Friday, November 21, 2008

Buy Nothing Day 2008

What: Buy Nothing Day
Where: In the USA, and more than 60 countries worldwide
When: Friday, November 28 (in North America); November 29 in other nations

Year after year, on the Fridays after Thanksgiving, my father would enact a strange personal ritual. Returning home from work, he would throw his newspaper against a chair with great force, then hand me a bag of soft pretzels, and finally collapse on the living room couch with a glazed look in his deep brown eyes. He was totally exhausted from his work on this day, the busiest shopping day of the year, the day that signaled the abandonment of all human reason with this motto: "Let the Christmas Shopping Rush begin!"

There is a solution to this unthinking chaos, and it begins with the concept "Less is more." ... Simplicity is the watchword of the new greener life. And what could be simpler than -- for one day -- slowing down the never-ending frenzy for buying things?

Shockingly, over the past 20 years, the per capita consumption in the United States has risen 45 per cent. The goal of Buy Nothing Day (BND) is not to consume less: it is -- for a mere span of 24 hours -- to buy nothing at all.

Scott and Helen Nearing, founders of the back-to-the-land movement, would eat no solid food one day every week, believing that this action (or: non-action) improved their physical health. Victims of advertising overload, we can hardly conceive of one day per week without buying something. This project seeks to improve our financial -- and perhaps, psychological -- health, but giving up not one day per week, but but one day per year.

I will be spending my November 28 re-reading two books that encourage less buying and more being. Zenlightenment! is an anthology of quotations from the world's best books. To Have or To Be is a classic by Erich Fromm. If the books are not available at your local library, ask your reference librarian if you can request the books via an inter-library loan.

For more information about Buy Nothing Day (BND):

WikiPedia Article:
BND page at Adbusters

(thanks to Adbusters)