June 6, 2014

Formerly Free Fruits of The Earth

The fruits of the Earth belong to everyone. Equally.

Everything used to be free. There are the good things, which are still free for now, but you will pay dearly for most everything else.

It's pretty hard to do anything without having to spend money. You have to pay to work, pay to play, pay to eat, and pay to sleep. If they could figure out a way to measure and charge you for the air you breathe, you would be paying for that privilege as well.

One thing I really don't like to pay for is to sleep. You even have to pay a nightly camping fee in the back country of national parks, seemingly far way from the tentacles of civilization and the economy.

Things are set up so that you probably have to break the law to sleep for free regardless of where you are. Until recently, it was illegal to be homeless in Victoria, BC Canada because it was illegal to sleep in the open anywhere in the city.

Private property. No trespassing. Do not enter. No overnight parking. Go away and spend some money.

In 1754 Jean-Jacques Rousseau wrote on the "horrors and misfortunes" that humanity suffered as a result of the invention of private property. In Discourse on Inequality he wrote,

"The first man who, having fenced in a piece of land, said "This is mine," and found people naïve enough to believe him, that man was the true founder of civil society. From how many crimes, wars, and murders, from how many horrors and misfortunes might not any one have saved mankind, by pulling up the stakes, or filling up the ditch, and crying to his fellows: Beware of listening to this impostor; you are undone if you once forget that the fruits of the earth belong to us all, and the earth itself to nobody."

I am sure the Genevan philosopher would be horrified at the misfortunes suffered by humanity today as a result of "Mine, Mine, Mine-ism".  A small group of humans claim they "own" the fruits of the earth, and the rest of us have to pay to access "their" resources.

Next the greedy will say they "own" the fruits of the Sun and the Moon. And the atmosphere. They will want us to pay them dearly for these formerly free fruits.

But let us not forget that the impostors are wrong. The fruits of the earth belong to us all, and the Earth itself to nobody.


  1. This is so true. What about buying a home? Once it is paid for you shouldn't have to keep paying, right? I bought it so it is mine, free and clear, right? Wrong. Property taxes, insurance, hoa fees in my current situation, utilities, upkeep, etc.

    1. Melodee,

      They are making it very expensive to live even if you have your own property with few services. It is hard to escape.

      At least you can still grow a garden without being charged a "Garden Tax", and for now air is still free.

  2. Right on, this is a thought that I have had from time to time, "at one time all was free" perhaps a small barter or a little labour but it was free.

    Before I moved from Vancouver BC a couple years back the parks board or some other department was beginning a program of planting fruit trees on city boulevards and wanted to do 50 or so a year for a few years and once they started to produce the fruit was for anyone....hmmm good idea

    1. Divine Explorer,

      Planting fruit trees on public property is an excellent idea. Some towns have groups of dedicated gleaners that will pick the fruit from such trees and distribute it in the community so it does not go to waste.

      I like berry patches for the same reason - the fruit is free to anyone. For now.

  3. Anonymous6/07/2014

    I've about come to the conclusion that it is "always about land" selfish ownership of it and exploitation of it. If you have land and the attitude of it being MINE, then you can amass great power from it. Land ownership and its fruits of the land have become exponentially important to many folks. The human species will often fight each other to death over it.

    As for paying to sleep...I've felt that too. I know you know all of the following information...The government can't seem to manage money very well and has a serious problem with priorities. Hence, State Parks (in US) and Provincial Parks and National Parks don't have enough money to do the business of running the park lands. Lands that are suppose to be set aside and free of the economy and selfish exploitive land owners as you said. So, we have to pay to sleep in them. It's pretty mixed up.

    There is talk here in the states about "allowing" corporations to "sponsor" State and National Parks to take up the slack in funds no longer coming from the gov't. Which means corporate control of park lands....because the gov't has that problem with money management and priorities. I'm adamantly opposed to corporate ownership and management of parks, so I pay the fee to sleep in them even though I think they should be free. It is just a matter of time though...the corporations will eventually win.

    A piece of experience, in 1992 when I lived in a van with my 7 year old daughter in-tow for a summer, I found a lot of free camping from Wyoming north through Montana, Alberta, Yukon and Alaska. (I began finding free camping around Nebraska and northward.) Public lands mostly, some National Forests, some small city parks. Little to no amenities. I was resourceful, self-contained mostly and a wizard improviser so I didn't need much as far as civilization stuff. Sporadic shower, water jug refills and ice for my very small ice box.

    I've been thinking back on it to remember how I found those places. I asked folks if they knew of low key, low cost and safe places to camp/sleep. I did get a lot of organized super civil campground suggestions. But I also got those small campgrounds that no one much knew about and were free. Ask around at National and Provincial Parks and other campers. The locals sometimes know of places that are free. They also told me if they were sketchy. Some small towns have a small area set aside for campers passing through. I found some of those and they were free. Some even had bathrooms and a water well which was nice for washing up.

    It is much cheaper to travel rural vs interstates and cities I found.

    Again, I know you know what I just wrote and you know about Canada much more than I did when I rolled my way across 3 provinces to Alaska...and things have changed a lot since 1992.

    Best to you and Linda, I'm cheering for you! Terri

    1. Terri,

      How interesting to hear that you were once a "Van Dweller". What fun, and with a child as well. Brave.

      Thank you so much for your most excellent suggestions which will come in handy as we ease our way east. People are always the go-to resource when looking for local information that a Google search may not provide.

      I love stopping at municipal parks in small towns. Great places to meet good people in what are usually beautiful surroundings.

      British Columbia used to have an entire network of FREE campgrounds in areas that had been logged. It was seen as a benefit for the people, and logging companies were required to provide them as part of their contracts.

      A while ago mean-spirited provincial politicians cancelled the funding for this program. Most free campsites were closed, and the rest were basically given to individuals to run for private profit. We used to spend months travelling and staying in the network of free sites.

      Not any more. There are still roadside rest areas where overnight parking is allowed, but many have gates that are closed at dusk.

      The side of the road is still free, if a bit noisy.

      Thanks for your support, Terri. It gives us strength.


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