First, let me state this was not “my” idea. The anti-consumerism movements I’m going to reference here have been going strong for as long as people have been selling and consuming “stuff.” I’m simply putting all this here, not because this is my original concept, but because I was asked to clarify what our family is doing for our “Buy Nothing Year: A Journey To Zero Waste.” Specifically in Bellingham, WA. I’ll link below to others I have come across in who have shared their experiments. I’m sure more are out there.
Second, “Buy Nothing” is a misnomer, possibly allowed to developed that way to shock people into interest. “Buy Nothing” is actually about the principles of the 3-Rs we already know, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, then expanded to include Refuse and Rethink. So a “Buy Nothing Year” is all about defining what actual “necessities” are for us, understanding that sometimes necessities are wholly subjective, analyzing which of those necessities can fall into the lifecycle of the 5-Rs, and choosing to become hyper aware of consumerism choices for a year (or any defined length of time), by not purchasing anything unless outlined as a necessity. This process allows a consumer to become conscious of potentially wasteful habits and results in a major reset for long-ingrained, sub-conscious patterns of consumerism and wastefulness, both literal and figurative, and especially with an underlying financial benefit.
Did that bore you? Let me take off my student/teacher of life cap for a minute. IT MEANS YOU STOP BUYING CRAP! I mean we can all agree with on the basic necessities of life: Food, Shelter, Water, Medicine. Some people have to have coffee. Others want MAC makeup. Me, well, I what 15 yards of compost every spring delivered to my garden. It’s all subjective. But the idea here is to break the cycle of just buying stuff for stuff’s sake.
There are some really inspiring articles, blogs, documentaries from people who have done this. No, not Buddhists. Actual people with varying lifestyles, all who have drafted up their unique list of necessities, and in doing so have arrived at what they perceive as acceptable acts of consumerism and then consciously stay within those guidelines for a period of time.
I also want to point out, this is just one viewpoint of many. It takes only a minute of scanning all the comments on those above sites to see this is a controversial subject. And like I said in the “about” section on this site, this is all exploratory. We aren’t asking for opinion polls, or counter arguments, or looking to tell anyone how to handle their business. We’re just trying something for ourselves. We’ve decided on 1-year. I’ll make a post call “Our List” and outline what we’ve decided focus on for that time.