Does “Green” Mean Not Buying Anything?

24 Nov

– By Tisha Casida, Originally Posted at That’s Natural!

From a naturalist who also is a full-throttle supporter of capitalism, this recent post in the Examiner really irked me.

Via AdBusters, a promotion/social activism concept called “Buy Nothing Day”, goes something like:

“Think of it as an adventure, as therapy – a week of pieing and pranks, of talking back at your profs and speaking truth to power. Some of us will put up posters in our schools and neighborhoods and just break our daily routines for a week. Others will chant, spark mayhem in big box stores and provoke mass cognitive dissonance. Others still will engage in the most visceral kind of civil disobedience. And on November 26 from sunrise to sunset we will abstain en masse – not only from holiday shopping, but from all the temptations of our five-planet lifestyles.”

Sure, I get it.  You don’t want to be like the millions of people that wake up early and spend tons of money on worthless crap that will soon fill landfills.  I totally understand some of the concepts behind the anger and the activism.

The problem is, that if one doesn’t BUY anything (and that includes gifts for loved ones), then the economy takes a tank.  And, since the United States is very dependent upon services that are selling these goods, well, you are actually really hurting a lot of people.

Of course, there are many solutions to this, and some of these are even named in the article:

“Make your own.  Buy used.  Shop at Etsy.  Buy fair trade.  Barter.  Keep your wits and have a financial conscience.”

Just FYI to the author: by making your own gifts you will have to buy components unless you are God and create matter – buying used is still BUYING (and good for the economy, even better if you are buying ‘recycled’ and avoiding sales tax by purchasing at yard sales (did I just say that?)); Shopping at Etsy is still buying goods; Buying fair trade is still a form of purchasing something; Bartering is great and works, but somewhere that has to start with a product and at this point in human civilization requires some initial purchase (again, unless you are God); And “keeping your wits and having a financial conscience” is really the best solution and nulls the entire concept of “Buy Nothing Day”.

THINK about what you are doing with your dollar, but PLEASE don’t avoid shopping altogether.  Buy from someone you know, a local shopkeeper, an American company, a business that supports fair-trade, a business that promotes hand-made goods.  But, please, BUY – buy and help our fragile economy.  Don’t be stupid and continue the vicious cycle and please for God’s sake DO NOT call this being “green”.


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