So, take three giant steps from my last post, and we end up here, the day before I leave for Korea.
I would write all about how prepared and packed I am, but since I am neither of those things, I'm going to write about Oprah instead. I know, of all things, Oprah. I don't even like Oprah. But sometimes I like the things she exposes America to, and so here we are. Two nights ago I was lying on the couch, flipping through the TiVo and saw something on Oprah called "Freeganism." I was interested. So I watched the first half hour of her show which was an expose (where's that accent when I need it?) on Freegans done by Lisa Ling (whom I do, in fact, like, despite her connections with the big O).
Freegans are those who have decided to opt out of the consumer driven economy and in an effort to reduce waste and bypass big corporations, they eat and live almost for free. How do they do this? By digging in the trash. Yes, the trash. They dumpster dive and all that jazz. Of course, you should be shocked. But then you see the things they find in the trash outside of grocery stores and bakeries. They find food that has been thrown out BEFORE it's sell by date and way before it's expiration date. They find fresh fruit, thrown out because of a tiny dent. They find UNOPENED, UNPUNCTURED packaging. They find FREE FOOD. It's estimated that grocery stores throw out 2-3% of their goods each year. These products that are thrown away add up to $30 BILLION! Not million people, but BILLION. Can you imagine how many people we could feed with $30 billion?! The amount of good food found by freegans is incredible. There was one woman on the show who spent about $10-$20 a week for herself and her husband on food that she couldn't find on her trash tours. There was a newlywed couple from Nashville who forage for food and furniture who are so conscious of the waste that our consumer-driven society produces. Americans make up 5% of the world's population, but we consume 30% of the world's resources. Big numbers if you ask me. Big numbers.
Now, I wish I had the time and the courage to go on a trash tour, but seeing as I have only one day left in this country, I don't see it happening. And I'm not expecting my friends to go digging in the trash for their food either. But it does bring to my attention how many things I buy, how much money I spend, how much harder I will work if I want to BUY something. What is it with all this consuming, consuming, consuming? Good grief! Anyway, I am moving to Korea with a simple plan. To consume less! I found one website where Freegans identified themselves on a map of the world and there is at least 1 freegan in Seoul! So perhaps Kenny and I will join the freegan movement there. I talked to him about it and he seemed really intrigued.
You can go here if you'd like to learn more about freegans in general. There are, of course, other websites and you can YouTube freegans and see lots of stuff on them. I think Anderson Cooper did a piece and maybe CBC. So, check it out and consume less! (I say consume less as I return from purchasing another suitcase because everything wouldn't fit in just one!! I think I'll have to downsize...