Sunday, May 19, 2013

Getting Dirty with Interdependence

I have a sheet on which are printed some core NVC principles. One of them reads, "Human beings meet needs through interdependent relationships." I love this because it challenges and contradicts one of our society's basic assumptions, which is "Everyone out for themselves" and the accompanying, "Must be self-sufficient." 

This is especially important to me not only because of the connection and community that result from practicing interdependence, but because of what happens when we don't practice it. For one thing, we are isolated and lonely. Just as bad, when we don't share resources, everyone has their own copy of each thing we think we need to survive. Their own car, their own power tools that get used once a year, and their own brand new clothes and notebooks at the start of the new school year. And once we're done with those things, instead of sharing them with others, they go to rot in a landfill.

Here in Chico, where the university students mass emigrate at the end of Spring semester, many of them are in such a rush to get home where mom can do their laundry, that they throw all their usable but unwanted possessions in the trash. Each year, myself and dozens of other broke, homeless, thrifty, resourceful, and/or ecologically aware people go through these items to find things they can put to good use, or give to those who need them. Ironically, this act--of dumpster diving--is technically illegal, although it would make more sense to me that throwing away usable items would be illegal! 

Regardless of illegality, I have never been approached by a cop in day or night when dumpster diving, and I encourage you to partake in this money-saving and adventurous activity. You never know what you're going to find. Students, don't wait til next year to buy notebooks and binders--there are plenty waiting around in your local apartment complex trash bin, with only the first few pages written on! Or you may find wallets with gift cards on them--with balances up to $25, in my experience! 

And if you are leaving town, please, bring your unwanted items to a thrift store, or the city plaza where homeless people will benefit from the clothes, or one of the Diversion Excursion sites such as W. Sac and N. Cedar. With interdependence, we can build community, save money, have fun, and lessen our ecological footprints, all be meeting our needs collectively instead of independently.

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