Quantcast

Disrupt Black Friday: Buy Nothing, Make Something, Shop For Good

Business

It's Thanksgiving week, so you know what's coming after that last slice of pumpkin pie: Black Friday.

The annual occasion—as well as its digital cousin Cyber Monday—sets off the country's mad dash of holiday shopping. And let's face it, some of the deals can be pretty enticing.


But in recent years, there has been growing backlash against this retail frenzy. Outdoor gear company REI famously closed down all of its stores on Black Friday in 2015 to give its 12,000 employees a well-deserved paid day off. In 2016, fellow outdoor brand Patagonia donated its entire $10 million in Black Friday sales to grassroots environmental organizations.

With the emergence of Buy Nothing Day, Small Business Saturday, Shop for Good Sunday, Giving Tuesday and the newly launched Make SMTHNG Week, more people are starting to counter rampant consumerism or put their dollars towards a good cause.

"We are already drowning in stuff—stuffed wardrobes, garages, and kitchens—yet we keep on shopping for more fashion, gadgets, food, single-use plastic, toys, and cars," Robin Perkins, Make SMTHNG campaigner at Greenpeace, said in a press release. "With our throwaway lifestyles we are fueling climate change, pollution and the destruction of people's homes and irreplaceable natural wonders."

Greenpeace and its partners—Fashion Revolution, #BreakFreeFromPlastic, Shareable, Arts Thread, the Fab Labs Network and the Fab City Global Initiative—will be holding more than 273 events in 38 countries this November 23 – December 2 where participants will be asked to #BuyNothing and #MakeSmthng instead.

"By sharing, caring, and repairing things we can make more of what we already own and give our beautiful planet a break," Greenpeace's Perkins said about the event.

Hundreds of designers and artisans will lead classes that teach you how to reuse, repair, upcycle and DIY. There will also be workshops on making sustainable gifts, cooking with zero-waste, living a plastic-free life, book and clothing swaps and more.

That being said, there's really no shame in buying new stuff when we really need to. Giving and receiving gifts is a genuine display of love and companionship. However, there's a lot to be said about where and what we spend our dollars on.

The research firm eMarketer predicts this holiday shopping season will surpass the $1 trillion mark for the first time.

But "sixty percent of this online spending between Black Friday and Cyber Monday goes to only a dozen giant retailers, none of which are impact-focused," wrote Cullen Schwarz, the founder of the Boston-based e-commerce site DoneGood.

"Imagine if even a fraction of these holiday shopping dollars were also used to reduce poverty, fight climate change, or make the world better. The impact would be enormous," he added.

That's why for the second year, DoneGood has launched its Shop for Good Sunday campaign for socially and environmentally conscious consumers. This year, 100 percent of the revenue generated through the DoneGood platform on Nov. 25 will be donated to RAINN—the nation's largest anti-sexual violence organization.

Using the platform, you can find unique handmade accessories, clothing made from non-toxic, organic and/or recycled or upcycled materials, and products made with eco-friendly processes such as facilities powered with renewable energy. Partner brands have met standards such as Fair Trade, Global Organic Textile Standard, Rain Forest Alliance and other ethical certifications.

DoneGood itself is a Certified B Corp and 1% for the Planet member which gives 1 percent of revenues to environmental non-profits.

"The brands participating in Shop for Good Sunday just make better gifts anyway. They're higher quality and more unique than the stuff from typical big box stores," Schwarz said in a press release emailed to EcoWatch. "If we can all get better gifts, save money, and make the world better, just by getting the holiday gifts we were going to buy anyway, why not?"

Disclosure: EcoWatch is among the 125 nonprofits, media outlets and social impact brands that have partnered with the Shop for Good Sunday campaign. We earn no revenue from the campaign.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Natural Resources Defense Council

By Emily Deanne

Shower shoes? Check. Extra-long sheets? Yep. Energy efficiency checklist? No worries — we've got you covered there. If you're one of the nation's 12.1 million full-time undergraduate college students, you no doubt have a lot to keep in mind as you head off to school. If you're reading this, climate change is probably one of them, and with one-third of students choosing to live on campus, dorm life can have a big impact on the health of our planet. In fact, the annual energy use of one typical dormitory room can generate as much greenhouse gas pollution as the tailpipe emissions of a car driven more than 156,000 miles.

Read More Show Less
Kokia drynarioides, commonly known as Hawaiian tree cotton, is a critically endangered species of flowering plant that is endemic to the Big Island of Hawaii. David Eickhoff / Wikipedia

By Lorraine Chow

Kokia drynarioides is a small but significant flowering tree endemic to Hawaii's dry forests. Native Hawaiians used its large, scarlet flowers to make lei. Its sap was used as dye for ropes and nets. Its bark was used medicinally to treat thrush.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Frederick Bass / Getty Images

States that invest heavily in renewable energy will generate billions of dollars in health benefits in the next decade instead of spending billions to take care of people getting sick from air pollution caused by burning fossil fuels, according to a new study from MIT and reported on by The Verge.

Read More Show Less
Aerial view of lava flows from the eruption of volcano Kilauea on Hawaii, May 2018. Frizi / iStock / Getty Images

Hawaii's Kilauea volcano could be gearing up for an eruption after a pond of water was discovered inside its summit crater for the first time in recorded history, according to the AP.

Read More Show Less
A couple works in their organic garden. kupicoo / E+ / Getty Images

By Kristin Ohlson

From where I stand inside the South Dakota cornfield I was visiting with entomologist and former USDA scientist Jonathan Lundgren, all the human-inflicted traumas to Earth seem far away. It isn't just that the corn is as high as an elephant's eye — are people singing that song again? — but that the field burgeons and buzzes and chirps with all sorts of other life, too.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
A competitor in action during the Drambuie World Ice Golf Championships in Uummannaq, Greenland on April 9, 2001. Michael Steele / Allsport / Getty Images

Greenland is open for business, but it's not for sale, Greenland's foreign minister Ane Lone Bagger told Reuters after hearing that President Donald Trump asked his advisers about the feasibility of buying the world's largest island.

Read More Show Less
AFP / Getty Images / S. Platt

Humanity faced its hottest month in at least 140 years in July, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said on Thursday. The finding confirms similar analysis provided by its EU counterparts.

Read More Show Less
Newly established oil palm plantation in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia. Rhett A. Butler / Mongabay

By Hans Nicholas Jong

Indonesia's president has made permanent a temporary moratorium on forest-clearing permits for plantations and logging.

It's a policy the government says has proven effective in curtailing deforestation, but whose apparent gains have been criticized by environmental activists as mere "propaganda."

Read More Show Less