How Black Friday and Consumerism is destroying our planet. Choose Gree – Alba Yoga

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How Black Friday and Consumerism is destroying our planet. Choose Green Friday instead.

The annual Black Friday weekend is knocking on our doors, and massive online retailers are loading their comercial guns. Discounts, 2-for-1 deals, everywhere you look for. Every year tons of money is spent on trying to convince you that you need a certain product right now. In this post we critically analyse the Black Friday event and consumerism in general. We will explain how it threatens our planet and what we as conscious buyers can do about it. Let’s go green.

Problem with Consumerism

Consumerism is defined as a “social and economic order that encourages the acquisition of goods and services in ever-increasing amounts”. The most important part of this definition is the “in ever-increasing amounts”. Since we all live on a finite planet with finite resources, everything that is ever-increasing, or infinite, is a threat to our existence.

As many of you know, we are already consuming resources at an alarming rate. Much quicker than what our planet is able to replenish during our lifetime. When you look a little bit deeper into the problem you will find out that the root cause of this mess is us. We humans living in the developed countries of this world are the main consumers of our planet resources. 

If everyone was living like the average US-American consumer, then we would need our earth 4 times its size. This gets even worse in wealthier countries like the United Arab Emirates. If we all lived like the average Emirati citizen, our planet needed 5.4 times its size [1].

Black Friday

Since 2005, the highest peak of sales worldwide happens to be on the last Friday of November - aka the Black Friday. Big players like Amazon, Nike, Zara, etc. make a big share of their annual sales on that day alone.

Price tag showing 50% off on cloth representing black friday

Photo by Artem Beliaikin on Unsplash

In 2019 the world spent $729.1 billion only on the Black Friday weekend [2]. That is a number with nine zeros and looks like this: $729.100.000.000.

Mind blowing right?

The origin of the term Black Friday comes from the US police in the early 1950s caused by mayhem and frenetic shopping, with one New York newspaper calling it the “Black-eye Friday”. After leaving the shoppers with “only” a black eye behind 70 years ago, the victim and the severity of its injuries has quite changed in recent times. Nowadays it's our planet that suffers the most from our yearly increasing appetite for cheap deals. In order to reduce the harm of this year’s Black Friday and hopefully all the ones that follow, Alba Yoga suggests the following.

Conscious Consumerism

Basically every buy decision you make has the power to change the world a little bit. You should be aware of this and especially make use of that power for the better.

A conscious consumer is someone who looks beyond the label. They are people who will want to know more about the company from which they are buying their purchases. After all, there is always a company motive behind it. When you purchase something from a company, you are essentially funding a company to continue doing what they’re doing. So, do you like what they’re doing? You need to do your research and find out.

When you opt to be a conscious consumer, you are putting yourself in the driver’s seat of making a decision for which brand(s) you choose to support. It’s about keeping your mind engaged and making sure that you understand just what you are choosing to support or not.

Though it seems simple enough, doing that “homework” before you buy from a certain business or brand is not always as easy as it should be, and it takes effort to do it right.

Second hand shop showing cloth to be bought

Photo by Shanna Camilleri on Unsplash

Furthermore, a conscious consumer is aware if she/he actually needs the desired product or service or if she/he just got tricked into the wish for the purchase by some clever marketing strategy.

Now is the perfect time to take the first step in becoming a conscious consumer yourself. Support the Green Friday movement and set an example for yourself and your close ones.

Green Friday

Green is the new black! Over the last few years, the movement of anti-consumerism has been growing rapidly as more and more people start to become aware of climate change and its effects on our direct environment. Much thanks to the efforts of movements such as Extinction Rebellion and climate activists.

Some movements dubbed the day after Black Friday, Buy Nothing Day, or even Small Business Day in an attempt to support the local economy instead of soulless retailers.

All these movements are a sign that people want to see change. What if we use Black Friday to think about the impact our purchases have on the world, and how we can take action to help the planet and those around us instead? Let’s go green!

Shopping bag in autumn representing Green Friday

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Obviously it will take a long time to change consumerism as we know it. But the increasing popularity of Green Friday is a strong, positive way of pushing back on materialism. It has grown significantly in just the last few years — here’s to hoping it turns into a worldwide holiday.

So if you don’t have any plans for GreenFriday yet, consider joining a beach cleanup event, do some Yoga and spend time with your family. Good for you, your wallet, and our planet.

References

[1] https://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-33133712
[2] https://www.thebalance.com/what-is-black-friday-3305710
[3] Blog post photo by Harry Cunningham on Unsplash

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