This woman is dumpster diving her way through her PhD

I met Liselotte through Facebook when she commented on one of my posts, saying she is “dumpster diving her way through her PhD.” I wanted to learn more, so I invited her to do a guest blog for my website. She is an intelligent and inspirational woman doing good for the Earth and the people around her. I just had to share her wonderful story, so here it is!

When I started my PhD in environmental psychology in October 2014, I had been dumpster diving for a while, but I wanted to take it to the next level. The goal was to save as much money as possible so that I would be able to buy a nice block of land after these three years, build a simple eco-home and live mostly self-sustainably after that.

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FAQ for my Off the Grid Tiny House Life

Hi everyone,
If you are here it’s probably because you have a question about my life at my off the grid tiny house in San Diego.
Here you’ll find answers to the most frequently asked questions. If you have another question that was not answered please ask in the comments below and if it seems that many people have the same questions count on me to add it to the post!
Make sure you watch my latest video because this covers most of the basics. Also, subscribe to my Youtube page and my newsletter so you know when I put out more writing and videos!

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Off the Grid in a Tiny House with Rob Greenfield

It’s been 4 months since I moved into my tiny house and life is splendid! It has come along a bit slower than planned because of travels and other projects but today I felt it was finally time to share my life, off the grid, in the city! I am living a very low impact lifestyle- harvesting rainwater, eating local, harnessing the energy of the sun, composting, and riding my bamboo bike around town.

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Rob Greenfield Vows

My Financial Vows are both Big and Tiny

Update 07/18/16: See my updated vows.

My mission is to create happiness, health, and freedom on the earth and I don’t really find it fair to make a financial profit off this. Happiness, health, and freedom should be free. Who am I to charge money for these things? Health and happiness should be pure. All too often when you add money into the mixture it mucks up the purity. Even if it doesn’t muck things up it’s hard to tell if a person’s motives are pure when they are making a financial profit from their actions, no matter how much good they are doing. I want my work to be pure and I want to hold myself accountable. The earth has seen its fair share of well-intentioned people lose their balance when they got their hands on loads of money. To keep myself on track and to set an example for what can be done I have set guidelines for myself and am making them transparent to all.

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I vow to donate 90% of my media earnings to the earth

With some big announcements to come soon, I could easily begin coasting through life right now. This year I’m working on a documentary, publishing a book, and I’m also in talks with multiple networks about a TV show. Rather than coast though I am leading by example more than ever before. I’m not in this for the money or the fame. I’m in it to create a just world full of happiness, health, and equality for all. So I’ve vowed to donate 90% of my earnings to happiness, health, and freedom for all.

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From Drunk Dude to Dude Making a Difference

Not that long ago, my main priorities included binge drinking every weekend, looking good, and macking on pretty much every good looking girl I saw. I also wanted to be rich and to own lots of really impressive things. I was pretty tuned into that life and didn’t really think too much about how my actions affected the environment, people around the world, and the animals that we share the earth with. I was pretty selfish and if I did think about my actions I certainly didn’t do much about it. I did recycle, shut off the lights and water, and eat healthier than the average person I knew and I thought that was doing pretty good. But the list of negative environmental impacts was far greater than my positive impacts (which was nearly nonexistent). I owned two cars, shopped at Walmart for my food and my cheap crap, drank the cheapest beer I could find, took home my share of plastic bags, wasted plenty of water, ate too much meat, needed the newest gadgets always, and the list could go on and on. Not that any of these things are inherently bad but they definitely were not deeply serving myself or the earth.

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Arrested for Dumpster Diving for Food? I’ve Got You Covered.

We throw away nearly half of all the food we produce in the United States while 1 in 7 Americans are often unsure of where their next meal will come from. To me that is absurd, a country with such an abundance of food with such an abundance of hunger.

I’m not down with this.

I’m not down with throwing away all this perfectly good food.

I’m not down with hungry children and elders.

I’m not down with the environmental havoc created by dumping billions of pounds of food.

I’m not down with all the animals that are raised and killed just to end up in a dumpster.

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The Food Waste Fiasco

The Food Waste Fiasco: You Have to See it to Believe it

You may have already heard a few appalling facts about food waste but just in case you haven’t, here are a few tidbits of information to catch you up on the issue.

-We throw away 165 billion dollars worth of food per year in the United States. That’s more than the budgets for the United States national parks, public libraries, federal prisons, veteran’s health care, the FBI, and the FDA combined.

-About 50 million of our 317 million Americans are food insecure yet we produce enough food to feed over 500 million Americans.

-To create just the amount of food that ends up in the landfills we waste enough water to meet the domestic water needs of every American citizen.

Even with these mind-blowing statistics you probably still need to see it to believe it. That is where I come in.

This weekend I arrived in New York City from my second bike ride across the United States living on food from grocery store dumpsters. On my first ride dumpster diving across the USA, about 70% of my diet came from dumpsters, totaling up to about 280 pounds of food over 4,700 miles of cycling.

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How to Travel the USA For Free (without mooching)

As I write this I am traveling the USA without a penny in my pocket. I left my home in San Diego on June 2nd with $2,000 cash and on August 12th I took a leap of faith in humanity and gave the last $421 I had with me to a non-profit. I made the goal that day of finishing my ride to New York City moneyless just to prove to myself and others that it is possible. Today I arrived in New York City on my bicycle, still without a penny in my pocket. People have tried to give me money but I have easily refused it.

This experience is about much more than just not spending money. It’s about showing that you and I can be contributing members to society whether we have money or not. It’s about showing that there are much more rewarding ways to live than just throwing money at every situation. It’s about living a life that is truly beneficial to the earth, my community, and myself. It’s about being more involved in our communities and treating each other with respect. And it’s also about teaching you how to live with less money so that you can follow your dreams and live independently of corrupted systems that don’t serve your best interests.

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Rob Greenfield going without a home

My landlord is kicking me out and I’m excited to go home free!

I just received a notice to vacate from my landlord. They have given me 60 days. We’ve had a great relationship for the last 3.5 years and I’ve always paid rent on time. I was a pretty easy tenant for them and pretty ideal in my mind. The reason that they’re sending me on my way is that I rent the apartment from them and sublet out the bedrooms for short-term stays. I provide furnished rooms in a furnished home for people to stay at a great price and that allows me to live rent-free in my little 36 square foot closet room. I have done that for three years, knowing that it was against the term of my lease, but also assuming my landlords probably knew since a simple Craigslist or Airbnb search by them would have found my ads. Plus all the different people staying at my house all the time was a pretty dead give away.

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