• Lizzie Shutt

Green is the New Black this Friday

Black Friday—an annual event for American shoppers—paradoxically comes right after a day of giving thanks for all that we have in life, which can be tangible things, but I find most people reflect on the intangible aspects of their lives that bring them feelings of love, joy and peace. The widespread phenomena of getting special deals on Black Friday can pull almost any consumer in for FOMO (FEAR OF MISSING OUT) and make them feel they are missing out on saving so much money, while simultaneously sending the message buying more for less is better. In fact this commercialization of the season is hard to escape where growing up in the U.S. gift giving almost takes center stage for Christmas and Hanukkah. Instead as you enter this holiday season take some time to reflect:

  • what is most meaningful to you during the holidays?

  • what do you want to teach your children or grandchildren?

  • what impact will your way of celebrating have on your finances, on others, and the planet?

This was my Black Friday (or should I say Green Friday) last year!! Smoothie, sunshine and relaxation.

I remember in my younger years being excited to get all the deals at my favorite stores. It was an event that my sister and I would make plans during Thanksgiving (even though my mom was not a fan!) where we wanted to go shopping! I didn’t think much about what my actions supported—the fast fashion industry— which has major negative environmental impacts. Truth be told, I think we bought as much stuff for ourselves as we did for others, or even more! We drank the kool-aid of consumerism from TV, the internet, and social media.

Fortunately many consumers are realizing this is not a sustainable mindset, therefore are refusing to shop or promote this craze. Instead of participating in Black Friday, let’s partake in creating a Green Friday—a day to continue celebrating what we already have and what we can give to others without harming the planet!

Fast fashion consists of cheap, poor quality textiles, made quickly by big brands to mimic the latest fashion trends. Constant marketing to consumers makes them feel like they need to continually buy the latest trend. However, practicing mindfulness while holiday shopping will not only save you money, but also the planet. Fast fashion brands— like Forever 21 and Zara— produce products that utilize non-renewable resources at unsustainable rates, contribute microplastic pollution that damages aquatic ecosystems, and the most prominent fabric in clothing (cotton) requires intensive chemical agricultural inputs to grow. On top of all the environmental impacts are the social issues this industry has capitalized on by using outsourced underpaid factory workers. These impacts don’t come to mind when your at the mall or shopping online, so don’t blame yourself. Take this article as a learning opportunity to become a conscious consumer and develop creativity around conscious gift giving this holiday season!

Green Friday can be celebrated in many ways whether you give back to the planet, create homemade holiday gifts, or connect with your community and have fun!

  • Plant something! Potted flowers and herbs can be given as a gift. You can even decorate the pot too.

  • Use your interest as a source of homemade gift inspiration!

  • Repurpose old clothes or donate them!

  • Host a clothing swap with friends!

  • Give a gift that gives: Donate to family members favorite charity as a holiday gift.

  • Check out what events are going on near you: planting trees, community yoga class, beach clean-up!

  • Shop brands who support Green Friday and maintain sustainable supply chains: Tentree, Patagonia, others!

  • Shop Local, Handmade items: Participate in Small Business Saturday

  • Simply stay home and give the gift of presence to someone who needs it, perhaps you!

Holidays should be a time to spend with those you love or doing activities that bring you joy! When shopping be mindful of what type of production pathway your purchases took to end up in your hands. Recently, I have been practicing “Does this bring me joy?” when shopping (mainly in the grocery store haha). If you hesitate it’s a no, likewise for gift giving. I believe people appreciate something you made or put thought into much greater than receiving an expensive new outfit.

Don’t be afraid to change it up this year! Be a leader that stands for what they believe. Green Friday for me will probably include taking our dogs to the beach, crafting, and enjoying a yummy plant-based meal as a family.

Share what your #GreenFriday Plans are on social media to spread the word and initiate a consciously consuming domino effect!

“Live Dirty, Eat Clean & Green”,

Lizzie Shutt

Tag me too! @livewliz

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