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About A Week: Buy Nothing Day

Peter Hinchliffe accepts the argument that we should all consume less. But what about the milk?

Britain’s money man Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling announced this week tax cuts amount to £21 billion.

The aim is to get people to buy more goods.

It was further announced that $800 billion will be injected into US economy to encourage people to buy houses.

Governments are convinced that the way to cure the “economic ‘flu’’ which has swept around the world is to spend, spend, spend.

Dig up more of the Earth. Rip out copper, iron ore... Chop down another rain forest. Raise more cattle and sheep. Make more cars, furniture, clothes... Eat until your chubby.

Oh by the way, tomorrow is a special day in the UK. It’s Buy Nothing Day.

The Buy Nothing Day Web site challenges us to switch off from shopping and tune into life.

“The rules are simple, for 24 hours you will detox from consumerism and live without shopping. Anyone can take part provided they spend a day without spending!

Buy Nothing Day is the biggest 24-hour moratorium against consumerism. People around the world will make a pact to take a break from shopping as a personal experiment or public statement and the best thing is - IT'S FREE!’’

The challenge is backed up with this comment on the current financial remedies being pursued by governments.

“Suddenly, we ran out of money and, to avoid collapse, we quickly pumped liquidity back into the system. But behind our financial crisis a much more ominous crisis looms: we are running out of nature… fish, forests, fresh water, minerals, soil. What are we going to do when supplies of these vital resources run low?

There’s only one way to avoid the collapse of this human experiment of ours on Planet Earth: we have to consume less.
It will take a massive mindshift. You can start the ball rolling by buying nothing on November 28th. Then celebrate Christmas differently this year, and make a New Year’s resolution to change your lifestyle in 2009.

It’s now or never!’’

Yes indeed.

When I put in an appearance on this planet in the mid-1930s there were around 2 billion people competing for what the good Earth could provide.

Now, in 70 years, that number has increased to 6.4 billion. All those bodies in need of clothing. Those mouths anxious for food. Those millions upon millions of ambitions to own a bike, a motorbike, a car, a house built of brick...

The world population is expected to reach 9 billion by 2042.

Humankind’s irrepressible urge to multiply is a threat to every other species.

Yes I am in sympathy with the aims of the Buy Nothing Day campaign. But I’ve just noticed that I’m almost out of milk. And I really can’t survivie without my morning bowl of Bran Flakes.

I’ve simply got to go to the village shop.

Sometimes I think we humans are not strong-willed enough to survive.


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