The day after Thanksgiving: Some people choose to spend this “Black Friday” hunting for the best deals on the planet in order to consume the best gifts that money can buy. I choose to spend it in a bit of a different way, in Providence on the State House lawn observing “Buy Nothing Day”
Buy Nothing Day all began way back in 1992 by the Ad-Busters in Canada as a way to resist over-consumption that often times simply causes people to feel unfulfilled with a large dose of buyer's remorse after they “shop 'till they drop." But since then, Buy Nothing Day has grown into a global phenomenon bringing to light how obsessed our culture has become with consumerism.
While critics of the day charge that Buy Nothing Day simply causes participants to simply buy more the next day, Ad-Busters states that it "isn't just about changing your habits for one day" but "about starting a lasting lifestyle commitment to consuming less.”
Even Americans who would not consider themselves to be “wealthy” spend about 20 times more on products, with many products coming from overseas, than the average person living in South America, Asia or Africa. Everything we buy has an impact. The United States, with only 5 percent of the world's population, consumes about one-third of the world's natural resources and produces half of the world's non-organic waste, and generates nearly 30 percent of the world's carbon dioxide emissions. The facts are hard to digest, but it is OUR dollars that keep this wasteful economy running. What we choose to buy, how we choose to shop, has an impact.
However, there are some signs that our habits are changing. With the current recession, some people have no choice but to cut out some spending and, therefore, are beginning to question the over-consumed-way-of-life. They are realizing they might are not as happy as they thought they were, and as a result, are thinking about ways of living that might lead to more genuine satisfaction.
While I can imagine that it's not for everyone, I hope you'll join me in buying nothing this Nov. 29th
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