Urban hunters and gatherers - an exploration into different varieties and their relevance to industrial ecology
Paper in proceedings, 2015
The advent of the anthropocene was preceded by the advent of the holocene. One of the characteristics of the holocene is that it was a period with stable temperature and weather patterns, which in turn enabled the development of an agricultural society. Before that, human subsistence relied heavily on hunting and gathering. Given climate change and more unstable weather patterns, present-day practices of hunting and gathering for subsistence become relevant to explore. In this study, focus is turned onto hunting and gathering in urban environments. Empirical cases mainly in the Göteborg region (Sweden) are documented. Many varieties are found, ranging from dumpster-diving, street angling, to 'nicking' fruits from both public and private gardens. Some practices have even become operationalised as businesses (food rescue ventures). An attempt of quantifying and evaluating the environmental significance of these practices is made based on estimates of volumes and time used together with the accounts of the interviewees. The analysis and discussion delves into how urban planning enables or hinders such activities, and to what extent these are important for resilience and sustainability.