Buy Nothing Day

Natural Leadership

Turkey

I love Thanksgiving but I despise the fact that this amazing day to give thanks for what we already have is paired with the most consumerist day of the year, Black Friday. I have long begrudged the overwhelm of stuff: the money, the space, the time, the responsibility…

But, ’tis the season, right?

Or is it?

Making conscious choices

What will you do on Buy Nothing Day (formerly known as Black Friday) this year?

I would argue that living consciously –being aware of the choices you are making on a daily basis– is the biggest part of living in a sustainability-focused way. My friend recently reminded me about how I took a year off from buying anything new. At first it was really tough, then it became very easy to just say no to more stuff. To this day I always ask myself before a purchase, “Do I really need this? Will it make me happy?” More often than not, the answer is a firm, “nope and nope,” and said item goes back on the shelf.

This Thanksgiving, I am challenging myself to focus on the real things that bring me happiness –spending time outside, being with family, having gratitude for all the wonderful people and experiences in my life– and absolutely no shopping. To make an even firmer commitment to myself, I’m taking the Pledge. Will you?

“This year I pledge to join people around the world in celebrating “Buy Nothing Day” on November 29th. I will resist overconsumption by creating a meaningful experience instead.” –The Story of Stuff Project

Things you can do differently this year:

  • Spend no money and participate in Buy Nothing Day.
  • Take the Buy Less, Live More Pledge, with the help of the Story of Stuff Project.
  • Spend a few minutes thinking about what you have and are grateful for.
  • Lend a hand to those in need. In my community 1 in 6 people utilize the foodbank.
  • Contribute to #TheGreatListen. Download the StoryCorps app and record an elder family member about their thanksgiving memories.
  • Invest in your life in these few free ways, as suggested by Mr. Money Mustache.
  • Get outdoors. Post a photo with #ThankOutside and #OptOutside to share your gratitude for nature.
  • Enjoy non-toxic ways to enjoy Thanksgiving this year.

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us in the MASD program,

Cindy

p.s. MASD students, enjoy this week-long break to get caught up!

Image courtesy of Flickr CC by Andrea Westmoreland

Cindy Gilbert / Director

Cindy Gilbert is the founding director of MCAD’s Sustainable Design program which is home to the fully online, multidisciplinary MA in Sustainable Design (MASD) that is the first of its kind in the world. In this role, she fosters a culture of awareness and creativity through sustainable, innovative and collaborative design. The MASD program blends theory, practice and leadership into a holistic, hands-on learning experience that culminates in student-driven thesis work that brings novel, sustainability-focused products and services to fruition.

Cindy has taught numerous courses and workshops, around the world and online, in the fields of biology, sustainability and biomimicry. She is founder of Alula Consulting which specializes in innovative online and sustainability education projects for educational institutions, non-profits, and corporations. Most recently, she served for nearly four years as the founding director of university education at the Biomimicry Institute where she developed and managed all higher education programs, including the professional certification program, annual education summits, affiliate and fellows programs, and design challenges. Cindy is based in Montana.