Thursday, November 23, 2006

Friday is Buy Nothing Day

No purchase necessary.

THE ULTIMATE REFUND: On November 24th and 25th — the busiest days in the American retail calendar and the unofficial start of the international Christmas-shopping season — thousands of activists and concerned citizens in 65 countries will take a 24-hour consumer detox as part of the 14th annual Buy Nothing Day, a global phenomenon that originated in Vancouver, Canada.

From joining zombie marches through malls to organizing credit card cut-ups and shopoholic clinics, Buy Nothing Day activists aim to challenge themselves, their families and their friends to switch off from shopping and tune back into life for one day. Featured in recent years by the likes of CNN, Wired, the BBC and the CBC, the global event is celebrated as a relaxed family holiday, as a non-commercial street party or even as a politically charged public protest. Anyone can take part provided they spend a day without spending.

Reasons for participating in Buy Nothing Day are as varied as the people who choose to participate. Some see it as an escape from the marketing mind games and frantic consumer binge that has come to characterize the holiday season, and our culture in general. Others use it to expose the environmental and ethical consequences of overconsumption.

Two recent, high-profile disaster warnings outline the sudden urgency of our dilemma. First, in October, a global warming report by economist Sir Nicholas Stern predicted that climate change will lead to the most massive and widest-ranging market failure the world has ever seen. Soon after, a major study published in the journal Science forecast the near-total collapse of global fisheries within 40 years.

Take a consumer detox and stay out of the stores.

Kalle Lasn, co-founder of the Adbusters Media Foundation, which was responsible for turning Buy Nothing Day into an international annual event, said, "Our headlong plunge into ecological collapse requires a profound shift in the way we see things. Driving hybrid cars and limiting industrial emissions is great, but they are band-aid solutions if we don't address the core problem: we have to consume less. This is the message of Buy Nothing Day."

As Lasn suggests, Buy Nothing Day isn't just about changing your habits for one day. It's about starting a lasting lifestyle commitment to consuming less and producing less waste. With six billion people on the planet, the onus is on the most affluent — the upper 20 percent that consumes 80 percent of the world's resources — to begin setting the example.

Buy Nothing Day facts:

The first BND was organized in Vancouver in September 1992, an idea by artist Ted Dave, as a day for society to examine the issue of over-consumption.
In 1997, it was moved to the Friday after American Thanksgiving, which is the busiest shopping pre-Christmas weekend in the US. Outside of North America, BND is usually celebrated on the following Saturday.
Despite controversies, Adbusters managed to advertise BND on CNN, but many other major TV networks declined to air their ads.
Soon, campaigns started appearing in US, UK, Israel, Germany, New Zealand, Japan, the Netherlands, and Norway. Participation now spans over 65 nations.

Shopping and consumption facts:

Per capita consumption in the US has risen 45 percent in the last 20 years.
Although people today are, on average, four-and-a-half times richer than our great-grandparents were at the turn of the century, Americans report feeling "significantly less well off" than in 1958.
A recent article in New Scientist featured research suggesting that the more consumer goods you have the more you think you need to make you happy. Happiness through consumption is always out of reach (New Scientist, 4th October 2003, Vol. 180, Issue 2415, p44. Available online after registering at www.newscientist.co.uk).

SOURCE: Straight Goods

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home





eXTReMe Tracker