November 25, 2016

Buy Nothing Day: Nature vs Materialism




When was the last time you went a whole day without buying anything? It is harder than you think. But it is possible to go a for a day (or more) without shopping for things we don't really need.

In this day and age, it is very hard for the majority of us to not buy anything at all for a twenty four hour period. Supporters of ‘Buy Nothing Day’ in 65 nations across the globe want people to spend a moment thinking about that today.

A growing global community of simple living advocates think it is high time that we take a step back and look at ourselves, our behaviour, and contemplate the meaning of life in the consumer age. Take  a step back and contemplate what exactly is promoted on days like Black Friday... and the other 364 days of the year.

While there are things like rent, mortgage, food and utilities that most of us must purchase year round, there is still a lot of room to reduce the amount of extra shopping that we conduct. Today we can have some fun thinking about the consequences of all that commerce.

Ted Dave, who came up with the idea for Buy Nothing Day in 1992, states that the day “isn’t just about changing your habits for one day” but “about starting a lasting lifestyle commitment to consuming less and producing less waste.”

It is about choosing sides.

On which side will you stand? That of materialism and over consumption, or the side of Nature? It is time to decide. Today we think about the importance of changing to gentler, simpler, and more authentic lower consumption lifestyles, and how all will benefit.

However, resistance, even at this late stage of the game, persists. Some claim this day is meaningless (and Black Friday is meaningful?), as observers simply buy more at other times.

Either way, there’s no doubt that trying to go without buying anything for an entire day is quite a challenge, and will hopefully serve to make everyone think about what life is really about, and what we really need.





25 comments:

  1. Happy not buying anything day to all. It's funny talking yesterday, someone asked me why I buy ethical clothing, I said that it was for the workers and the environment, it was considered a bit different by the people I was talking with. They also asked about veganism and were shocked that I didn't eat turkey at Christmas. It's strange that compassion is such a rare commodity. Turkeys are very intelligent and beautiful birds and why would I want put them through industrial farming and such suffering. Our Christmas is plant based and alcohol free.
    Peace,
    Alex

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Alex,

      Over the years I have enjoyed not wanting what other people want, or thinking what other people think, or doing what other people do. I mean, there was a time that I did, but I feel much better now that I am listening more attentively to my own guidance rather than the guidance of those trying to get me to buy in to the madness.

      One of my favourites is no alcohol. Also no turkey, and no Christmas. Shocking!

      I have replaced all that stuff with the freedom to experience joy in living life simply, and on my own terms.

      Delete
  2. Black Friday came to our country too. There are shopping nights, big discounts ... and a lot of people buying into it. I can see supermarket from the hill where I am jogging and its full parking lots on the days like this and think to myself how much happier I am on the jog than I would be in the store.

    Mitja

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mitja,

      Best to observe Black Friday from a distance. You can escape the madness - walk, jog, or run from that, and be thankful for your healthy mind set.

      Delete
  3. Hello Greg,

    I will be joining you for Buy Nothing Day. I can't remember if I've mentioned before some of the fun things my family has done in pursuit of a less consumptive lifestyle. One year I 'compacted', and my rules were no buying anything other than food and toiletries (not things like lipstick). I also chose not to buy second hand goods either. I was only going to do it for a month as a friend was doing it, but once I got started I found it was much easier than I thought. It was difficult going without some practical items - eg the hose was very damaged and I had to water my large garden by hand. So I certainly appreciated it when I had a functional hose again!

    Another year we had 'no electricity day on Sundays.' This was like an imposed 'Sabbath' - no electricity means no vaccuuming, no charging the computer for work, washing clothes - yay! The kids loved doing their teeth by lamp light, and it was very relaxing. In fact I'm not sure why we didn't continue with that one.

    We've also had periods where one day a week the car cannot be used. This got trickier as the kids got older and had sport, part time jobs etc.. as there is not much of a bus service in our town.

    Greg, I'm always grateful that you write, as even after many years living more simply I sometimes fall down and need a reminder now and then of what's important.

    Madeleine.x



    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow this is inspirational Madeleine. I often think of living like this and start...then fall by the wayside. I certainly think there's a great benefit to having an electricity free day just to allow ourselves and our children some (likely much needed) rest and simplicity. Thanks for giving me the motivation to re look at this aspect of our lives :)

      Delete
    2. After I did calculations that I can retire before I will be 40 years old just by not buying stuff I don't need then I was even more encouraged and motivated to not buy anything. We can buy a lot of free time to spend on our hobbies by not spending mindlessly.

