Monday, November 24, 2008

Buy Nothing Day - An Odd Thought in the Time of Consumerism

While the government is telling us we need to "shop" to keep the economy afloat --- people are wondering... how can I shop when I need to save?

Americans have forgotten how to save (well, except the very very rich people) .... we have replaced saving with charging...

What can you do the Friday after Thanksgiving besides go to the mall?

1. if you absolutely have to BUY something, go to a resale store
2. take a walk
3. ride your bicycle
4. go see your mother
5. mow your lawn
6. take a nap
7. read a good book (that you checked out from the library or bought at the Goodwill Store)
8. have a long conversation (in person) with a friend
9. clean out your flower bed
10. bathe your dog

Wikipedia says that Buy Nothing Day is:

Buy Nothing Day is an informal day of protest against consumerism observed by social activists. Typically celebrated the Friday after Thanksgiving in North America and the next day internationally, in 2008 the dates will be November 28 and 29 respectively

Darling wants 'shopocalypse' now, pay later
Buy Nothing Day is more poignant this year than ever before

London- Guardian
November 24, 2008
by James Randerson

...Buy Nothing Day an annual protest against consumerism and globalisation. Its organisers describe it thus:

"Buy Nothing Day (Saturday November 29), is a simple idea, which challenges consumer culture by asking us to switch off from shopping for a day. It's a global stand off from consumerism - celebrated as a holiday by some and street party for others! Anyone can take part provided they spend a day without spending!"

The campaign aims to raise awareness of the inequity of 20% of people in the rich world consuming 80% of the world's resources - and the environmental destruction that stems from that consumption. And some have taken it much further than just one day out of the shops.

"The idea is to make people stop and think about what and how much they buy effects the environment and developing countries. Increasingly large companies use labour in developing countries to produce goods because its cheap and there aren't the systems to protect workers like there are in the west."

Doing their bit to avert the "shopocalypse" next Friday with a free dance party in Union Square, New York, will be Reverend Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping (the US celebrates BND a day early). The faux televangelist and gospel choir are the brainchild of The Immediate Life - a New York based arts organisation.

In the words of the rev's sermon "beatitudes of buylessness":
"Blessed are the consumers, for you shall be free from living by products. Blessed are you who stumble out of branded main streets, for you shall find lovers not downloaded and oceans not rising."

Amen to that.

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