pondělí 27. července 2009

Freeganism in Practice:

Strategies for Cooperative, Sustainable Living Beyond Capitalism.

by Adam Weissman

1- Visit http://freegan.info and learn about freegan philosophies, facts,
and practices.

2- Join the Freeganworld email list at http://freeganworld.freegan.info

3- Start a local community of people committed to resisting capitalism by
creating a sustainable, local, cooperative economic model as an alternative.

4- Read books on the injustice of capitalism, the unsustainability of
industrialism, and on practical strategies for sustainable living. Start a
book discussion group! Recommended books can be found at
http://reading.freegan.info Familiarize yourself with concepts like mutual
aid, the notion of a society based on voluntary cooperation, and gift
economics, an economic model where everything is shared freely. Learn about
why the threat of human extinction within the century as a result of climate
change makes ending our current economic model an absolute necessity. Visit
http://climate.freegan.info for details.

5- Grow your own food-- even if you live in the city! Urban dwellers are
growing food in abandoned lots, on rooftops, and terraces. To learn more,
visit http://gardens.freegan.info

6- Eat wild! Edible and medicinal wild plants grow all around us. Learn
about your local plants and forage them from parks and yards. For more
information, visit http://foraging.freegan.info. Share what you learn with

7- Start a Really, Really Free Market at a local community center, school,
or place of worship. Really, Really Free Markets are fairs celebrating gift
economics and mutual aid. People bring food, clothing, books, and all
manner of goods cluttering their homes to give away to others free of
charge. People also freely share services, education, and entertainment--
musical performance, massage, lessons on practical skills like crocheting
and bicycle repair, free films and lectures on political affairs and current
events. Learn more at http://markets.freegan.info

8- Freely share and receive useful goods with others in your community via

9- Live rent-free! With your community, occupy abandoned buildings and
restore them into "squats" - rent free housing and community centers with
arts and educational programs for low-income communities. More info at

10- Start a bike program to wean your community from petroleum addiction.
Set up a "bike library" -- a free bike sharing program. Establish a free
bike repair workshop, where people can build and keep working bikes out of
donated and discarded bike parts or fix their own bikes with the help of
experienced volunteer instructors. Learn more at http://bikes.freegan.info.

11- Set up free repair workshops for furniture, clothing, computers, and
other goods. Fixing the goods we already have divers resources from the
landfills and incinerators while helping people avoid buying more stuff.

12- Tap the waste stream! Recover wasted goods from the garbage of
supermarkets and other retail stores, college dorms, houses and apartment
buildings, factories and distribution centers, and offices and schools.
You'll easily find food, books, clothing, office supplies, furniture,
computers, construction materials, musical instruments, appliances and other
items, often in brand new condition. Food retailers discard enormous
quantities of fresh, clean usable food in great variety-- 50% of all food is
wasted worldwide! "Urban foraging" (also called "dumpster diving" can easily
reduce your food costs to zero! Visit college dorms around the end of the
semester-- homebound college students toss a treasure trove of usable goods
to avoid the cost and difficulty of moving them home. If you find things
you don't need, instead of leaving them in the trash or selling them, share
them for free with others on Freecycle or at a Really, Really Free Market.
Learn more at http://picktrash.freegan.info.

13- Share food with your community. Food Not Bombs groups in over 200
cities recover food that would otherwise go to waste and use it to prepare
warm meals on the street to promote and ethic of sharing and feed hungry
people, challenging a society that can always pay for war, but never seems
able to ensure that all are fed. Learn more at http://foodnotbombs.net.

14- Organize skillshares to disseminate practical Do It Yourself knowledge
on living sustainably and money-free-- teach people how to make clothing
soap, or ecologically friendly household cleaners; how to create set up
passive solar food dehydrators, ovens and heating system, or terrace
planters using materials found in dumpsters, rainwater collection or how to
convert cars to run on straight vegetable oil. Search the internet and DIY
manuals for info on how to make soap and all manner of practical goods for
free using waste mateirals

15- Embrace carlessness. Use bikes, feet, foot scooters, skates, or
skateboards. Get a free bike from a bike collective in your area. Try
hitchhiking (http://hitchwiki.org) or finding a ride from someone already
going your way on a rideshare board (http://rideshare.freegan.info) Hop
freight trains to travel long distances. If none of those are options, use
public transportation. Acquire a heavy-duty bike trailer or cargo tricycle
for moving groceries or other supplies. For multi-passenger trips, consider
a four wheel, four-seat quadracycle (http://quad.freegan.info).

