I’m not a huge Oprah fan. I don’t watch everyday, and I don’t automatically buy into those products, philosophies, books, etc. which she endorses. However, I do believe that now-and-again she brings to light issues of importance to our culture, and on those days I gladly tune in (or more likely, hit the record button). This morning during my workout I watched my recorded version of last Thursday’s show, which (in case you’re one of the few who didn’t watch for yourself) was about freeganism, a philosophy/lifestyle that I had never heard of before and found very intriguing. Essentially, freeganism is the decision to abstain from participating in the commercial economy. Freegans buy as little as possible, choosing to get the things they need (including food) through alternative means (mainly dumpster-diving). The point of the movement is to make a statement against a society that says you have to constantly obtain more stuff, that supports wastefulness, and that endangers the environment (a system well-illustrated by a short video called The Story of Stuff, which you can watch here). Obviously there’s more to freeganism than I’ve managed to squeeze into this short paragraph, and if you’re interested, you can read about it here.

Oprah’s show mainly highlighted the dumpster-diving aspect of the freegan lifestyle, showing the appalling amount of food that is thrown out by grocers, restaurants, bakeries, and the like, and the people who reclaim that food for use. Yes, the idea is more than a little gross, but you should have seen the food these groups are able to find consistently: packaged baked goods, cereals, milk, frozen pizzas, canned goods, boxes of crackers, and very fresh-looking produce just to name a few. I have to admit, it made me want to check out the local dumpsters! But as Oprah said, the point of the show was not to get everyone to go dumpster-diving but to get everyone thinking about the amount of waste we produce, the number of commercial goods we can do without, and the fact that living this way is a choice we all make. This is something I’ve been giving a lot of consideration lately. I haven’t come to any profound conclusions yet, but I just wanted to share with you what’s been on my mind.