Adbusters Media Foundation

Adbusters Media Foundation

November 21, 2008 09:00 ET

Adbusters Media Foundation: Buy Nothing Day Organizers Confront the Economic Meltdown Head On

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Nov. 21, 2008) - Now in its 17th year, Buy Nothing Day is celebrated every November by environmentalists, social activists and concerned citizens in over 65 countries around the world. Over the years, Buy Nothing Day (followed by Buy Nothing Christmas) has exploded into a global movement, inspiring the world's citizens to live more simply and buy a whole lot less.

Designed to coincide with Black Friday (which this year falls on Friday, November 28) in the United States, and the unofficial start of the international holiday shopping season (Saturday, November 29), the festival takes many shapes, from relaxed family outings, to free, non-commercial street parties, to politically charged public protests, credit-card cut-ups and pranks and shenanigans of all kinds. Anyone can take part provided they spend a day without spending.

Featured by such media giants as CNN, USA Today, MSNBC, Wired, the BBC, The Age and the CBC, Buy Nothing Day has gained momentum in recent years as the climate crisis has driven people to seek out greener alternatives to unrestrained consumption.

This year, Buy Nothing Day organizers are confronting the economic meltdown head-on - asking citizens, policy makers and pundits to examine the root causes of our current financial crisis.

"If you dig a little past the surface you'll see that this crisis is not about liquidity, toxic derivatives or unregulated markets, it's really about culture," says the co-founder of Adbusters Media Foundation, Kalle Lasn. "It's our culture of excess and meaningless consumption - the glorified spending and borrowing of the past decade that's at the root of the financial meltdown we now find ourselves in."

Climate change and the economic meltdown could very well mark the beginning of a major global cultural shift - the dawn of a new age: the age of Post-Materialism.

"A simpler, pared-down lifestyle - one in which we're not drowning in debt - may well be the answer to our predicament," says Lasn. "Living within our means can also make us happier and healthier than we've been in years."

On November 28 millions of people around the world will begin that journey by going on a 24-hour consumer fast.

Editor's Notes:

(1) Buy Nothing Day facts:

- The first BND was launched by Adbusters in Vancouver in September 1992, based on an idea by artist Ted Dave, as a day for society to examine the issue of over-consumption.

- In 1997, it was moved to the Friday after American Thanksgiving - "Black Friday" - which is one of the nation's busiest shopping days. Outside of North America, BND is usually celebrated on the following Saturday.

- Despite controversies, Adbusters managed to advertise BND on CNN, but many other major TV networks have declined to air the commercials.

- Though the decentralized nature of the event makes it difficult to pin down participation numbers, thousands of activists have held public events in over 65 nations, including most US states, Canada, the UK, Israel, Germany, New Zealand, Australia, Mexico, Brazil, Japan, Taiwan, the Netherlands, Norway and India.

(2) Shopping and consumption facts:

- Per capita consumption in the U.S. has risen 45 percent in the last 20 years.

- Although people today are, on average, four-and-a-half times richer than our great-grandparents were at the turn of the century, Americans report feeling "significantly less well off" than in 1958.

- An article in New Scientist featured research suggesting that the more consumer goods you have the more you think you need to make you happy. Happiness through consumption is always out of reach (New Scientist, 4th October 2003, Vol.180, Issue 2415, p44. Available online after registering at

Contact Information

  • Adbusters Media Foundation
    Lauren Bercovitch
    Media Liaison
    (604) 736-9401
    Email: Lauren (at) Adbusters (dot) org