November 26, 2013

GrowthBusters: Hooked On Growth

Stop Shopping, Start Living, Buy Nothing

It is easy to despair the state of things in the world right now. It seems hopeless, no one is doing anything, no one is listening. Might as well give up and go shopping. But wait!

Chances are you will never hear about the current simple living movement which is growing, and is here to stay. But just because the mainstream media won't be covering this revolution, doesn't mean it isn't happening. 

We hear from people daily via comments and emails who have chosen to stop shopping, start living, and buy nothing. 

Some of the people who are doing that are Dave Gardner and the fine folks over at GrowthBusters. I was invited to collaborate with them in spreading the message about Black Friday and overconsumption, which I am more than happy to do.

Dave and crew will be sharing their documentary "GrowthBusters: Hooked On Growth" for free as an alternative activity to Black Friday for you and your family and friends. Rather than camping out overnight on a sidewalk, or battling for this year's fashionable crap, stay home and check out their film.

The following is from their website:
Shop Less; Live More 
A global movement to discourage shopping on Black Friday has long been building steam. Black Friday was dubbed “Buy Nothing Day” in 1992 by Adbusters Magazine, to draw attention to the issue of over-consumption. Campaigns like this encourage us to stay away from the malls on Black Friday (or Saturday in parts of the world where that kicks off the holiday shopping season).
Not Just a Day; A Way of Living 
It’s symbolic, for sure, but more and more of us are extending this notion of NOT shopping for holiday gifts deeper and deeper into our lives. After all, if in North America we’re currently consuming resources 5 times faster than Earth can replenish them, we need to do more than stay home on November 29. We need to be rethinking the cornucopian ideas we grew up with about nature’s abundance. 
Adbusters states that it “isn’t just about changing your habits for one day” but “about starting a lasting lifestyle commitment to consuming less and producing less waste.” 
The North American habit of super-consumption dies hard. It’s all we’ve known. But if we wanted to live lives in which we could drive, fly and shop with complete abandon, we would need to have stabilized world population when we hit 2 billion in 1927. 
If we wanted to own islands, fly our ownLearjets, and own a trophy house for every season, we should have stopped at 1 billion in 1800. 
But we didn’t stop. We filled the world with 7 billion people (with no sign of stabilizing anytime soon), and we went on a binge of consumption that will forever be a milestone in the history of human civilization. Now that lack of attention to sustainability and limits is coming home to roost.  
- See more here


  1. Anonymous11/27/2013

    I love your blog--it is one of the first things I go to every day and each post has almost become a daily meditation. We became familiar with the minimalist notion the hard way--we "lost" everything in, what, to us, at the time, was a personal catastrophe. All it took was an unscrupulous business partner and a couple bad months to reduce us to less than nothing. That was more than ten years ago and, interestingly enough, we have never bothered to even try to replace many of the things that we "lost." We get along just fine without a vehicle, let alone two. We are just now beginning to think about replacing some wardrobe items, but only because they are now beginning to look a little haggard. We both still wear the same classics we wore ten years ago to meet clients and I doubt anyone has noticed--a well-tailored black blazer is a well-tailored black blazer. We rarely even think about going out to eat because the food is so much better at home and spending the equivalent of a week's worth of grocery money on just one meal now seems so incredibly wasteful. The most difficult part has been dealing the attitudes of the people who knew us "back when"--they often shake their heads and make sad comments about we have just never come back from being "broken," not realizing that, to our minds, becoming "broken" is what "fixed" us. Thank you and keep up the good work.


    1. M,

      Thank you for your kind words, and thanks for sharing your story. I think it is important for people to hear stories such as yours so they can see that there is nothing to fear. Your situation was a gift wrapped as a catastrophe.

      What if we gave up all the stuff and life got better? As your example points out, that is exactly what happens. There is so much waste that can be cut, and it is enjoyable to learn how to take care of your own simple needs at home.

      It is still the case that anyone in North America that does not want more everything is thought of as slothful and damaged. I read a headline today that some employers may treat a prospective employee with suspicion if they are not on Facebook as it "indicates a possibly dangerous level of withdrawal from society."

      Congratulations on your fix. Keep going. People are watching and learning.

  2. I hope you'll be glad to know we've expanded the free worldwide Black Friday screening of GrowthBusters. This year (2016), you can stream the film anytime from November 23 to December 2. Stream it as many times as you like, when you like. You can get a free pass now at


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