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Don’t buy it

International ‘Buy Nothing Day’ was joyously celebrated across the world on November 24 (North America) and 25 (everywhere else). From India to Indiana, Taipei to Toronto and Manila to Melbourne, shoppers floundering in the festive spending frenzy were encouraged, in a variety of creative/surreal ways, to ‘stop shopping, start living’. There were anti-corporate protests, brand-worshipping cults, community coat exchanges, Christmas card-making stalls, dancing monkeys, stands in front of Starbucks giving away free coffee, chic-looking bottles of NothingTM for sale. In London, a group known as the ‘Space Hijackers’ caused chaos in Nike Town and HMV by wandering round the stores wearing ‘Everything in this store is half price!’ T-shirts and looking helpful. In New York, a traffic-blocking BND parade was led by anticonsumerist performance artist/prophet Reverend Billy and his Church of Stop Shopping. The aim of the day was to get people to think about their consumerism habits, the social and environmental consequences our plastic-intensive, globally exploitative, throwaway lifestyles are having, and to suggest alternative things we can do with our time and money.

New Internationalist issue 397 magazine cover This article is from the January-February 2007 issue of New Internationalist.
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