16- If you must use a car, acquire a used diesel vehicle and convert its
engine to run on straight vegetable oil (http://svo.freegan.info ) .
Consider a shared community car or truck for heavy moving jobs or
passenger-dense road trips rather than owning a private car. If you are
making a road trip and have extra car space, pick up hitchhikers or post
details on your trip to rideshare boards. (http://rideshare.freegan.info)
Arrange carpools for regular frequent trips.

17- Once you've read a book, pass it on! Visit http://www.bookcrossing.com/
for suggestions. Or, create a lending library in your apartment building or
community center.

18- Develop free, independent, non-corporate media. Start a free newspaper
or news website or get involved with your local Independent Media Center
(http://indymedia.org). Launch a pirate radio station. (pirate radio link)
Get your information about the world from independent, free media, rather
than listening to the capitalist propaganda of the corporate media.

19- Keep a free box inside you home by your door of items you don't want or
need, but that are too useful to end up in the trash. Encourage friends,
relatives, and neighbors, to help themselves.

20- Set up a permanent "free store" at a local place of worship, community
center, or in a common space of your apartment building. Encourage
community members to donate items they don't need and freely take ones they
do. More info at http://freestore.freegan.info.

21 - As your monetary needs diminish, consider quitting your job, and
changing careers to work for a non-profit charitable or environmental,
social justice, or animal rights activist organization. Or cut back on your
work hours or quit your job altogether, devoting your time instead to
volunteering in your community. Freeing up countless hours from waged labor,
you'll also find more time for appreciating friends and family, communing
with nature, pursuing artistic interests and hobbies, and learning more
practical skills for freegan living. Learn more at http://work.freegan.info.

22- Avoid disposable goods. -The goods we use should be designed to last
and preserved for longevity. Use rags over paper towels, handkerchiefs over
paper tissues, and carry mugs rather than use disposable cups. In the
process you'll reduce your need to continually buy replacements and conserve
natural resources.

23- Appreciate and create free culture. Attend and share information about
free events parties, educational forums, free schools, nature hikes,
walking tours, workshops that teach practical skills, concerts, discussion
group and other activities where people can learn and have a great time
without spending a dime. Find events and activities on email lists, free
calendars, and websites like http://freenyc.net. Consider creating a print
and / or online free events calendar for your community. Organize free
movie screenings, lectures, and discussions on environmental and social
justice issues.

24- Welcome travelers and others who need a place to crash, and replace the
absurd, oxymoronic concept of the "hospitality industry" with genuine
hospitality. You can list the availability of your home as a crashpad for
travelers on couchsurfing sites. And when you need a place to stay on your
own travels, you can visit these same sites for a welcoming home happy to
invite you to crash. Learn more at http://couchsurfing.freegan.info.

25- Stop shopping! Resist manipulative advertisements that tell you that you
can find happiness and self-worth on retail store shelves. Research the
social and ecological consequences of every product you consider buying. For
a starting point, visit http://dontbuy.freegan.info. Before buying, ask
yourself‹do I really need this? Can I fix something I already have? Can I
acquire what I need by a means other than buying? If you must buy, purchase
second-hand items to avoid directly financing the production of new
commodities---and save money in the process! Craigslist
(http://craigslist.org) is a good place to look for 2nd hand items for fee
or for sale by individuals, not corporations. Local thrift stores are also
an option.

26- Celebrate Buy Nothing Day‹the international day of protest against
consumerism. Organize a creative protest or street theater event In your
community to tell people to stop shopping on the traditional busiest
shopping day of the year. Learn more at http://bnd.freegan.info

27- Establish a community healthcare collective. Develop a network of
healthcare practitioners who are willing to provide free or low-cost
healthcare, provide healthcare on a sliding scale, or to exchange healthcare
for goods or services. Hold free workshops on health and wellness.
Distribute publications on healing with wild herbs. Collect and redistribute
vitamin bottles discarded by vitamin shops. Hold free yoga classes. Set
up a free community health clinic for uninsured people. If you live in a
city with a healthcare collective, take advantage of the services they
provide! Learn more at http://healthcare.freegan.info.

