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Summary of the Talk "Connections: Cooperation has no Scale"

On March 21, 2024, we continue our series of talks " Cooperate: The World is Going to End" . with the second session titled "Connections: Cooperation has no Scale" . In this virtual meeting, we explore how collaboration between communities, neighbors and natural beings can drive significant changes in the fight for sustainability and common well-being.

Through experiences between neighbors, communities and projects of different natures, we will understand how collaboration manifests itself in the very roots of our communities, from local cooperatives to success stories that demonstrate how synergy can transcend pre-established limits. The guests for this talk were leaders in local cooperative projects, representing two very different but equally inspiring initiatives.

What do a store that sells empathy brought directly from the Caribbean and the Colombian Pacific and a boat that travels the coast of Bizkaia fishing for loves to tie them to the sea have in common?

On the one hand, we have the presence of Izaskun from Mater Museoa , whose project focuses on the conservation and protection of the marine environment. Mater is an old Basque wooden bonitera converted into an eco-active museum ship, based in Pasaia (Guipúzcoa), whose mission is to bring together and involve society in the care and protection of the marine environment. Izaskun is part of the ITSAS GELA – AULA DEL MAR association, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting respect, protection and enjoyment of the sea through innovation in marine environmental education.

On the other hand, we had Claudia García, representative of La Tienda de la Empathy , an e-commerce platform that works as a commercial showcase for community ventures in Colombia. The Empathy Store works to reduce two of the most important obstacles to the development of small producers in Colombia: the intermediation chain and the difficulty of accessing markets. With a portfolio of more than 400 products from 53 organizations distributed in various regions of Colombia, this platform has proven to be a direct marketing channel that has promoted the economic and social growth of the communities involved.

Without limits and against the current

The initiatives that we learned about at this meeting were conceived as small-scale local cooperation projects, where the lack of support from larger entities was evident and posed a challenge in terms of financing and collaboration.

However, the commitment and perseverance of the team allowed the projects to continue their development. Over time, the positive impact of these projects began to be recognized and the community in which they operated began to experience the benefits of these initiatives, generating growing interest around their activities and results. Thus, what began as a local cooperation project managed to gain momentum and visibility, exemplifying how small-scale cooperation can grow and expand, generating an increasingly positive impact on communities.

Thus, what began as a local cooperation project managed to gain momentum and visibility, exemplifying how small-scale cooperation can grow and expand.

The impact of cooperation

One of the highlights of the discussion was the profound impact these projects have had at the community and local level. In the case of The Empathy Store, the platform has acted as a catalyst for the economic and social growth of rural communities in Colombia through the elimination of intermediaries and facilitation of access to higher value markets, allowing small producers a notable increase in their income, which has generated a transformative effect on the local economy. This increase in financial stability has not only improved the quality of life of producers and their families, but has also strengthened the social and economic fabric of the communities in which they operate.

On the other hand, Mater Museoa has played a fundamental role in promoting respect and protection of the marine environment in the Basque Country. Through its innovative educational approach and awareness-raising activities, the eco-active museum ship has managed to engage the local community in ocean conservation and marine biodiversity. This environmental awareness has led to a change in attitude towards the sea, promoting more sustainable practices and a greater commitment to the protection of marine ecosystems.

Cooperation in these projects transcends human relationships to involve other living beings, such as animals and plants, since in both projects, the connection with nature and the promotion of sustainable practices are fundamental aspects. From promoting organic agriculture and protecting marine species to restoring natural habitats, these projects are rooted in a deep respect and appreciation for the natural world. This holistic perspective on cooperation recognizes the interdependence between all living beings and highlights the importance of caring for and preserving our environment for future generations.

Link to the talk:

See you in the next talk!

Juliana, Paola & Maria

This talk was organized by Boycott Plastic and Way To Zero Waste.

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