In “Ecofeminism and Wilderness,” Linda Vance believes that Western society defines wilderness by “… the absence of humans, we are saying, in effect, that nature is at its best when utterly separated from the human world. The idea of wilderness is thus an extreme manifestation of the general Western conceptual rift between culture and nature,” (62). Reality television shows, focusing on survival or living off the land, often reproduce this dualistic way of thinking.
At the same time they reproduce another of Vance’s concerns, “I would argue that wilderness recreation “re-creates” more than the self: it also recreates the history of the conquest of nature, the subjugation of indigenous peoples, the glorification of individualism, the triumph of human will over material reality, and the Protestant ideal of one-on-one contact with G-d. And as for the elements of physical challenge and risk, I think it goes without saying that they appeal most to those for whom day-to-day mobility is a given, and for whom danger isn’t always close at hand,” (71). However, by presenting this dichotomy, many of the shows also subvert the ideal of untouched wilderness, challenge the notions of human abilities and highlight our lack of embeddedness and embodiment when it comes to survival situations. Continue reading ““Respect: Dualism Subversion and So Much More in Survival Reality Television,” by Ivy Helman.”
“I had known that dumpster diving is subversive….What I hadn’t considered previously is its arguable feminist and biblical precedents.”
The following is a continuation of a two-part blog. Read part I for what prompted me to go dumpster diving, what freeganism is, and what three things surprised me the most about dumpstering beyond the sad and shocking reality of tremendous waste.
My Dumpster Dive Haul
After sorting through several trash bags of edible food in the approximately 10 minutes that we spent at one site in my first ever urban scavenging trip, this is what I ultimately brought home.
(Reminder: As explained in part I, I have intentionally photoshopped out the store’s name and the use-by/best by dates).
Continue reading “What I Learned (and Found) Dumpster Diving, Part II, by Grace Yia-Hei Kao”
“I get that consumers generally prefer to buy produce that looks a certain way, but can the routine act of trashing whole bags of clementines, apples, or tomatoes because of a few imperfections be justified in a world that is full of hungry and malnourished people?”
Renowned climate change activist and author Bill McKibben spoke at our graduation earlier this year. Among the charges he gave to all of us in attendance (i.e., not just the graduates) was for us older folks to be willing to bear more of the possible “costs” of political activism. His reasoning was that being a 20-something with an arrest record was not a particularly good thing for young job-seekers today.
I was inspired. I thought to myself, “I have tenure, I work with colleagues who champion prophetic civil disobedience, and my class privilege would allow me to post bail if arrested.”
When chatting with a graduate that afternoon, I told him that I’d like to make good on something we once discussed in class during a session on the ethics of consumption—I’d like to go dumpster diving with him.
Mind you, I don’t fit the stereotypical urban scavenger profile (although middle class dumpster diving is on the rise). I grew up in a gated community, once brought my portable curling iron on a junior high church group camping trip, and today am more bourgeois than Bohemian. So what interest did I have in electively digging through garbage?
Continue reading “What I Learned (and Found) Dumpster Diving, Part I, by Grace Yia-Hei Kao”