      Delete
    3. Madeleine,

      I love the no electricity days. While traveling, Linda and I visited many places that did not have reliable 24 hour power, and we loved it. There is something very special about living by natural light that we can miss when it is so easy to flip a switch.

      Restricting car use is something that we started years ago, too. We would designate one or two days a week that we would drive. As time went on we moved about less, and found that we actually preferred that. So much driving is just "something to do".

      Hope your BND was great, and that we can continue to help and remind each other of the good things in life.

      Delete
  4. I just read an article (link below), about gold mining and how 20 tons of rock and soil must be "treated" with mercury and cyanide chemicals to produce enough gold for ONE ring. My mind then went to all the store flyers showing pages and pages of jewelry sales. Wow. When will it ever be enough? Here is a link to the article. It's actually about eagles destroying mine owned drones. http://www.trueactivist.com/eagles-destroy-corporate-drones-cost-mining-company-more-than-100000/?utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium=TMU&utm_campaign=eagles+destroy+corporate+drones+cost+mining+company+more+than+100000

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Clamco, I had no idea about the chemicals. My partner and I have been discussing exchanging rings and found a place in Australia that claims to make ethically produced rings - we were concerned about the treatment of workers in the goldmines. This certainly adds another dimension to the search. I have even considered a ring made of wood, but not sure of the longevity.

      Madeleine.x

      Delete
    2. See if you can find someone who makes rings out of recycled metal (and gemstones if you want). That way you are not causing any more metal to be taken from the earth, but you are reusing something unwanted :)

      Delete
    3. Thanks Nicola, good idea!

      Madeleine

      Delete
    4. Clamco,

      I just read about a new gold mine opening up in Nova Scotia, and I thought, "NOOOO!". I don't think you can ever 'close' a gold mine as the tailings systems must be maintained in perpetuity so that their toxins don't leak into the environment. Often the ponds fail and catastrophe results with the mining company long gone by that time.

      Taxpayers foot the bill for the cleanup after all the bling has been ripped from the ground. It is a messy, violent and savage activity just for a bit of shiny stuff, but people want jobs, and communities want the money such mines bring.

      I saw the video earlier of the eagles attacking the mining drones - perfect!

      Delete
  5. We don't really have Black Friday here as we have Boxing Day sales....although I have this year seen a few stores advertising it. It doesn't seem to be kicking off very well though so long may that last! I used to be in retail many many years ago and something I can see that has changed is the frequency of SALES and the type of shopping people do. 20 mumble years ago (and certainly when I was a child),it seemed like people more often than not shopped when there was a 'need'or at least a perceived one ie a gift to buy etc. Sales were constricted to Boxing Day and possibly Mothers Day/Easter. That was about it. Now it seems every other day there's 40% off something at most shops and the mall rats are out in force shopping as a hobby. Maybe it's been that way for longer and I just didn't notice it or maybe NZ was a little slower to catch on to the hobby of consuming. When I was a child there were no late nights and nothing bar petrol stations or dairies open on Sundays. And I'm not ancient so it wasn't THAT long ago ;) Either way the whole landscape of it all looks and feels different to me now. It's not an improvement.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Karen,

      I have been reading articles after Black Friday saying that it seemed quieter this year. We are burning out on the mega-consumption, or maybe people just don't have enough money to shop.

      I actually saw one advertisement that encouraged people to go shopping for "entertainment". Desperate times call for desperate measures. Don't shop because you need something, shop because it is FUN. Yuck.

      It is amazing how quickly the world of commerce has pretty much taken over 100% of our space and our lives. You would think there is nothing better to do these days than spend money. Yuck, again.

      But it is changing, and will continue to change, until it begins to look more like 20 years ago... or 30 years, or 40... Shopping for entertainment is done, I think.

      Delete
  6. I just like saving money so it is easy for me. "Money saved is money earned". I usually spend my salary only for rent, food and toiletries so in practice I have many days in a year when I don't buy anything in shops. I like doing stuff that is for free (and doesn't produce waste) like creating paintings in photoshop, playing with voice synthesizers (Vocaloid/CeVIO), going for a walk or reading books from library. There is so much stuff we can consume for free from the internet that I have no time for shopping! All the free music/documentaries/movies/series/games/ebooks - not enough time in life to consume even the stuff that we like (for example I like watching anime and there are 10 thousands anime created - it is impossible to watch it all).

    Recently my roommate wanted to shame me by calling me Mr. Scrooge but I just like being that way hehe - there is even a meme word in my country for people like us to shame people into buying stuff to fit into the crowd. What a joke.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Coingeddon,

      Congratulation on your early retirement track. I was 40 when I quit my full time teaching position, and it was the best decision I have ever made. By cutting expenses it is possible to cut a lot of wasted time that can be put to better use than work/shop/work.

