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Use again idea against consumption

marina green shopInterview with Marina Vicente from 2nd Year at DNS who are the Creator of a new initiative in Tvind School Center: The Green Shop.

What is the idea behind the Green Shop?
My main idea behind the Green Shop is to provide a place in Tvind, where people can get ideas and share ideas. It is also a place where people can avoid the word “money” since many products in the shop are not for sale, but for exchange. The coin used in the Green Shop is “Common Sense” and that means that the people can take our products and bring us their products, creating a nice, fair and ecological trade.

How did you get the idea?
Me and my team (DNS 2011) got employed in Tvind during our three months saving-up period. The purpose of our job was to bring new ideas and new activities to our students; to create a lively and active environment. One day, the main responsible for our jobs (our employer) asked me, during a conversation of maximum five minutes, what I thought about the idea of a shop in Tvind, where we could sell old clothes and refreshed furniture? I said “yes” without hesitation and a few days later I put all my ideas on a paper. After that, I gave to her the plan of my project with a copy to one of the Tvind headmasters and to my teacher. The project was approved and I started.
I can say that the project was inspired by my travels and by my critic vision about our contemporary society. I visited many squatter´s houses, in different countries, and other alternative places where culture, education, free thinking and solidarity prevail. I think the Green Shop is a humble summary of all of these places.

Did you have any difficulties while establishing The Green Shop?
I had difficulties, yes. The Green Shop's room was a bit damaged because nobody was using it for a long period: the electricity was not working (which means no light and no heating system), the ceiling was in a very bad condition, the window frames were degraded and so on. However, I think the worse difficulty was the cold: Every morning, I had to walk to pick up wood to light up the fire in the oven. Even so, the room is big and only around lunch time, it was warm enough. All the other difficulties were solved more easily than the cold, I dare to say. I also had help from many different people: sometimes people passed by the Green Shop to give me a cup of coffee, a sandwich or cookies, to sit down and just talk for a while. 
Our students brought to me all the heavy furniture. The Promotion Office sponsored my tea breaks and lent me the hover, many times.

I don’t need to say “Thank you” for all the people that helped me overcoming the difficulties because I said to them “Thank you” every day. They were extremely important! In fact, the small attitudes were, many times, the more meaningful ones.

What can you do and what can you find in the Green Shop?
If I would arrive to a place like the Green Shop I would turn on the music, probably some Jazz, sit down near to the fireplace, enjoy a fair-trade coffee, read one of our books or take my time to get involved in a good conversation. However, I believe that it is possible to find more original people and for these ones, the Green Shop provides many other options. The Green Shop is divided in sections: The Café, where it is possible to drink a fair trade coffee or tea and try our biological and home-made cookies and jams; The Library, where it is possible to sit down and enjoy a book and also use (and abuse) of the modern concept of “Book Crossing”, which means that the people can bring a book and change with one of ours; The Clothes and in the Accessories section (all 
second hand), it is possible to change stuff but also buy it; The Random Section, where it is possible to find all kinds of different house decorations, handicraft, electronic materials and so on (also to exchange and to buy); And my favorite, The Awareness Table. The Awareness Table is a table covered by social, educational, environmental, political pictures, texts and quotes. I highly recommend to take time to look at it or sit down with a group of people and have interesting debates. It is a table for free thinking and free conversations. Of course, in the end of this visit, it would be nice to write something in our Guest Book: an old typing machine; thoughts, advices, critics, suggestions, compliments... all the words are welcome!

Why „Green“?
Green, just by its own, gives a feeling of Nature, natural, biological, balance, renovation, life and that was the purpose of the name: to pass on all of these! But, in fact, even if the name mentions the color green, the main color of the shop is red. And that is because a bit of irony gives more personality to the place, doesn’t it?

What is the main reason to have this kind of shop?
Well, I have more difficulties to understand the reasons to have a global trade, based on exploitation, mass production and pollution. We all know that we are living in a consumption society. Big corporations sit on all the production and the variety of goods they offer. When we go to a mall or a big supermarket, we are participating in this system, unconsciously. If we decided to support small shops, environmental friendly and with original products, we would for sure contribute to a more equal global society and a better world. The fact is that it is possible to change your habits. Instead of buying new things, you can show that the money doesn’t have importance, and you can give or exchange things. Which is something quite nice to think about, right?

How do you imagine the Green Shop in the future? 
The Green Shop is an interesting place only when there are people inside. Without people, there's nothing special there! So that would be my wish for that place: to be open for everybody.
I will be living in England, during the next six months, as part of the DNS second year program so I don’t know exactly what will happen with the Green Shop. Maybe someone from DNS2010 or DNS2013 will take care of it... In my opinion, the Green Shop has to be a free, lively and original place, that is how I imagine it.