Thursday, November 22, 2007

Buy Nothing Day

Tomorrow, which is considered Black Friday since it's the first day of the holiday shopping season, is also Buy Nothing Day. Over the years, BND has gone from being an escape from our obsession with consumerism and buying things, to a special occasion that symbolizes the importance of consuming less in this age of climate change.

A big flaw that I see in what's called sustainable development or buying green is that it's just a band-aid. If you're still consuming resources at a super-high rate, like most Americans (or Europeans), it isn't really going to matter if you're driving a hybrid car or buying eco-friendly stuff. Our very survival can depend on all of us shifting away from our rampant need for more and more stuff.

I went to a Target last year on Black Friday, when they opened at 6. I wasn't planning on it, I just couldn't sleep so I figured I'd walk there and check it out. It was embaressing to be a part of it. The line was pretty much wrapped around the store. And once the doors was chaos. People everywhere, carts smashing into each other. I got a few Simpsons DVD sets, and a quart of milk, and was probably the first person to check out of there. Everyone else was in a shopping, zombie-like frenzy.

But I'm no better than them. I was still there. I ask every time I shop, "do I really need to be buying this?" When I have a day off from work, I always used to like to go out. Now I find myself staying at home more, reading a book or watching a movie. You don't need to get up at 4 AM and get the newest TV or game system, when the one(s) you have are probably still working just fine. Think about what little acts like this can do for the Earth.

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