Every year, Black Friday seems to get bigger. Cabbage Patch Doll crazes may seem a distant memory, but the stampedes of people that get up earlier and earlier every year to get started on the Christmas shopping season don’t seem to diminish at all. With Sears and several other companies allowing Black Friday to creep into Thursday, the ridiculousness of it all begs the question…where will it end?
I’d like to propose that it end on Green Saturday. Why not? Seeing as how the holiday starts with Thanksgiving, a day to be thankful for what we have, then moves on to the gluttonous Black, um, Thursday night/Friday, perhaps we could have a Green Saturday to follow it up. A time, perhaps to go hiking, work in a community garden, volunteer at a local farm, or just spend time with friends and family.
Too hippy? Maybe. For many of us, there’s still a very tangible need to give gifts, to buy “things”, and to spend our hard-earned money. Rest easy–here’s a five step guide to buying stuff on Green Saturday from your friends at InspiredEconomist.
- Buy local. Some in the green community will argue, as authors here on InspiredEconomist have done before, that online shopping is more eco-friendly (because it saves you the trip). It may have some benefits, but it’s a bit too myopic for my tastes. I prefer looking at the big picture. If we all shopped online, local stores and the communities they help create would go belly up. Here’s a great infographic from our friends at sustainablog about the benefits of buying local. Among them, a 10% shift in the purchase of local produce would save 310,000 gallons of fuel, and reduce 7.3 million pounds of CO2 from going into the atmosphere.
- Be crafty and make a gift. Most people would prefer a handmade gift. Here’s a great site that has a bajillion ideas for crafting green.
- Jump into the sharing economy. Sharing is the new caring. There are a plethora of opportunities to rent your goods out to others and make money, helping those folks save money and avoid the expense and footprint of buying something they don’t need except every now and again. Check out this really cool video about the sharing economy to learn more.
- Give the gift of service and experience. Does Uncle Jim really need another sweater? Why not get him a gift certificate to his favorite restaurant, buy him some lessons at the local homebrewing store, or get him a gift certificate for a massage with organic essential oils? Oh yeah, he’d like that a lot more than a sweater.
- Think gently used. OK…this wouldn’t be the Inspired Economist if we didn’t at least toss a few numbers at you. In the U.S., over 70% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) comes from consumer spending. Right. In China, it’s about half that. We’re a little concerned about our economy at the moment, but when you think about the inordinate amount of stuff we buy, it’s easy to see that much of that stuff falls out of use pretty quickly. By buying from a consignment store, you can get great deals year round (not just on Black Friday or Green Saturday) on clothes, furniture, housewares…you name it. And when you buy gently used stuff, you get a good product at a good price, with much less of an environmental footprint.