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The Yearly International Buy Nothing Day

The end of November many countries worldwide experience the International Buy Nothing Day/No Shop Day.

Buy Nothing Day is a day of cheerful and critical protest against Western overconsumption, the unequal worldwide distribution of well-being and wealth, and the influence of advertising on our daily lives.

Enough is enough!

Gradually no one in the rich parts of the world can avoid the phenomenon of the International Buy Nothing Day. Every year this action day takes a wide variety of forms and brings home the human and environmental consequences of the consumer society to shoppers worldwide.
Advertising would have us believe that we become happy by having lots of things and, in addition, encourages people's dissatisfaction and greed.

Buy Nothing Day has a prevailing theme of 'Enough is enough'. The consumption patterns in rich countries take much too large a portion of the Earth's riches and cause a disproportionate amount of environmental damage.

Buy Less, reduce your mess >
Drawing by Charlotte (10). More nice drawings on BND for Kids

Human Development Report

Activists in the Netherlands, Great-Britain, Canada, Finland, Poland, Slovenia, Germany, Northern Ireland, Norway, Australia, Belgium, New-Zealand, Sweden and the US feel supported by the findings of the UNDP's Human Development Reports, which appeared september 1998 and July 1999. These report, published by the United Nations Development Programme, show that unrestrained consumption broadens the gap between the poor and the rich.

Eighty-six percent of the purchases for personal consumption are made by twenty percent of the world's population, according to these reports. During the Buy Nothing Day campaigns, the campaigners always used the figure of eighty percent. The Human Development Reports however show that the relation is actually more lopsided.

The Dutch National Institute of Public Health and Environmental Protection (RIVM), which publishes the annual National Environmental Outlook, says it appears again and again that the purchase of more and more products makes it impossible to achieve environmental objectives.

Worldwide Action Days

Buy Nothing Day is especially a day of protest by all of those who find that they have enough, and want to voice their opposition to the incessant trend towards 'always more.' Buy Nothing Day is particularly celebrated in countries that have a very high level of consumption.

The initiative for the Buy Nothing Day was taken in 1992, in Canada, by Ted Dave, who was working in the advertising world. By doing this, he wanted to perform an act against the constant appeal to overconsume, which advertisements pour out on us. His motto was: Enough is enough! Since then the idea of the Buy Nothing Day has been adopted by increasingly more countries. This year there will be activities in at least thirteen countries.

On Buy Nothing Day diverse countries and cities will host lively and eye-catching street actions, in which the shopping public will be asked to think about their own consumer behavior. The forms of the actions are very diverse: in one city shopping-free zones are created, while elsewhere Martians come to study the behavior of Earthlings. Or one finds, in the middle of a busy shopping street, a couple of lounge chairs for people to recover from their consumer urges. Perhaps shopping sheep or marionettes will once again turn up this year. Whoever is lucky can get a hold of a free box of Happiness or a certificate granting exemption from Christmas presents!

Participate by not participating!

The easiest way to become involved in the Buy Nothing Day is: Stay at home! Give yourself and your wallet a day of rest by not shopping. Some countries have special posters to put in your windows.

Those who want to participate in this campaign in a more active way - and that is definitely much more fun - can contact the coordinating group in their own country.

The Media Foundation, a Canadian organization, has made a number of short promotional videos especially for TV broadcast.

Omslag, Workshop for Sustainable Development - The Netherlands.

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