Buy Nothing Day

And now, a public service announcement from friend, Phil–

If you have a coat to give, please drop it off.
If you need a coat, please pick one up.
State House lawn (directly across from Providence Place mall)

rain/snow site: Cathedral of St. John, 275 N. Main St. Providence.
Pawtucket Visitors Center, 175 Main St. Pawtucket
On November 25th 2011 – the busiest day in the American retail calendar and the unofficial start of the international Christmas-shopping season – thousands of activists and concerned citizens in 65 countries will take a 24-hour consumer detox as part of the annual Buy Nothing Day, a global phenomenon that originated in Vancouver, Canada. Some see it as an escape from the marketing mind games and the frantic consumer binge that has come to characterize the holiday season, and our culture in general. Others use it to expose the environmental and ethical consequences of over-consumption. In Providence as part of International Buy Nothing Day, we hold a winter coat exchange on the lawn of the State House directly across from Providence Place mall. In Pawtucket the transfer of coats takes place at the Blackstone Valley Visitors Center with . There are many partners for this event: community organizations, places of worship, civic, and environmental groups. Volunteers are needed to help with this life-affirming event.
Contact information: Providence – Greg Gerritt: 331-0529
Phil Edmonds: 461-3683

Pawtucket: Blackstone Valley Visitors Center, 175 Main St.

Arthur Pitt 369-1918;

Newport – St Paul’s Church 12 West Marlborough St. Maggie Bulmer 849-3537.

Wakefield –St. Francis Church, 114 High Street, 10AM to noon Tom Abbott 364-0778

Barrington Bayside YMCA 70 West St Connie Ganley (508) 837-0467

Locations in Wakefield, Pawtucket, and Barrington will be accepting coats all week during business hours.

Buy Nothing Day

Buy Nothing Day began in 1992 by Adbusters Media Foundation in Vancouver, Canada as a way to resist the advertising industry that abets over-consumption by causing people to feel unfulfilled with what they have. Since then, Buy Nothing Day has evolved into a global phenomenon creating awareness of how entangled we are in the web of consumerism.

Most Americans would not consider themselves “wealthy” compared to the upper class in the United States. True, there is an enormous inequality in the U.S.A. But that doesn’t change the fact that the average American consumer spends twenty times more on products – with many products coming from overseas – than the average person living in South America, Asia, or Africa.

Overconsumption might be a recipe for ecological disaster, but until it shows up as red ink on corporations’ balance sheets, it’s full steam ahead. Everything we buy has an impact on the environment, Buy Nothing Day highlights the environmental and ethical consequences of consumerism. The United States, with only 5% of the world’s population, consumes about one-third of the world’s natural resources that are used, produces half of the world’s non-organic waste, and generates nearly 30% of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions. Go ahead and blame the corporations, Wall St., and the system of profit, if you like. But our dollars are the oil that keeps this hurtful, wastefuly economy running.

These are heavy facts to digest and can leave one despondent, but, there are signs that our consumer habits could be changing. With the current recession, some people have no choice but to cut spending, and now, are slowly beginning to question this consumer-globalized economics way of life realizing we are not as happy as we thought we were, and as a result, are thinking about ways of living that might lead to more genuine satisfaction.

While critics of the day charge that Buy Nothing Day simply causes participants to buy the next day, 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.

What we choose to buy, where we choose to shop, even whether we choose to be part of campaigns…all this is not a homage to some weighty obligation; it’s a celebration of the world we want…My choices as a consumer used to feel so small, but now I’m convinced they have real power. Together we are a sleeping giant and, awakened, we can really stir things up. -Frances Moore Lappe and Anna Lappe, Hope’s Edge

The focus of Buy Nothing Day is to “stir things up” – with a clear message that we no longer will be duped by the endless advertisments telling us the way to happiness.

Come join us on the State House lawn on November 25h in a celebratory spirit of sharing and re-affirm our commitment to curb out spending habits so that the generations to come may have a liveable planet. Or attend any of the other four Buy Nothing Day Coat Exchange sites around Rhode Island.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving all, and don’t do anything that’s not fun.

Only 32 More Un-Shopping Days Left

14th Annual Buy Nothing Day
Winter Coat Exchange
Friday, November 26th, 2010 10:00am – 2:00pm
If you have a coat to give, please drop it off.
If you need a coat, please pick one up.
State House lawn (directly across from Providence Place Mall)
• Greg Gerritt 331-0529,
• Phil Edmonds 461-3683,
* Rain/Snow site: Cathedral of Saint John, 271 N Main Street, Providence, RI
Other Coat Exchange Sites:

Blackstone Valley Visitors Center, 175 Main St. Pawtucket
• Arthur Pitt 724-8915,
Newport: St Paul's Church, 12 Marlborough Street
• Maggie Bulmer 849-3537
Wakefield: St. Francis Church, 114 High Street 10:00am – NOON
• Tom Abbott 364-0778
Woonsocket: St. Ann's Arts & Cultural Center, 84 Cumberland Street
• Wally Rathbun

My friend Phil sent this. He buys stuff, and I do too. In fact, the mob at the Mall is kind of reassuring after the desperation of the last few years. But I’m a procrastinator, so maybe I’ll celebrate the Three Kings and pick up some deals at the post-season sales.

They’re already playing Christmas music, it just makes me melancholy. I might observe the holiday with some of Fischel Brezler’s music, and see if Joyce wants to go carolling at the ACI. Whatever you do this season, be jolly. Don’t do any stuff you don’t want to do and don’t let your cat eat tinsel– it doesn’t digest.

Save Those Coats

If you love crowds and standing in long lines while spending money on stuff you’re not sure will make anyone happy while listening to singing chipmunks, then don’t read this post. Go to the Provicence Place Mall the day after Thanksgiving.

But if you’re a dour curmudgeon, or just contrary, November 26 is Buy Nothing Day. Right across the street, on the State House lawn, is the 14th annual Winter Coat Exchange. (in case of rain, St. John’s Cathedral will host). Bring a coat you don’t need, or get one you do need. Link to the event is here.

There are other coat exchanges around town, I’ll list them as I find out about them.

Coat Exchange

The Buy Nothing Day Coat Exchange was doing a brisk business when I walked by about 11:00, despite the change of location to the church on the corner of Smith and N.Main St. The coats and the people were nice and dry in the church basement, it runs until 1pm today.

I went to the State House lawn first, and people were gathering there for a rally against homelessness. Downtown was much less crowded than I expected, with lots of parking spaces open around Providence Place.

Some of my family might be shopping the Black Friday sales, but I’m staying warm indoors and catching up on the day job, or jobs actually.

How was your Thanksgiving?

A Cure for Blue Christmas

Buy Nothing Day is a holiday tradition on the State House lawn. It happens on the day after Thanksgiving. Bring a coat if you have an extra, take one if you need one. Meet your neighbors and share some Christmas spirit. No lines. You can even sneak off to the Mall (don’t tell anyone I said that) they have parking there.

Details can be found here.