Black Friday & Cyber Monday Deals | What is your Carbon Footprint after this weekend?
Have you ever wondered how ‘Black Friday’ started? In 1869 there was a financial crisis after the US gold market crashed, many retail stores suffered as a result of this, and after spending the entire year ‘in the red’, Thanksgiving came to save the day. After a great time with family, most people would head to the stores to buy loads of discounted goods, putting the retailers ‘in the black’ — hence it being called Black Friday.
Now what we have is a culture of people getting geared up to spend lots of money on highly discounted pieces that most of the time they don’t need! This is one tradition our planet doesn’t need us to continue.
Guess what? The carbon footprint of black Friday 2020 has been calculated to be around 429,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions, and in case you are wondering what that looks like, that is the equivalent of 61,308 elephants or 435 return flights from London to New York!*
We recognise that discounts make most people very very happy, and grabbing a bargain can seem life-changing in the moment, but we must take time out to consider the bigger picture. Cultivate a habit of asking yourself questions before you run towards the sales:
- Do I actually NEED it? ‘NEED’ being a very crucial word in this sentence. More times than not, when you analyse it, you’ll realise you don’t. Another side question to ask along with this is, ‘Do I already have this?’
- WHY do I want this? Exploring our motivations for doing things can be very helpful in getting us to make better thought out choices. If you don’t have an answer or the answer is just ‘because it’s cheap’, then perhaps it is time to pass on the purchase.
- Will I USE this more than a couple of times? The Earth lets out a big sigh when we just get things that will sit in our garage or our loft without getting much use out of it. This goes back to the question of motivation — before you buy, try to ask yourself, ‘how many times will I use it’.
It isn’t all doom and gloom because these dates provide us with an opportunity to redefine what they mean for us. So here are some international days we should be celebrating instead of Black Friday!
Celebrated on the third Thursday of November, Use Less Day is self-explanatory — it’s a day made to encourage people to Buy less, Use less, and Give more.
To participate in #UseLessDay you can have a good ‘spring clean’ (we won’t tell anyone if you do it in November), Donate under-used items to a local charity, and abstain from the mayhem and madness of mass-consumption on Black Friday!
Buy Nothing Day is a 24 challenge in which you, family members and friends all pledge to stop spending for one day. Falling conveniently on the same day as Black Friday, it draws focus away from the ‘amazing deals’ that Black Friday has to offer and asks participants to really think about the impact of their indulgences.
This day is a good exercise for the planet and your pocket; this day is a great way to have a shopping reset and stop unnecessary purchases on the single most wasteful holiday of the year.
A relatively new international day, Small Business Saturday was founded in 2010 to shine a light on small businesses and take focus away from the large corporations polluting our planet.
By choosing to buy things like Christmas Presents from a small business, not only will you avoid the uncertainty of where your product is coming from and the impact its production has had, but shopping small can make a big impact to the small business you buy from, and often has a much more unique and personal touch, giving you greater buyer satisfaction!