      The internet has been a boon in our house. Linda and I are big readers and are dedicated life long learners. Having so much knowledge and things to enjoy, like music, at our fingertips is a dream come true. Mind you, we pay about $80.00 dollars a month for internet, and that is likely to increase over the next few years.

      However, so people spend 80 bucks, or more, in the bar in one night. Or taking in one movie at the theatre. Or filling up the gas tank, or one shopping trip.

      Isn't it gross how the crowd tries to strong arm non-spenders into doing what they do. Words like cheapskate, Mr. (or Ms.) Scrooge, tight, stingy, miserly, and the list goes on and on. Why? Is it to make them feel better because people like us make them feel guilty about all the spending excess?

      It feels great to be able to stand up against this, and live sensibly in spite of the pressure to conform. It is sometimes not easy, and many can not bring themselves to do it. That is what this blog is for - encouragement to get off the needless spending of precious money that can be used so much better elsewhere.

      Delete
  7. I feel like I have fallen off the 'not buying' wagon recently- although there are still lots of days where I buy nothing!
    Tomorrow I'm going to spend some time going through possessions and discarding worn out things (I seem to have fallen into the trap of getting replacements but still holding on to the things they replaced).

    I feel bad that I need to 'declutter'- I feel that buying and decluttering can become a bit of a cycle, where you still spend money on unnecessary things (even if the house doesn't show it, due to all of the devluttering!)

    But that's where I happen to be at the moment, I suppose- the comments on here (abd the blog as a whole!) remind me and motivate me to cultivate the not buying anything mindset. Eventually I will stop being distracted by all of the new and shiny things!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. NicolaB,

      After Linda and I moved across Canada, we had fewer possessions than ever before. But there is still clutter here and there. It is an ongoing process of getting rid of things that no longer add value to our lives. Not bringing in new clutter is the secret.

      I am happy to see you here, still with us, and commenting. You obviously have a strong resolve, and will achieve your goals if you keep strong. We are here for you. The forces working against us are powerful, but sticking together and helping one another is the way out.

      Delete
    2. Thank you for your encouragement. In the end, I spent most of the day not doing anything much, as I wasn't feeling well. I still have the motivation, just not the energy at the moment (chest infection- extra sleep needed!)

      Delete
  8. If you stop purchasing crap that you don't need ,life could became less ordinary. If you became ascetic life could became very interesting, full and without regrets. Saffron Australia

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Craving is the root of suffering. I probably practice the middle way between asceticism and consumption. Little things are more interesting now and I'm much more aware of the seasons and enjoy them all. It is strange but life certainly becomes more interesting.
      Peace,
      Alex

      Delete
    2. Saffron,

      Isn't it amazing that as our possessions become fewer, our experience of life becomes fuller. We must have some things, but having it all was never a worthy pursuit.

      Too bad the stores don't stock enlightenment, or compassion, or love, or community, or peace. Then I would go shopping.

      Delete
  9. Yesterday a tv news reporter was at the mall to interview people for "Black Friday". Seems there weren't really that many people shopping. Perhaps a sign of a change to come? I do see less consumption becoming more mainstream. So glad to say it's now been nine years since I've been to a shopping mall. The only stores I've been in are for groceries or secondhand shops. I have purchased some things online when needed, but I'm determined to put an end to that as well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Miss Marla,

      I am seeing the same thing post-Black Friday here. Fewer shoppers. The elite forgot that if they decimate their workers wages, the workers can not buy the things they are making. Here we go again, repeating history over and over and over. Eventually though, the workers will see that not only do they not want to work for the masters, but they don't need the crap they make either. We may be breaking out of the cycle.

      When Linda was going into a wheel chair a few years ago, all the workers could say was, "Imagine, with a wheelchair you can go shopping." Really, that was all they had, and it didn't motivate us at all. We also have not been in a mall for years, and neither of us miss them.

      Delete

Discussion and debate is welcome on NBA. I believe that this can be done via courteous, concise comments relevant to the topic of the post, whether or not they agree with the views expressed.

Comments containing profanity, abusive language, or baiting will be deleted.

Comments with a user name attached above, or in a sign off in the text, are appreciated. It lets us meet on common ground, and get to know each other better.

I answer comments depending on what is happening in my life, and how much gardening, cooking, hiking, and music making needs to be done. I am also a full time caregiver to the beautiful Linda, partner in our joyous, simple life.

Click the "notify me" box to be updated on the thread by email.

Note: Comments are moderated to eliminate links to commercial interests. We are proudly a no selling, no buying website. Spammers take note. Please.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...