But Do Freegans Taste Better?


The New York Times delves into the weird world of freegans, anti-consumerists who live off of others' trash "in an effort to minimize their support of corporations and their impact on the planet." There's something obviously weird about an anti-market lifestyle that depends on rampant consumerism and accelerated obsolescence for its existence. (The article attributes the movement's success in New York City to the "quantity and quality" of city trash.) Still. I'm a freegan fan–eccentrics, even somewhat parasitical ones, are luxuries wealthy and productive societies can afford. And this is interesting:

Environmentalism, Mr. Torres said, "is becoming this issue of, consume the right set of green goods and you're green," regardless of how much in the way of natural resources those goods require to manufacture and distribute.

"If you ask the average person what can you do to reduce global warming, they'd say buy a Prius," he added.

I touched on in this in an article on Fair Trade coffee a while back. Almost any ideology–anticonsumerist or otherwise–can be signaled through brand selection. The lure of the boycott is fading; concerned (though not always well informed) First Worlders will instead reach for the right kind of coffee or produce. Freeganism seems to be as much a rejection of socially conscious consumerism and corporate social responsibility as it is a response to actual materialism.