An Aboriginal guy on the bus was just telling me about the generator he bought to run his TV in the longgrass*. Ah, never a dull moment on Darwin public transport :)
*longgrass is quite literally the long-grassed, sometimes wooded, vacant land scattered around the Northern Territory suburbs where homeless people hang out. The Northern Territory has the highest rate of homelessness in Australia, with approximately 730 homeless per 10,000 people. An estimated 95% of them are of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander (Indigenous) descent, and around 70% struggle with alcohol problems. These statistics draw from the last Australian Census, conducted in September 2011.
Whoa, that’s a bit of an exaggeration. I don’t think anyone’s going to ‘starve’ because someone beat them to a dumpster - especially not when I never seen anyone diving in my 22 years of living here. In fact, a lot of the dumpsters I’ve seen are overflowing, despite stencilled warnings against overfilling them for health reasons. Given the ethics and reasoning behind dumpster diving, I don’t think it would be so encouraged if it was likely to result in ‘taking from people who need it more’, i.e. if supply didn’t exceed demand in most places. I think common sense certainly comes into play here. Although I haven’t personally checked out local dumpsters, the couchsurfers I met always seemed to come back with plenty of decent stuff (still in packaging, still fridge temperature, etc), so I’m under the impression that there isn’t any shortage of stuff to find here.
Hmmm, I’m inclined to disagree. Are you a local dumpster diver? I’d be interested to hear what it’s like in Darwin. The blog post I linked to (which was Australia-specific) explained that there was so much stuff to be found that divers usually leave a lot of it behind. It also described most divers as middle-class citizens who can afford to buy the stuff they find, but choose not to because they don’t want to support excessive consumerism. It pointed out that the homeless “prefer to go to soup kitchens … and are comparatively choosy”. Even when told where to go for food, they apparently don’t or won’t do it.