Thursday, November 19, 2009

Buy Nothing Day

"Think Green Thursday"

Bobbie from Almost There participates in "Think Green Thursday" from Are You Think(ing) Green? each week. I always enjoy all the thought-provoking posts on the environment so I thought I would try my hand at one this week. Since next Thursday is Thanksgiving, and next Friday is traditionally the busiest shopping day of the year, I thought the following topic would be appropriate.

"There are two roads to affluence.
One is to have many things.
The other is to have few wants."

Loving the natural world as I do, I've always tried to be active in the "environmental" movement. In addition to trying to do my own part by "reducing, reusing and recycling," I was part of the Clamshell Alliance against nuclear energy, protested the manufacture of triggers for nuclear bombs, volunteered for the Nature Conservancy, and have regularly lobbied my representatives for improved environmental legislation on a number of topics over the years. One of the most serious threats to our global environment is rampant consumerism and, to bring attention to that issue, I like to promote "Buy Nothing Day" each year.

What began 20 years ago as a call not to contribute to the wasteful, mindless spending machine that drives our consumer-oriented economy on what is traditionally the busiest shopping day of the year has now been ramped up for 2009 to a call for a "Wildcat Strike."

"This November 27th, we’re calling for a Wildcat General Strike. We’re asking tens of millions of people around the world to bring the capitalist consumption machine to a grinding – if only momentary – halt.

"We want you to not only stop buying for 24 hours, but to shut off your lights, televisions and other nonessential appliances. We want you to park your car, turn off your phones and log off of your computer for the day.

"From sunrise to sunset we’ll abstain en masse, not only from holiday shopping, but from all the temptations of our five-planet lifestyles."

Doing all of the above might be a bit radical for most but perhaps you can choose to do three of the above for the day. Most of all, though, don't buy a thing all day. Nothing. Nada. Zip. Not even online. :)

For more information visit the Buy Nothing Day campaign at Adbusters online.

Added 11/22/09 -- One more reason not to shop on Black Friday:

Dirty secrets of Black Friday 'doorbusters

And visit Are You Think(ing) Green? for some great ideas on living the Green Life. :)


bobbie said...

What a great post, and what a fantastic idea!

It's really pretty easy for me. I have little money, so little incentive to run out and buy things. It could be a difficult choice considering our present economy, but for one day, particularly this day, I still think it's great. I'm sure there will be thousands of people who will not even consider NOT shopping the day after Thanksgiving. I have never understood this - even back in the days when I did have money to spare. It's one day of the year I would never want to join the mob scene in the stores. and I can certainly join the idea of no TV, computer, etc. That's easy. What a restful day it could be.

I'll have to link to your post.

Cherie said...

I try to make every day "buy nothing day" as much as possible. Though admittedly, sometimes I fail. lol And like Bobbie, I can't stand the crowds the day after Thanksgiving, so I guess saying that I'm participating wouldn't be overly virtuous. Interesting idea.

Lisa (Mountain Photog) said...

Bobbie: Thanks! And thanks for the link! I can't imagine anyone wanting to shop the day after Thanksgiving, either! It's bad enough shopping any time during the holidays. It sounds like Adbusters is going for something similar to an "Earth Hour" type event, except it's for the entire day and it incorporates no spending and no driving. I love Earth Hour and try to extend it for an entire day myself. It really is relaxing.

Cherie: I think you'd have to practically be living on the moon to not buy anything, ever. ;)

And I can't exactly advocate never buying anything myself without sounding like a hypocrite. After all, with products to sell, I'm a capitalist as well, and I buy things too. The only individuals not buying much of anything are those who are living completely off the land--and I'm not one of those folks, so I'm part of the problem, too. I would just like to
see people think before they buy: "Do I really need the big screen TV that takes up an entire wall of my living room??" Too much of our economy is based on excess or useless stuff.

My family is also experiencing the effects of the recent economic downturn, and I feel badly for those who are truly suffering because of it, but I had said years ago that an economy based on "buy, buy, buy" and "spend, spend, spend" and "bigger and more" cannot last. We need to rethink our priorities as a nation. This event just helps to bring the idea to the nation's consciousness for a day. Who knows, maybe it will take. One can dream, can't they? LOL!

Villas Girl said...

Hi Lisa! This is a great idea, but I do enjoy shopping local the day after Thanksgiving. Mind you I am not one of these 'have to have' type of person and can come home with nothing.
I do try to park the car once a week. I recycle, use reusable bags, try not to use aerosol cans, etc. Basically I tried to be as environmentally sensitive as I can. But sometimes I don't know what is better for the environment. ie - Is it better to read the paper on-line or get the paper delivered?
Anyway, I think this is a great post and a wonderful idea. Lisa

Lisa (Mountain Photog) said...

Lisa: Thanks! I know what you mean, though, it is hard to know what's best sometimes. . .

For me, the point of the event is not so much anti-shopping as "smart shopping." During the holidays, for instance, I often shop at an alternative craft fair in my area that features goods made by struggling African women or items that benefit local environmental or charitable oranizations. That way I can perhaps find something for friends or family who don't want a gift from someplace like Heifer International--yet I can still feel good about what I'm buying.

Thinking Green Thursday said...

Welcome to Think(ing) Green!!! I have never heard of this but it sounds like a great idea. It won't e a problem for me not to go out and shop as that days is so horribly crowded. But I will try to follow some of the other suggestions too. Great post for Thinking Green and I invite you to visit my main blog where I host Nature Notes

Lisa (Mountain Photog) said...

Michelle: Hi! Nice to meet you! No, staying out of the stores is not a sacrifice for me, either, but that's true most days of the year. I hate to shop. Thanks for stopping by! I'll check out Nature Notes when I get a chance!
-- Lisa

Linda said...

Gee, it appears that have I have inadvertently been participating in this day now for quite some time as I never EVER go buy anything on Black Friday and would rather poke my eye out with a stick than go to the day after Thanksgiving sales.

I'm with you and that I hate to shop and can think of so many other things I'd rather do than go to a mall. I think most of us have way too much "stuff" as it is and it wouldn't hurt any of us to cut dwn some. Or A LOT in some cases!

Lisa (Mountain Photog) said...

Linda: LOL! Me, too. I'd rather do almost anything than go shopping on Black Friday; take a hike, read a book. . . though poking my eye out with a stick works, too. LOL!

Dianne said...

Now there are ads telling people to shop ON Thanksgiving Day!!! Makes my head and heart hurt. Stores are opening at noon and encouraging people to come shop off their dinner - it's disgusting.

Great post Lisa, you know I'm right there with you.

Lisa (Mountain Photog) said...

Thanks, Dianne! Seriously? Shopping on Thanksgiving?? Now that's ridiculous.

the walking man said...

Oh hell yes! I have been preaching the buy nothing but the necessities for over a year. I am so on board with this.

Lisa (Mountain Photog) said...

Walking Man: That's great! There are certainly a lot of things we can all do without. :)

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