Volume 95, Issue 46

Thursday, November 22, 2001
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Council gives Lawless an earful

Stop consuming you capitalist pig

Much maligned SSSC changes constitution

Anthrax strikes again

USC considers charity

Yes! London might get old-timer hockey

Stressed out TAs now online

News Briefs

Stop consuming you capitalist pig

By Erin Conway-Smith
Gazette Staff

Hold off buying that new Gap vest – a student club on campus is challenging Western students to keep their wallets in their pockets for one day.

On Nov. 22 and 23, Oxfam UWO will celebrate Buy Nothing Day in the University Community Centre atrium as part of an international effort to raise awareness about consumer habits.

"We are over-consuming while some people can't even meet basic needs," said Mike Gretes, Oxfam UWO president, an anti-poverty organization.

The intent behind Buy Nothing Day is not to hurt the economy, but rather to raise questions about our consumer habits, Gretes said.

The event will include information about alternatives to consumerism, free "fair trade" coffee and a "free store," where people can bring in old belongings and find something new.

"The idea is to take a break from consumerism and examine reasons why we see shopping as a pastime. Are these habits taking resources away from people who can't meet basic needs?," he said.

Gretes said Oxfam UWO will not be using confrontational tactics to get across their message.

"We will try to provide a safe space from consumerism because the UCC is kind of like a mall," he said. "As long as we stay within our space, we are free to say whatever we want."

"Clubs have the right to book that space and unless they are doing something extremely offensive or explosive, they have the right to present their views," said Sera Vavala, University Students' Council VP-campus issues.

The North American public has been advised to go shopping to help the economy, which has taken a downturn following the attacks of Sept. 11.

While it is good advice for people to go on with their daily business as best they can, it is not good if consumers are made to feel guilty to go shopping because there is a recession, said Ron Wirick, a business professor at the Richard Ivey School of Business.

"We over-consume, yes – the problem is [North Americans] don't provide enough aid, given our wealth," Wirick said. "I think a better approach would be to ask people to make a donation to organizations like Oxfam."

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Copyright The Gazette 2001