Are You Green Or Black ?
As part of our Slow Living On Gozo series, Zen D’Amato Gautam puts the focus on green when the world goes black.
We have all heard of Black Friday, the unofficial name for the day after Thanksgiving, and the busiest shopping day of the year. It is an important day for many businesses, particularly retailers, which inevitably make Black Friday one of the darkest days from an ecological viewpoint.
It is easy to understand how buying something new gives an instant feeling of gratification, but the concept of ‘getting a bargain’ makes most people buy carelessly and keep buying things that they don’t really need. This leads to excessive waste, abundant landfills, and unnecessary CO2 emissions, which as we all know, is not so good for our planet.
We are not saying that shopping is bad. Unmistakably, we would not be enjoying this quality of life wasn’t it for innovative products that made our life easier and more enjoyable to a certain degree. We are advocating for a better way of shopping; an amazing sustainable solution to Black Friday.
What is Green Friday?
In short, it is a counter-movement to Black Friday. Instead of supporting a reckless and thoughtless shopping spree, Green Friday encourages people to shop more mindfully and sustainably.
It is very simple to do really. All it takes is a moment of reflection. Ask yourself, first and foremost, if you really need it, and then ask questions like: what is it made of? How were those materials sourced? Who made it? Is this product tainted with slavery and exploitation?
This year, on 27th November, celebrate Green Friday instead of Black Friday. If you need to buy something, choose wisely, do not contribute to the negative side of shopping, but buy mindfully and buy from responsible and sustainable brands. And don’t forget to support local!
Watch What Tech You Buy
Let’s take smartphones for example. Did you know that smartphones are made up of around 30 elements? These include copper, gold, silver, lithium, cobalt, and other Earth’s natural elements which scientists have added to an ‘endangered list’ because they are becoming increasingly scarce due to limited supplies and lack of recycling. It is estimated that about 10 million smartphones are discarded or replaced every month in the EU alone.
Green Friday is not only advocating for more environmentally sound products but for social issues too. While extracting rare elements in China has an enormous environmental impact, cobalt mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo have been highlighted as a major human rights concern, linked to abuses, corruption, child labour, and safety protocols. It feels good to buy gifts for yourself and others, but it feels even better when nothing or nobody had to suffer in order for the product to come into existence in the first place.
Watch Where Your Products Come From
Let’s consider you need a new dining table. If I were to propose to you two options that look exactly the same and cost exactly the same, but Table A was manufactured by a company that simply destroys the forest without any care or after-thought, and Table B was manufactured by a company that plants a tree for every one they cut down. Which table would you choose? I think everyone would choose Table B, right? However, Green Friday goes beyond the purchase of products and provides an opportunity to new fantastic solutions.
How can we take action?
According to research, experiences result in longer-lasting happiness than material possessions. They provide memories and precious moments that will be remembered and cherished for a lifetime. Unlike most physical possessions, experiences come with no physical baggage and therefore result in no clutter. Experiential purchases are also more associated with identity, connection, and social behaviour. When our mind is wrapped around doing something fun and worthy, time flies – as we all know – and we learn to appreciate the present moment.
Whether you want to become more minimalistic, or want to find an original and meaningful gift, or simply want some more adventure in your life, choosing to buy an experience rather than a product, will be your great a-ha moment.
Words: Zen D’Amato Gautam. Edited: Gozo In The House
Discover a very well curated list of ‘experiences’ in Malta, such as educational classes, adventure trips, or health and wellness treats, that do not have a negative toll on the environment, but rather planned and executed in a sustainable and responsible way. Coral is a local online shopping marketplace featuring in products and services that are good for the people and good for the planet. Visit Coral now.