It’s that time of year again: First we get Thanksgiving, a holiday that centers gratitude. Then the following day, Black Friday kicks off a weekend of voracious consumerism that lines the pocketbooks of the already ultra rich, tasks minimum wage workers with hazardous crowd control, and creates more landfill waste and carbon emissions than any other weekend on the calendar… Yikes!
It’s a tradition we not only reject, but one we annually subvert. Instead of promoting Black Friday deals to rake in orders, we will be donating 100% of our profits from Friday and Saturday to help fight climate change and fund wildlife restoration.
Why We Don’t Do Black Friday
Black Friday has evolved from a convenient day for retailers to sell through merchandise at a discount into a full-blown festival of capitalism and consumerism. Advertisers contrive urgency to drive up sales and promote mindless overspending, insisting that Black Friday savings are not to be missed, but the truth is the discounts just don’t make up for the impact on our bank accounts and the environment.
A report from the School of Civil Engineering at the University of Leeds in 2021 reported that Black Friday is expected to create over 400,000 tonnes of carbon emissions - the equivalent of 435 round trip flights between London and New York. By staying home and taking advantage of online sales we may save on carbon emissions from driving (and avoid the actual physical danger of Black Friday crowds) but then we must take shipping emissions and packaging waste into account.
And it’s not just the single-use plastic waste that ends up in landfills; it’s also the vast majority of returned, unwanted items that get chucked in dumpsters instead of re-stocked. The sheer amount of stuff that is manufactured and disposed of for this one weekend is mind-boggling and environmentally devastating.
Also devastating? The way small businesses cannot compete with the reduced prices and relentless marketing that major conglomerates can afford. The way ethical and eco-friendly businesses get snuffed out by huge corporations with greedy CEOs, one by one, until we’re left with no other options.
We say skip the hysterical crowds, the parking nightmare, and the endless lines, step back, and be intentional about how you want to spend your money.
What is Green Friday?
In response to Black Friday's consumer madness and negative environmental impact, Canadians celebrated the first Buy Nothing Day in 1992, encouraging people to refrain from shopping as a protest against consumerism. Or, if one must shop, to only support small or local businesses, artists, or companies that prioritize sustainability. This was the inspiration for Green Friday.
On Green Friday, participating retailers may choose to donate some or all of their profits to environmental organizations to help combat the effects of Black Friday. But that doesn't mean you have to spend any money!
Like Patagonia says of their annual Black Friday boycott - “It would be hypocritical for us to work for environmental change without encouraging customers to think before they buy.”
Who Are We Donating To?
For decades, Conservation Northwest has been working collaboratively to fight climate change and restore and protect wilderness and wildlife from the Washington Coast to the British Columbia Rockies. In recent years, their organization has been instrumental in the recovery of numerous threatened species (like wolves, lynx, and fishers), the installation of wildlife crossings along I-90 that reunite the ecosystems of the North and South Cascades, and the preservation of hundreds of thousands of acres of wildlands.
We love that Conservation Northwest is explicitly committed to anti-racism, to respecting the sovereignty of Indigenous nations, and to supporting the work of underrepresented groups. Of inclusivity, their website states, “We recognize that conservation must go hand-in-hand with healthy communities, and that a resilient ecosystem is only possible when people of all identities are included.”
Find out how you can support their incredible work by visiting their website!
Another trusted, local nonprofit that’s been fighting the good fight since the 1980s, REsources is a powerful force made up of environmental advocates, educators and scientists working to fight climate change and protect the environment and communities of the central Salish Sea region. They are The Great Mobilizer, empowering youth voices and fueling grassroots action with hands-on science and anti-racist environmental education.
REsources is out there arming communities with the education and tools they need to disrupt environmentally destructive and socially unjust systems, advocate for sound environmental policy, push for climate action, and fight against fossil fuel projects.
REsources hopes to “accelerate a just transition to renewable energy, slash pollution and waste, and build up climate-resilient communities who can work together and care for one another despite differences”
You can learn more about REsources and support their work by visiting their website!
You Make Black Friday Green
This Green Friday, remember that we are people, not just "consumers". We do not exist to consume.
We share this planet and its resources. We are its stewards. Our choices make an impact, and together, we can make change.