What is Buy Nothing Day and why should you care?

by Nati
What is Buy Nothing Day and why should you care - My Happy Footprint

It’s hard to believe the Holiday season is upon us already. This year went amazingly fast! And although I do enjoy the Christmas season with all the coziness, get togethers and homemade food, this is also the time of the year when the shopping mania starts. And it seems to get crazier year after year. In 2016, in The Netherlands, we did spent about 124 euros per person on Christmas gifts, in addition to 100 euros for the “Sinterklaas” tradition, that takes place on the 5th of December.

That’s 224 euros in stuff. Per person.

And that’s just our shopping in December. Which, in todays society, is not enough.

The ever growing hunger for consumption has led to the phenomenon Black Friday and his companion Cyber Monday. Two “holidays”where “the best deals” are congesting your inbox, where shoppers are camping outside stores hours before opening time and where you are able to shoot this type of footage of insane shopping frenzies in probably 80% of the shopping malls in Western countries.

What is wrong with Black Friday and Cyber Monday?

First, let me start by saying that I am not against a good deal. I mean, if you have the option to save a few euros, dollars, pesos or yen, do it.  However….

I am against “good” deals on CRAP YOU DON’T NEED. 

Why? Because for all this worthless stuff that will just end up gathering dust in a box stored in the barn or the attic, or that is tossed out without even being used, precious resources where taken from the Earth and harmful greenhouse gases were emitted into the air during production, putting even more pressure on our precious planet Earth. We are already taking so much from the Earth that our “Earth Overshoot Day” (the day that the humanity took as many resources from the planet as the Earth can renew in an entire year) fell on August 1st this year. That means that we are currently living “in debt” with the planet. Producing and buying even more is NOT going to help pushing that date back.

A battle against more-more-more: Buy Nothing Day

Forget Black Friday - Celebrate Buy Nothing Day instead - My Happy Footprint

As a protest against consumerism, Buy Nothing Day originated in Canada in 1992. It’s the brainchild of Vancouver based artist Ted Dave.

Buy Nothing Day is “a day for society to examine the issue of over-consumption.”

In the past 25 years, the day spread out across other nations and is currently “celebrated” in over 65 nations. Although the day has received critical feedback that it just delays the shopping, rather than changing the underlying habits, I still think it is a great initiative that should be supported. I hope there comes a time where “Buy Nothing Day” is no longer necessary and every day is shifted to “Buy Within the Boundaries of the Planet Day”, but until then, count me in!

When is it Buy Nothing Day in 2018?

It depends on the country you are from. Here in The Netherlands, Buy Nothing Day is on Saturday, November 24th, just like in Belgium. In countries such as the U.S. and the U.K., it’s Friday, November 23rd.

What else can I do on Buy Nothing Day – besides not shopping?

Over the years, several traditions other than not purchasing products, were born around Buy Nothing Day, including:

  • Credit Card Cutting Up: we don’t have a big “credit card culture” in Holland, but cutting up your creditcard (or the one of others) is one of the easiest (at least in terms of time – the psychological load might be a bit heavier) protest activities on Buy Nothing Day.
  • Zombie Walk: Participants of Buy Nothing Day have been spotted walking around as zombies through shopping malls. While these “zombies” don’t bother shoppers, they do give them a blank stare as they push their empty zombie shopping carts through the store or mall.
  • Whirly Mart: This action involves Buy Nothing Day-ers pushing their shopping carts around the malls or stores in long conga-like lines, obviously all the while they are not putting a single thing into their carts.
  • Buy Nothing Hike: This is my favorite. Just ignore all the stores and instead head out to nature to enjoy the a long walk on the beach, in the forest, a park, or next to the river.

Are you in? Share your action on Friday, November 23rd 2018 or Saturday, November 24th on social media with #BuyNothingDay and take a stand against consumerism!

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