One Simple Way to Use Facebook for Good
Facebook, the place where your great aunt wishes you happy birthday and might also be radicalized by QAnon, hosts some of the most impactful independent activist groups on the internet, too. What do they do? Buy Nothing.
The Buy Nothing Project is made up of autonomous, hyper-local Facebook groups centered around the notion that the most ethical kind of spending is no spending at all. The project—which has groups in every U.S. state and around the world, exclusively through Facebook—says its official mission is to set aside “the scarcity model of our cash economy in favor of creatively and collaboratively sharing the abundance around us.” It’s a lofty (and maybe for some, off-puttingly crunchy) way of saying that activism begins at home.
You can make political donations, sign petitions, and share memes critiquing capitalism online. But by using a Buy Nothing group, you actively subvert the power large corporations hold over your time and labor while protecting the environment from excess waste.
Or you can just claim a blender that someone in your community doesn’t have room for anymore. Or a pair of skies. A pineapple. A MacBook. A … box of feathers. These are all things I’ve actually seen listed (and claimed) on my local Buy Nothing Facebook group.
I’ve personally given away wine, moving materials, and baby swaddles. I got an email this week from the mom who used those swaddles saying that she passed them along to another mother that has passed them along to a third mom, which ... I’m not crying, I’ve just got some dust in my eye, OK?
My group inspired me to think about other ways I could practice ethical consumerism and give back in the community. Again—it’s pretty easy. A Community Fridge is a great place to start. These began popping up on street corners, behind bodegas, and near church entrances during the pandemic.
For large events, volunteers coordinate with local food banks to make sure they are well stocked with fresh produce, non-perishable food, and pantry staples. But anyone can contribute on their way home from the grocery store. And day to day, volunteers coordinate on Slack, What’s App, and Signal to keep everything prepared and organized.
You can find you local Buy Nothing Project group here.
For more about ethical consumerism, follow ethical fashion influencers like Kara Fabella, zero waste lifestyle advocate Bea Johnson, and writer and self-proclaimed “sustainability nerd,” Jasmine Malik Chua.