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Book of the Month

In the Limelight

Conscious Choices:

A Guide to Ethical Shopping in Palestine

By Dr. Muna Dajani and Lina Ismai’l

Published by the Heinrich Böll Foundation – Palestine and Jordan through its Environmental Justice Program

December 2020, 212 pages

Available electronically at https://ps.boell.org/en/conscious-choices-guide-ethical-shopping-palestine. Hard copies are available free of charge in both English and Arabic at the Heinrich Böll Foundation’s office in Ramallah.

Do you want to shop ethically in Palestine? Are you searching for authentic traditional handicrafts? Do you want to buy organic food and sustainably produced goods? If so, take a look at the second edition of the Conscious Choices Guidebook as it will help you find what you are searching for. It is a unique publication that includes information about and contact details for over 130 Palestinian local producers, shops, and community initiatives, many of which are led by young and motivated activists, artists, entrepreneurs, and fresh graduates. Through producer profiles, opinion pieces, and beautiful illustrations, the guide introduces the concept of ethical shopping in Palestine and serves as an attempt to document a grassroots movement of change taking place across generations and forums to reclaim Palestinian cultural heritage, encourage environmental and sustainable practices, and empower authentic models for resilience and steadfastness.

For many decades now, Palestine has been undergoing systematic and institutionalized human rights abuses, belligerent military occupation, and crippling foreign conditional aid. With a struggling economy completely tied to the occupation, and decision-makers’ lack of vision on how to empower local economies, many of the local handicrafts, baladi (local and seasonal) products, and traditional artworks have lost their place on market shelves. Today, conscious buyers rarely find what they are looking for in average stores. They have to rely on word of mouth, personal knowledge of producers, or cultural festivals to get their hands on authentic and high-quality Palestinian products.

This guidebook aims to help consumers find the products they are looking for and at the same time strengthen the existing networks. It provides readers with insights into the Palestinian economy and traditional production methods.

The authors, Muna Dajani and Lina Isma’il, are two experienced Palestinian environmental activists who have already written the first edition of the Conscious Choices Guidebook that was first published in 2014. In the second edition, they have expanded the scope of the book to include many new producers, initiatives, networks, and additional shops and producers.

This guidebook elaborates on individuals’ purchasing power. It explains how if we start shopping more ethically and encourage our family and friends to do the same, this will have a ripple effect. It can support the farmers to continue to grow their food in a clean and sustainable manner, and the craftspeople to invest in maintaining the high quality of their products. The local economy will be strengthened and can become a “solidarity economy,” i.e., a form of interaction that aims to eliminate social and economic injustices and works for the benefit of people rather than corporations. In the case of Palestine, ethical shopping will help build a “resistance economy” where Palestinians will be able to achieve a strong localized economy, food sovereignty, and resource independence.

So, why shop ethically in Palestine? To support local producers, encourage environmental and sustainable practices, preserve traditional knowledge, revive and strengthen community fabric and cultural heritage, and support the Palestinians’ resilience under occupation. We encourage you to grab a copy of this guidebook from the Heinrich Böll Foundation in Ramallah and enjoy using it while shopping in Palestine.

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