Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Buy Nothing Year

On beyond Cambridge...on beyond the commune...We(s)t Coasters are planning on new underwear in 2006 and little else. De-buzzing the shopping devils in your head is what San Francisco's The Compact is about.

The group is starting with 50 professionals and is willing to suck us all into their vortex of sense. They have two principles only:
  1. Don't buy new products of any kind (from stores, web sites, etc.)
  2. Borrow or buy used.
The second may be less endearing for your friends, coworkers and relatives than the first.

The Left Coast being what it is, they let you check the details and progress on the Yahoo group and on its blog. However, they admit to atavism, naming the group after the Right Coast's Mayflower Compact.

According to a piece in the San Francisco Chronicle, this incarnation comprises around 50 execs, teachers, engineers and others who would normally be big consumers.

They were more than tired of stupid economic decisions and purchasing that led to destruction of the environment and oppression of the emerging world countries. According to high-tech marketing guy John Perry, "We're people for whom recycling is no longer enough. We're trying to get off the first-market consumerism grid, because consumer culture is destroying the world."

A typical Q&A on the blog runs:
What about new shoes for children and folks whose professional lives call for a great deal of walking (i.e., dogwalkers):

Acceptable as needed. The shoe exception has been made to support health and safety. It's not a loophole to buy Manolos. (And some of us throw orthopedic concerns to the wind for ourselves and our children, purchasing "like-new" used shoes.)
The aims this year "more or less prioritized" include:
  • To go beyond recycling in trying to counteract the negative global environmental and socioeconomic impacts of U.S. consumer culture, to resist global corporatism, and to support local businesses, farms, etc. -- a step that, we hope, inherits the revolutionary impulse of the Mayflower Compact.
  • To reduce clutter and waste in our homes (as in trash Compact-er).
  • To simplify our lives (as in Calm-pact).
So, would the 12-year-old do with no new PS2 games this year? Hmm, maybe he'd swap with other glazed eyed youths. Maybe he'll stomp and say, "Why do I have to do this too?"

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