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.

7 thoughts on “Buy Nothing Day

  1. Why are you so hard on your own country?
    Unlike the Europeans,we didn’t rise to where we are by exploiting millions in colonial hellholes.
    We utilized what was here,and developed a unique society.
    American exceptionalism is not a myth.
    Some of the countries forging ahead as economic superpowers are doing so by means of environmental rape(Brazil&China)and mass poverty(Brazil)or mass oppression(China).
    If you want to feel guilty about being American,go ahead and indulge your need for that,but I’m not buying it.
    BTW I buy nothing on Black Friday as a matter of choice,not as a statement.
    The former Soviet Union and its satellite states committed more environmental damage thaan the US ever got close to.
    We have had environmental laws since the 70’s-the major polluters of the world have not.

    1. Black Friday is getting to be a bigger deal than Turkey Day, and I’m already hearing X-Mass songs in the stores.
      Actually, I’ve stopped feeling guilty about refusing to shop unless I feel like it.
      But don’t tell anyone I said that.

  2. No,I’m not saying it’s un-American not to buy stuff.I think the over the top pressure to buy is nauseating,but everyone has to make their own choice on that.
    We never go crazy around the holidays.
    And we don’t need an annual “coat exchange”to give clothing where it’s needed.
    My wife donates good,used,washed clothing all the time,not just on one day.
    What’s un-American to me is beating up on this country when the world is filled with truly venal regimes.
    We’re far from perfect,but we have done pretty well.
    I think the US has given plenty to the rest of the world as

    well as consuming stuff.
    Now one thing I don’t fall for is the welter of new gadgets-if I got this far without them,I can probably do just as well in the future.
    The e-readers seem like a good innovation,particularly if one travels a lot.

    But I don’t need a phone that does 400 things-if it makes and recives calls,that’s it-texting?Who needs it?I still use a film camera.Hey-have a nice Thanksgiving-it’s the best holiday of the year.

  3. We brought some coats to the coat exchange, including my mother’s. It was what she would have wanted. A beautiful day to walk on the State House Lawn. Then we walked on Wickenden Street, and I sat on the Indian Point Park bridge for a while in the afternoon sunlight — felt so good!

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