Worth knowing for conscious travelers – About Collaborative Consumption and the Common Good
So, how do we want to live? Which economy do we want to support as conscious travelers?
Last saturday I visited the Share&Fest for Vagamunda which took place in Nou Barris, a moderate and popular neighbourhood on the outskirts of Barcelona. This open event for one day was part of the 4-day Ouishare Fest BCN, the first festival in Spanish dedicated to the Collaborative Economy. It was organised to get in touch, to network and to find out about collaborative platforms and start-ups. That day the focus was put on how the Collaborative Economy can also be social and solidary at the same time. For this purpose initiatives and neighbours of the area were invited as well for an open exchange. As a new born online platform with the objective to support the common good we didn’t want to miss this.
I am currently developing the platform Vagamunda for an easier connection of likeminded and conscious people – travelers and hosts – in a CoWorking Space in Barcelona. Being surrounded every day by people realizing exciting projects and working on creative start-ups is defenitely inspiring and creates a very positive, energy-filled atmosphere. Without a doubt it is very enriching to share a space to work, to get out of the house and keep flexible.
Of course, different types of economies are strictly defined. It is quite easy though to get confused between terms like Social, Solidary, Cooperative, etc. Economy; and lately everybody in the startup-scene talks about Collaborative Economy*. Sounds very “social” as well, right? Certainly the idea of sharing available resources can lead to a more sustainable way of consuming. Nonetheless one can already get the impression that the new economic power that start-ups like e.g. Airbnb have achieved, has more liberal tendencies than an interest in social transformation and solidarity. According to a study that has been made by the Organisation of Consumers and Users (OCU) only 10% of the new collaborative platforms have a focus on social transformation. (from: El Salmón Contracorriente)
(* For those who are interested in more detailed information about the exact economic terms for the different types of new collaborative platforms, this overview can help.)
Collaborative Consumption and tourism – What conscious travelers should have in mind
As we already mentioned in our last Newsletter, the questionable tendencies of new collaborative online platforms, embedded in a capitalist system, seem to aggravate living conditions for people who have less access to resources to share and this way have an income. To stick with the example of sharing residential property, especially in touristic areas it has become very difficult for locals to rent a flat to live as entire appartments get rented out to tourists. Obviously the new Collaborative Economy has brought up more urgently than before the question of its regulation. For this purpose, representatives of the Economy for the Common Good suggested on the Share&Fest to apply regulations for the Collaborative Economy that have been elaborated to fulfill a common good balance.
In this context, as conscious travelers we are free up to a certain point to think about the way we want to consume. We can decide when and how we want to share resources to have a smaller carbon footprint and, in lots of cases, spend less or no money. While traveling this is especially interesting in terms of how we move from A to B. In this context we would like to introduce trustroots.org to you as we love their idea and mission. Check them out!
But also in other areas of everyday life we can – reuse what has been used before, reduce the amount of stuff we buy and recycle what can be used again in a different way.
When we visit new places on a journey or holiday we can decide to make use of what is offered locally, meeting interesting people, finding out about their projects and offers and support the local community.