Oh it’s that time of year. Inboxes and social feeds flooded with marketing messages about the all the things you need to buy to make your life better. You’re uncovering needs that you didn’t know you had. Every nerve in your body is urging you to “Add to Cart”.
It’s a very human experience. In fact, scientists have proven that shopping induces the feel-good chemical dopamine. It’s hits you as you make that purchase (a double shot if you’re getting a bargain) and then again when the delivery arrives. It’s why we go crazy for an unboxing experience.
But after your haul is unboxed, the good feels dissipate fast, real fast. And then you’re on the hunt for the next hit. Cue Black Friday: dopamine on tap.
So if dopamine is good for us, what’s the problem? Aside from the debt that many people find themselves in to accumulate things that they don’t need, our addiction to consuming is unsustainable. If every person consumed like we do in Australia, we’d need 4 planets. In the USA, it’s 5 planets. We can do better.
What is Green Friday?
Green Friday is the answer. It is a Black Friday counter-movement that encourages conscious consumption – if you choose to buy, you choose to buy from sustainable and ethical brands.
Here’s a few tips to tackle Green Friday like a boss:
Plan ahead. A list will help you to shop mindfully and avoid the unnecessary impulse purchases. Remember, the most eco-friendly products are the ones that you already own. Think about what you actually need; what can’t be fixed, borrowed or purchased second hand?
Choose your brands. Do your research on who you are purchasing from. Are they genuinely kind to the planet and its people? Beware: green-washing. What do they do with their profits? Shop with small businesses where you can.
Buy consciously. If you’re shopping for gifts, consider services and experiences. They are often the most memorable gifts and bonus, you can support tourism and hospitality businesses that have done it tough this year.
If having something under the Christmas tree is important to you, consider practical gifts like socks and underwear (hello!), gourmet food or products that help us to be kind to the planet e.g. reusables.
There are three questions you can ask yourself before every purchase – Will it be used? Will it be loved? Will it last?
And guess what? That smug feeling you get when you do good for the planet, that’s dopamine too.