Think Before you Buy
by Ann Sullivan, Sustainable Redwood
November is here, and before you know it, the holiday season will be upon us too, with all its opportunities for consumption. Think gifts and special foods, wrappings and ribbons and decorations!
In the United States, the day after Thanksgiving, called Black Friday (because it’s the day retailers start to make a profit, or go into the black) is the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season. In 2011 Americans spent $52.4 billion, or close to $400 per person, on that single day in late November. The Black Friday trend has crept across the border into Canada in recent years.
For consumers who want to wade against the flow of consumerism, there’s an alternative to Black Friday, called Buy Nothing Day, which also falls on the day after Thanksgiving (November 29 this year.
On a local level, the members of Sustainable Redwood considered hosting a Buy Nothing Challenge during the entire month of November. After much debate, it was decided that a Buy Consciously Challenge would be more appropriate this year, given the challenges local retailers have faced in 2013. Most local businesses were affected in some way by the flooding in June, and many are still recovering. We love our local retailers, and their continued operation is crucial when we’re making conscious decisions about what we consume (since buying locally is an important part of conscious consumption).
So what does buying consciously mean? In short, it means considering every purchase before you make it. Start by asking yourself whether you need the item in question. Could you find a local source for it? Could you buy something similar secondhand? Does it come with too much packaging? Does it require a long drive? Check the links below to help guide you on the path to buying consciously …