Lazy Friday usually gives you ideas for things to do over the weekend, but today is different.

This week, we’re asking you NOT to do something because tomorrow (November 24) is Buy Nothing Day UK – an annual protest about consumerism.

So, whatever you had planned for tomorrow, hopefully it didn’t include darkening the door of your local supermarket or a trip into town for Christmas pressies.

The idea behind BND is that by doing nothing, you’re actually helping to do something ……. and you’ll be in good company. The event is now celebrated in countries all over the world (although in the USA and Canada, it happens a day earlier.) In Europe, it takes place on the last Saturday in November – when millions are usually out shopping.

You may well wonder how simply not shopping on a single day is likely to make any difference to our over-spending, wasteful society – and let’s face it, if you simply go shopping on Sunday instead, you might not be achieving a great deal.

However, the organisers hope that Buy Nothing Day will make you think about shopping and spending and will help you to make a lasting commitment to consuming less and recycling a lot more.

But don’t be fooled into thinking that tomorrow will be easy! Buying nothing for an entire 24 hours is actually a lot more challenging than you might think. Even if you aren’t a shopaholic, chances are that you rarely go a full day without buying something – even if it’s just sandwiches to eat at work, a newspaper to read on the train or sweets for the children.

(So, if you’re at work tomorrow, remember to make sandwiches to take with you 🙂 )

Incredibly, in America, TV networks have censored an ad promoting Buy Nothing Day which features a burping pig!  Protestors say the networks are prepared to show sex and violence – but a message about the damage that consumerism is doing to the planet is not considered “appropriate” for its viewers!

Burping pig advert that American networks won’t show:

Over the pond, the whole BND idea has escalated.  Campaigners now stand in shopping malls offering a service to shoppers – cutting up their credit cards to reduce spending (and debt) and groups of friends organise Walmart protests. They get lots of people together and walk very slowly around the store with empty trollies in a kind of conga – then leave without buying anything.

If nothing else, BND should leave you with a few hours to spend doing something more enjoyable – and less harmful to the environment.  So, why not visit your local library, go for a long walk, take the kids to the park or simply chill out and read a book?  Trust me, you’ll have so much more fun !

Or, if you’d like to get more involved, why not organise a gift and swap day with friends or neighbours where you all donate goods that others might find useful?

Check out the Buy Nothing Day website for more information.  You can download posters to stick up in your window or at work, email a postcard to get friends involved and join the BND facebook group.

Last year’s BND in Bristol

You can also search for events in your area. For example, there is a give-or-take day planned for Wood Green in London while Brighton is holding a ‘Make your own gift’ workshop. 

(Saturday is pizza night in our house – the one night when I usually don’t need to worry about cooking – and  I can hear the protests already when I tell everyone that it’s off this week 🙂 )




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