Date
15 December 2017
Greta Taubert says she now knows what it's like if the consumer system collapses. Photo: AFP
Greta Taubert says she now knows what it's like if the consumer system collapses. Photo: AFP

How to survive without money

Could you live without money? Yes, but not without tights and toiletries.

For a whole year, a woman from the German town of Leipzig roughed, tilled, hitch-hiked and squatted her way around Europe without spending a cent.

Greta Taubert, a freelance journalist and self-confessed consumer minimalist, wanted to see what life might be like if the economic system collapsed.

Now that it’s all over, what’s her verdict?

It’s all in her book, Apocalypse Now, but Taubert did give some snippets of it to French news agency AFP.

“I made my own shampoo but I started to look like a Neanderthal,” she said. “My friends told me I was going too far.”

Her physical transformation aside, going too far meant tilling the soil to grow cabbage and potatoes in a community garden, swapping clothes and trousers at second-hand clothes exchanges and hitch-hiking 1,700 kilometers to Barcelona.

“Our economic system is based on the perspective of infinite growth, but our ecological world is limited,” she said. “The mantra ‘more, more, more’ will not take us very far.”

The whole idea came to her one day after a hearty lunch at her grandmother’s house.

“When I said ‘I would like some milk’, my granny put on the table powdered flavours to add chocolate, banana, vanilla or strawberry taste,” she said.

The tantalizing choices are typical in a country that in 2012 dumped nearly seven million tons of food in the garbage, or about 81.6 kilos per person.

What about the things she couldn’t do without?

They’re private, obviously, but they might be in the book.

– Contact us at [email protected]

RA

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