A family of three in Berlin lives without money, not because they are victims of the economy, but because they want to raise awareness of “excess-consumption society.”
They have been practically penniless for two years, and are supported by the love and goodwill of others.
“As consumers, we support the system, and we are all responsible for making a wasteful society,” Raphael Fellmer, 29, said. “This is to inspire other people to reflect about our other possibilities.”
Fellmer started his protest after he graduated from college in 2010. He went on a 15-month “journey of humanity” where he raised awareness of environmental destruction and food waste, as it is estimated about one-third of all food produced worldwide is thrown away.
His trip took him across more than 19,000 miles and in 500 vehicles. He went from Europe to Mexico without any money, and mainly got around by doing odd jobs for other people. He took a sailboat from the Canary Islands to Brazil by working on the boat.
On the trip, he met his wife Nieves Palmer. They quickly became pregnant, and now have an 18-month-old daughter Alma Lucia.
Despite having a young child, they still manage to live nearly money-free. They do depend on some child support from the government, which is given to all children in the country, but mainly survive by doing odd jobs and working in exchange for living space.
Fellmer is now a full-time activist and wants to bring attention to waste problems and overconsumption. He runs website The Revolution: In Harmony with Earth and several other organizations.
He does admit the lifestyle is not for everyone.
“Not everybody needs to do this to such an extreme. This is for protest. We want to inspire people to think about changes they can make. There are so many tools out there, so many ways to reduce one’s carbon footprint.”
He encourages people to participate in food-sharing and “collaborative consumption,” by using popular sites like couchsurfing.net to find people who need long-term housesitters.
“We have not only a surplus of food but of housing,” he said. “Everything we need is already there. We just need to make the connections.”