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September 25, 2011 | by  | in Features |
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Freeganism

If there is any one way you can definitively impact the world, it is through freeganism.

Everyone, every single one of us has something which we do not value at all, which another one of us would be eternally grateful for. We can all make a positive difference directly to everyone in our lives in a meaningful way. Be a freegan. It’s easy.

There are layers and layers, and all you need to do is float on top. Ignore anything you’ve previously heard, ignore the label if you are uncomfortable with it. You don’t have to rifle through trash, or re-appropriate others’ possessions. Simply give things you do not need or want to people who will use them. Offer leftover dinner to your flatmate. Offer those shoes that don’t fit to your friend of the same shoe size. Two cheese graters just takes up space, but a flat without a cheese grater is really put out on occasion, so pass it on. You have this amazing potential to make so many lives seem better, easier, more comfortable, at an absolute minimum effort to you. Listen out for comments like, “We don’t have a —-” and assess how quickly and costlessly you can help. If you own something which doesn’t fit you or your lifestyle, quickly assess those around you to see if someone else would cherish it. Anything you own which you don’t actually use is better used by someone else.

If you won’t just give, loan things to people who you know always return them, or only loan things you don’t mind not getting back. If you have it, help others use it, or spend the time to teach them. If you have a friend who you don’t trust with your stuff, come over with the stuff, help them use it, and leave with it. In many cases, they’ll probably be more grateful for the help—and everyone understands nervousness about expensive belongings. Just offer the help in the format you’re comfortable, and it will be accepted or declined—no harm, no foul.

Freeganism also makes you a happier person. Did you know the people who live above me bake for me because I let them use my washing machine? I have never asked for anything in return, but they think of me often enough to turn up with hot delicious baking. At no cost to me, when I’m not using it, my washing machine is used by an entire flat of people. There is no conceivable way that I will stay at this house long enough for this $100 machine to require replacing, so what’s the harm? They’d probably just try to sneakily use it anyway, it’s stored in a communal area, and instead of spending many an hour fretting over washing machine possessiveness, I get cookies.

I think it is important to see each other as friends with a life, thoughts, feelings, and a future. It is important to care about everyone else’s future, because it’s our future too. Giving freely encourages love and empathy on both sides. It also gives us faith in people. Giving freely is a transaction where there is no fear in what is expected of us, and strength in ourselves to only give what we can. It is so rare to receive something you need, simply because someone has observed you need it. It shouldn’t be. Freeganism pulls us further away from a tit-for-tat system where we carefully measure out our love, money, and possessions to ensure we get ‘enough’ back from life. Society does not owe us anything. We are a part of society, and we owe it to ourselves to make society what we want it to be.

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  1. Sarah says:

    Perfectly written in the most perfect of ways by a perfect person with a perfect heart :D

  2. Kris says:

    Check out freecycle.org and find the very active Wellington group

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