28- Use passive solar (http://passivesolar.freegan.info) and passive cooling
(http://solarcook.freegan.info) instead of fossil fuel consumptive heat and
air conditioning. Make a solar cooker (http://solarcook.freegan.info) and a
solar food dehydrator (http://dehydrate.freegan.info) out of found objects.

29- Make candles and oil lamps using waste oil or grease. Learn how at

30- Establish or volunteer with a mutual aid childcare collective. It takes
a village to raise a child, but under capitalism child care has become yet
another salable commodity. Childcare collectives share the childcare
responsibility, making childcare accessible to those who could not otherwise
afford it and making childcare a community function. Learn more at

30 Start a free school. Free schools provide learning opportunities outside
of the money economy while rejecting the rigidity, coercion, competition,
and authoritarian hierarchal structure of conventional schools. Learn more
at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_school

31- Compost organic waste to create new soul for your garden. Learn how at

32- - For additional practical tips that go beyond the three Rs (reduce,
reuse , recycle), visit http://3rs.freegan.info

33 Bring it all together. Freegan practices are not intended to be
practiced in isolation, but rather are intended to be components of an
overall cooperative, decentralized, egalitarian social structure and
economic system based on ensuring that the needs of all people are met while
respecting the planet and the creatures we share it with. No one has time
to do everything, but everyone can do something. Maybe your focus will be
childcare or rooftop gardening or helping others create passive solar
heating systems. Maybe you'll rotate between a few tasks. Others will work
on the projects you don't have time for. The critical thing is for the all
these projects to network and coordinate the resources they offer. We need
all of these things. We need childcare and healthcare. We need food and
shelter. In isolation, living without participating in capitalism is
overwhelmingly difficult. However, as more and more projects come together
to offer alternatives to more and more needs normally served under
capitalism, living mostly or entirely within the freegan gift economy and
the capitalist economy will be a viable alternative. The freegan economy
will offers a better quality of life, more freedom, and a deeper sense of
community than people can find under capitalism. Organize meetings and
social events like freegan dinners to bring together representatives of
various mutual aid projects to build relationships and encourage
collaboration. Make sure the people of your community know the full range
of mutual aid resources and services available to them by publishing and
freely distributing community mutual aid directories in print and online.
Freegan.info is happy to host these directories, so email them to us at

34 -Recognize that freeganism is primarily a social project, and avoid
"lifestylism." Lifestylists believe that all we need to do to protect the
environment, advocate for social justice, and stop animal exploitation is to
change our personal consumption practices. This makes about as much sense
as believing that the holocaust could have been stopped by a boycott on
German products. The significance of freeganism is not primarily in the
reduced consumption impact of each individual, but rather in the
construction of a new ecologically sustainable and socially equitable
economic model. As a new economy rises to provide for people's basic needs
amidst the ongoing collapse of global capitalism, a robust freegan
counter-economy will help people realize that the expansion of the freegan
economic model and the total destruction of global capitalism represents the
best chance of ensuring that their basic needs will continue to be met.
Similarly, at a time when global warming caused by industrial civilization
threatens the survival of all life on earth, a functional freegan economy
operating simultaneously with industrial capitalism will help people
recognize the solution to global warming is not "market solutions" or
regulation, but rather the total destruction of capitalism and a shift
towards simple, local, sustainable subsistence-based gift economies.
Industrialism and capitalism will collapse inevitably as they exhaust the
resources they rely on, but if they collapse on their own, the irreparable
damage they do our planet's climate and ecosystems will guarantee the demise
of almost all life on the planet, including human life, by the early 22nd
century. As we build our new, humane, equitable, and ecologically
sustainable culture, we also need to work to bring down capitalism and
industrial society. This will involve direct action in the tradition of the
Luddites and other revolutionary groups‹the capitalists will not voluntarily
surrender the system that has created their riches.. It will involve
conflict and risk. But given the price of inaction we have no other choice.
In the words of Frederick Douglass, " This struggle may be a moral one; or
it may be a physical one; or it may be both moral and physical; but it must
be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without demand. It never did and it
never will.""


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