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article imageOp-Ed: ‘Buy Nothing’ – A free, giving global option in tough times

By Paul Wallis     Sep 16, 2020 in World
Sydney - Buy Nothing, started in 2013, is a case in point. These community groups are local, highly supportive, and useful in so many ways. Whether it’s goods or services, it’s free. It’s also obviously fun, given the commentaries in Facebook groups.
Buy Nothing is a highly focused localized approach to supplying things people need. Awareness of Buy Nothing, which is a global range of local groups, is patchy at best. News is fragmentary, although some do try to promote Buy Nothing as best they can. (Search Google News and you’ll see a fascinating range of items from all over the world about Buy Nothing.)
Buy Nothing is based on a level of community functionality which is almost unheard-of in modern history. It’s a very different, much more positive, view of the basic idea of communities, and it’s the antithesis of mainstream urban culture.
Urban culture is based largely on some pretty dated fiction, the hostile mean streets and other useless media exercises from the 50s. The endless negative social images make the idea of a working community so much harder to understand. Even the idea of a functional community would be considered impossible in this folklore of failure.
Yet, Buy Nothing obviously works, on any scale, from microscopic to much larger groups. Small groups get together to supply whatever they can. Larger groups add more reach and more opportunity for participation.
This used to be called civilized behaviour, and is highly unfashionable, another recommendation. In this environment, you can access things you need, or give away things you don’t want. It’s an excellent approach to waste, as well as the hardships of finding things when you need them.
I’m rather ashamed to say I’d never heard of Buy Nothing until now, or at least if I had, I’d barely registered it. That’s ironic, because Buy Nothing is very close to my idea of an excellent way of addressing human needs. I vaguely remember a reference to it some years ago, probably in The New York Times. It was easy to find online. They have a well laid out website and, by the way, a media page for reference, and plenty of info about how they work.
Practical options for tough times
Buy Nothing is at least in one sense very like a tribal thing. In old tribal cultures, people weren’t wasted, and nor were resources. Everybody could do something or provide something. Nobody could afford to waste anything, so they didn’t. In pandemic times, it’s the good option for people doing it tough, or those trying to help people in tough times.
Whether you need something or are prepared to provide something, Buy Nothing is a good option. You can find a local group anywhere in the world, from Africa to Australia to the United States. It’s well worth a look.
Note: It’s very strongly recommended to take some time on this site to check out the Buy Nothing About page. Also check out the Rules page, which will be very reassuring for people who want to participate.
Buy Nothing Facebook groups
Most Buy Nothing groups use Facebook, the easy way to interact. Search Buy Nothing groups on Facebook and scroll around. This is the Buy Nothing Project Facebook page, a useful resource.
You can also buy the “Buy Nothing Get Everything Plan” book on this link. (Well, you can’t print a book for nothing.)
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
More about Buy Nothing, Buy Nothing Project, community groups free goods and services, Buy Nothing Facebook
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