The holiday season is fast approaching and the mall madness has already begun, so we would like to bring awareness to our society’s overconsumption by celebrating Buy Nothing Day. This event began in Vancouver in the 1990’s and coincides with Black Friday (November 23, 2018); North America’s biggest shopping day. BND encourages consumers to examine our wasteful shopping habits and ask ourselves “why do we buy so much ‘stuff’ that we simply don’t need?”
With many Toronto and Peel Region schools ready to take on the Fashion Impacts Challenge this year, Buy Nothing Day serves as an empowering reminder to students that we can change our wasteful habits. The FIC asks students to think of alternatives to buying new clothes and take action on diverting textiles from landfill. Just like clothing, we often make purchases of accessories, cosmetics, toys and gadgets solely because they are on sale or because our consumerist culture encourages us to BUY! Shopping is viewed as a leisure activity rather than something to do out of necessity. This means that most of what we buy will inevitably end up in landfill within a few weeks – months of purchase.
So, what can we do instead?
Parents, ask your child’s teacher to sign up for the Fashion Impacts Challenge to teach our youth about sustainable shopping habits and the impact that rampant consumerism has on the planet and the people who produce our goods.
On Buy Nothing Day, take some time for yourself. Instead of visiting the mall, stay home and dive into that book you’ve been meaning to read, spend some quality time with a friend, your family or pets, volunteer for a cause that you care about, or organize a free event in your school or community to raise awareness.
Still need that perfect gift?
Don’t worry about missing out on great deals. Consider giving the gift of time. It is far more valuable to your loved ones and the memories will be meaningful to them for years to come. Your family probably won’t remember that scented candle or who it came from, but they will remember a homemade present. Why not give the gift of a home cooked meal, make them a craft or piece of art, see a play or make plans to spend a day together at the museum?
Remember that Buy Nothing Day asks us to commit to shopping less year round, buy only what we need and learn to appreciate life because true happiness is not measured by things. “Shop less, live more.”