Saturday November 29th 2014 is Buy Nothing Day !

The idea is simple; keep your wallet closed for 24 hours straight. We are so used to the act of purchasing that we often shop mindlessly. Shopping has become an addiction, and consuming has contaminated our lifestyle. It is time to break the habit and treat this 21st century disease called consumerism.

Our 'more-more-more' mentality puts a huge burden on the global resource base. The products we consume go through a long and environmentally stressful life cycle. Combined with the global increase in population, the production and distribution of products have become key factors in environmental degradation all over the world.

It’s no coincidence that the Buy Nothing Day (BND) takes place right before Christmas. Blinded by the bright artificial lights, people browse the shelves, looking for meaningful Christmas gifts. In their advertisement-infused pursuit of the Christmas extravaganza, it is easy to forget the true meaning of the holidays, and end up spending more time in the mall than with loved ones.

For the heavily addicted shoppers, there is another option for stopping the shopping. Those who think that BND goes too far can also take part in a "buycot". This means that instead of shopping at the chain supermarkets, you get your groceries from a local farm and gifts from an independent craftsman. The English BND action group calls this "A new kind of materialism, based on an economy of better, not more”.

A one-day consumer strike will not save our planet or solve poverty. But what this initiative can do is to raise awareness of our consumer culture and maybe change our habits in the long run. According to Klaus Jensen, the leader of the BND campaign in Denmark: “It works because it turns everything upside down and makes you aware of your consumption”.