We leave Black Friday behind and with it, pure consumerism. They create necessities and we believe them. And what’s worse, they are necessities that don’t fulfill our souls. They are just random objects that end up being thrown away or replaced by the new model. Now they are telling us to accumulate experiences, not things, because it will make us happier, but we have to be careful because accumulating experiences also has its consumerist and negative side, especially when we talk about traveling.
One good example are souvenirs. How many magnets from different countries do you have in your refrigerator? Perhaps more than half are from places you’ve never been to yourself. Do you know the history behind them? The majority of them come from a different country than the one you’re visiting, under unknown and probably bad working conditions. When my friends and family travel, I always tell them:
“Don’t bring me any souvenirs. Spend that money on activities that connect you to your destination and make sure the money stays there. When you come back, I’ll be happy to hear your stories about it. And if you still feel like you need something to remember your trip, buy something that ethically produced and with a good story behind it.”
How do you know what type of product to buy? Here are some questions you can ask yourself to know:
Do I really need it, ot do I just want it?
Did someone suffer so I could have this?
How does this product affect the environment?
Perhaps you think this is a lot of work, but it’s all just about getting informed. If someone asked me for advice about doing a responsible activity here in Barcelona, related with conscious and ethical consumption, I would suggest FLOR – Ethical Tour. The name already tells you everything you need to know:
Fairtrade – Local – 0waste – Responsible
Ivana Oven designs these trips and accompanies the travelers through businesses located in the neighborhood Gracia, all of which are run by social entrepreneurs. I can confirm that she’s a true expert in ethical consumption, and it’s such a pleasure to listen to her talks. During this tour, you will try locally sourced coffee and chocolate; you will see cleaning and cosmetic products that are zero waste; and you will also get the chance to make your own washing soap and nutritional bars, all without forgetting the lecture about sustainable fashion.
It’s the perfect opportunity to start being more conscious about our consumption in a nice and relaxed manner, but also, if you’re traveling to Barcelona, you get to take souvenirs that are ethical and responsible, so when you eat them, use them, or gift them, you will remember the story of your travel and you will know that what you bought has a minimum impact on society and the environment.