I’d like to wish everyone a happy Buy Nothing Day!
For those that don’t know, Buy Nothing Day is the Friday after Thanksgiving for Americans, and the following Saturday around the world. It is the biggest shopping day of the year. Buy Nothing Day attempts to draw attention to the harmful nature of recreational consumerism on this day by encouraging people to abstain.
This is a great day to do consumerism-related activities with your class. I have used my Boycott! activity and have asked students to keep a journal about what they bought for the week leading up to Buy Nothing Day. Then, in class, we had a discussion and I gave them some writing prompts.
The Buy Nothing Day resources at the Adbusters website also include a variety of performance-based protests which could be fun to bring into the classroom or, even better, to bring out of the classroom. The website also has links to a lot of news reports, as well as anti-ads made by Adbusters that, every year, the networks refuse to run. This could lead to an interesting discussion of media freedom. This year, they attempted to get their ads on MTV.
MTV, the channel that markets itself to hip youth, has decreed that our Buy Nothing Day public service spot “goes further than we are willing to accept on our channels”. Gangsta rap and sexualized, semi-naked school girls are okay, but apparently not a burping pig talking about consumption.