Students Dumpster Dive To Save Mother Earth

by Samantha Watkins - Pt Loma Nazarene University on March 10, 2014

A group of students from colleges across San Diego recently converged with one goal in mind – to dig through garbage.

While dumpster diving is more often associated with drug addicts looking for something to pawn, this group of college students had a loftier goal in mind: saving Mother Earth.

For San Diego, a flip flop-loving, Prius-driving city with 70-degree year-round weather, is a Mecca for environmentally friendly nonprofits and clean-living gurus; and there’s no better place to target that message than at bright-eyed, bushy-tailed college students who can serve as volunteer manpower and who eagerly embrace the message.

Take the 1:1 Movement - not relating to the book of Genesis but instead to Mother Nature. The 1:1 Movement, pronounced one to one, is the brainchild of a San Diego-based nonprofit that champions sustainability.

“1:1 believes in motivating our community to feel that they’re part of the solution instead of chastising them for being part of the problem,” its website states. Its campaigns include asking restaurants to only dole out drinking straws upon request, for example.

1:1 thrives on grassroots efforts, and to that end it recently hosted a college-based confab, inviting students from San Diego colleges’ eco-clubs to unite for the cause.

“You have the passion. You’re doing the work. You’ve seen the results. Now it’s time to meet your counterparts at the environmental clubs from schools across the county,” the invite states. “We’re inviting the groups from UCSD, SDSU, USD, and PLNU out to The 1:1 Movement offices to mix ‘n stuff. Also, we’ll have guest speaker Rob Greenfield talk about his bike ride across the country in which he used no running water, ate all organic, produced no waste, and used no electricity. Cool.”

Cool, cool, cool.

Indeed, that event inspired the dumpster diving outing, during which students found expired food behind – gasp! – a Trader Joe’s of all places.

Greenfield, a San Diegan who touts “the simple life,” often tells college student how to emulate his vibe.

“Some of the girls were quite inspired to put the knowledge of food waste to action, and six of us hopped into a car and did some dumpster diving at the local Trader Joe’s,” he said in an interview with The College Fix. “We scored more than our fair share of bread and will distribute it to some of the people on the streets.”

Greenfield continues to push dumpster diving, saying he has lived a week off of food from supermarket dumpsters.

He has documented this as the 21 Gourmet Dumpster Meals project, to show people that nearly $165 billion goes into waste annually: “Proving we can eat more deliciously and nutritiously than the average American solely off food we find tossed in dumpsters, we will also fill an entire fridge and a few cupboards, provide food to people on the streets and make a huge meal for friends and the public!”

Greenfield said he also promotes biking or walking instead of driving whenever possible, saying he once even rode a bike made out of bamboo from Denver to Kansas City.

He also touts buying local food, or from farmer’s markets, to give back to the community, and said he believes people should just do good overall.

College Fix contributor Samantha Watkins is a student at Point Loma Nazarene University.

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