Thoughts on Buy Nothing Day
In America this is the biggest shopping day in the entire year, known as Black Friday, which sounds dire, but evidently derives from the fact that storekeepers lose money all year and this is the first day in which they finally get into the black.(wikipedia) some stores call it Green Friday because of, well, the direness and political incorrectness of black. Next is Cyber Monday as the Geeks who slept through Friday finally get around to searching for bargains. At TWHQ (Treehugger World Headquarters)we were seriously conflicted about the idea of Buy Nothing Day- we spend our time promoting eco-retailers and designers who need customers, not boycotts.
The founders of Buy Nothing Day were interviewed on the Toronto radio today and they were impressive and very Treehugger. This is about waste, conspicuous and excessive consumption and being manipulated by advertising to spend more than we have on things we don't need- all ideas we support and promote at Treehugger. What do we do?
'Buy Nothing Day' is about rampant consumption of over packaged, blister wrapped rubbish. We should not be one dimensional about this.
Which is better for the planet?
A. for one day nobody buys anything (next day they hop in the car and head off to the mall as normal) or
B. Everybody buys a bicycle on that day.
So my take is we expand the message: Buy Nothing Day(ngerous to the planet)
- buy something from a thift store - unwrapped, preloved
- buy a subscription to CSA organic produce box
- buy membership to a car share network
- buy local
- buy organic, recycled, non toxic, reused, durable, functional
- buy carbon credits for the family's travel for the past or upcoming year
- buy solar panels
- buy a composting toilet
Erin says: Black Friday is also an important day for our eco-gift maker friends. The holidays is the time when they get to show their stuff and make the money they need to get through another year of competing in this crazy Walmarket. We have put a lot of energy into the gift guide and so have the awesome vendors who sent us stuff to help promote eco-friendly holidays to the press. I think they deserve our support this time of year, with gift guides and other promotion that we can offer.
Even some of our beloved green retailers understand; read UK eco-shopping site By Nature's Green Christmas Guide.
We end up where we started- conflicted. There are alternatives to Buying Nothing that are equally positive and almost as cheap. On the other hand it is great street theatre that would make Abbie Hoffman proud. Tough call.