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Auckland Buy Nothing Day - Nov. 26

Take a break from the consumer frenzy. Celebrate Buy Nothing Day Nov 26

Auckland organiser Stuart Sontier

It’s that time of year again International Buy Nothing Day, on Friday the 26th.

You’ve probably heard of it by now this is the 4th time in New Zealand and the 8th worldwide where groups have celebrated a day where we take some time to think about our role in consumer society.

But why does it matter what we consume?

Auckland organiser Stuart Sontier says “we started celebrating Buy Nothing Day in 1995 from an intuitive feeling of unease about over-consumption and society’s focus on material wealth. We’re now finding that numerous international reports cite figures backing up our concerns. The latest is the UN Environment Programme’s GEO 2000 report.”

Nearly half the world’s population lives in cities, travelling vast distances in cars and planes and creating more transportation of resources from distant countries. Transport accounts for ¼ of world energy use and ½ of world oil production. New technologies have increased our use of primary resources, but the latest UNEP says “The magnitude of this economic activity is causing environmental damage on a global scale and widespread pollution and disruption of ecosystems.”

Says Stuart Sontier: “It’s also encouraging that the regional councils, in their latest initiative on waste, are focussing on both what to do with waste, and the consumption that creates it. Similarly to us, they ask in a recent ad ‘Do you really need it? Will it end up in the rubbish.’ “We go further, connecting over-consumption with social and environmental problems at a global level.”

We note that the nearing of the WTO Ministerial meeting is creating a debate as to the negative effects caused by liberalising of trade to the social and physical environment, and the power of the WTO to undermine local environmental law.

GEO 2000 states that if “population growth, economic growth and consumption patterns continue, the natural environment will be increasingly stressed” and ”the present course is unsustainable and postponing action is no longer an option.”

That’s why we think the issues that Buy Nothing Day raises need to be discussed.

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