November 28, 2008, is Buy Nothing Day, an annual observance promoted by Adbusters Media Foundation, publisher of Adbusters Magazine:
"Based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, Adbusters is a not-for-profit, reader-supported, 120,000-circulation magazine concerned about the erosion of our physical and cultural environments by commercial forces. . . We want a world in which the economy and ecology resonate in balance. We try to coax people from spectator to participant in this quest. We want folks to get mad about corporate disinformation, injustices in the global economy, and any industry that pollutes our physical or mental commons."
Check out the history of Buy Nothing Day here.
So, how do you participate in Buy Nothing Day? Buy nothing on November 28th, "Black Friday," the day after Thanksgiving and traditionally one of the biggest shopping days of the year.
Buying nothing for one day is a stuff consumption fast; it's not meant to prevent us from shopping ever again, but simply to make us aware of how much shopping we do, often without even thinking about it. And this is definitely the time to think about it.
We're in the midst of a financial meltdown and the entire structure of our society needs to be reconsidered. We can't continue to buy mindlessly (the personal financial losses of many people make that idea impossible anyway) and we can't continue to deplete Earth's natural resources mindlessly either.
We need to convert our consumption-oriented society into one that is much more nurturing and service-oriented. It will take some very wise leaders to figure out the specifics of how this will work, but it will also require a general shift in thinking so that people no longer value excessive possessions at all costs. We're seeing right now what those costs are and they're too high.
So let's hold off on shopping for just one day. Pay attention to how it feels. Watch the news and see if the crowds descend on the malls like crazed locusts or see if things are not quite as frantic as usual because of the failing economy.
Maybe spend the day thinking of ways that you can change your own buying habits and help nudge the world in a new direction that will benefit everyone on our small planet.
All you have to do to get started is buy nothing.
© 2008 Cynthia Friedlob