resources.

* Freegans question the idea that the best way to provide for everyone’s needs is through fierce global competition for competition by corporations that keep costs down by underpaying workers, mistreating animals, and abusing the environment. On a planet with finite natural resources, an economic model based on infinite growth simply isn’t sustainable for more than few generations.

* Global oil reserves are dwindling to the point where in several decades we will no longer be able to sustain a global petroleum-based economy, and no alternative presently exists that can likely sustain the kind of globalized, mass-consumption, mass-production economy that has grown up around the burning of hydrocarbons.

* As an alternative, freegans believe we can create a society based on local self-sufficiency, cooperation on a community level, respect for the earth and other living beings, limited consumption, and wise conservation and voluntary sharing of the resources available to us.

* Acording to a study by a USDA-commissioned study by Dr. Timothy Jones at the University of Arizona, half of all food in the United States is wasted at a cost of $100 billion dollars every year. Yet 4.4 million people in the United States are classified by the USDA as hungry. Global estimates place the annual rate of starvation deaths at well over 8 million.

* Many freegans seek alternatives to the tired debates between left wing advocates of “big government” and right wing “big business” enthusiasts, believing instead that we need to renew traditions of local communities where people support each other and wisely use and conserve finite resources.

* By diverting waste for practical purposes, we can decrease our consumption of resources, decrease the flow of waste into incinerators and landfills that cause cancer and asthma, and provide needed resources to millions

*Experts are predicting that planetary oil supplies are running out, and that we will no longer be able to sustain a petroleum-based economy within the next few decades. With no clear alternative in site, we need to start looking to an increased reliance on local self-sufficiency, wise conservation of resources, and a shift

* The seemingly harmless everyday products that we buy are produced through human exploitation, environmental abuse, and animal torture–sweatshop labor, factory farming, animal testing, industrial pollution, deforestation, oil spills, forced displacement of indigenous communities, forced child labor, murder of union organizers, advertisements that objectify women and promote destructive and unrealistic body image ideals use of toxic pesticides, destruction of wildlife, funding wars and dictatorships, and other atrocities. When we buy these products, we pay for these practices.

* Manufacturers and retailers have built business models that treat waste as simply a cost of business, without considering the social and ecological costs of producing and disposing of the goods they sell.

* Nutrition and food safety experts who have observed the freegan practice of recovering food discarded by stores have found that so much safe, high-quality food is regularly discarded that freegans, using common-sense precautions, can safely harvest these foods and take them home to eat without risking their health.

* In an affluent society, the marketing strategy of “planned obsolescence” keeps us working long hours and constantly in debt. We are told to replace rather than repair our computers and that last years fashions are out of style. Shopping malls and tv commercials market the activity of shopping as a hobby. “Disposability” is marketed as a positive attribute for everything from contact lenses to cameras to kitchen towels.

* Freeganism is about believing that we can create a better world and live better lives than the ones that this “free society” tells us are our only option. In oura society we are told that happiness is found in acquiring wealth and using it to buy material commodities. We cede the hours of our lives often to jobs that we hate as the price of survival so that we can pay the bills, and never have enough time to do the things that really matter to us. Freegans believe that life can be an adventure, that we can be the masters of our own time, that we can find joy and fulfillment volunteering in our communities, spending time with our families, working with groups working to fight social and environmental injustices, and in appreciating nature rather than in shopping.

* Freeganism is NOT a form of asceticism or purism. Freegans recognize that the society we live in makes us all complicit in social and environmental atrocities– a simple act like flipping on the lights means contributing to global warming and habitat destruction through strip mining of coal. Our goal is present PRACTICAL alternatives that massive numbers of people can use to make their lives easier and better while limiting their economic support for oppressive corporate practices. *Freegans believe that our economic system and social structure as a whole needs to change–not just individual practices, and believe that by creating more humane and sustainable living strategies and building institutions to facilitate them, we can make corporate dominated global capitalism obsolete.

* In the United States, our tax dollars pay for war, environmental destruction, animal experimentation, deforestation, subsidies to factory farmers, a racist prison and court system that is incarcerating and executing grossly disproportionate numbers of blacks and Latinos, government repression of social change activists, attempts to overthrow democratic governments (most recently in Haiti and Venezuela), and many other atrocities. We can avoid financing these injustices by living low-income or no-income, an option made practical by freegan living strategies.