Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Maybe it's not about who has the most toys

How many of the things you own would you be willing to share with neighbours if they were also willing to share their like items with you?

That's the question I think we need to start asking ourselves as a society if we're going to preserve our resources for future generations. It's a radical new way of thinking, some might even label it socialism. I prefer to think of it as community sharing.

It's already started with cars. Car sharing services have popped up all over the world as a way of making cars available to people who might not be able to afford a car of their own and especially to deal with the reality that many of us who own cars are leaving them parked in one place or another for 90% of the day and night. Not all of these services are run by mega-corporations either. Neighbourhood co-ops make use of vehicles owned by regular people.

But why stop at cars? Let's consider other shareable items too. Do you own a circular saw? Have you ever needed one? Would you lend it to a neighbour if you could also get access to other types of tools that they and other people own and vice versa? Why should everyone who could use a circular saw have to buy one if they're only going to use it 10 minutes out of every year? (Neighbourgoods is a web portal for sharing stuff between neighbours) What kinds of things could a community share? Tools? Music? Movies? Networks? Spouses? I'm just kidding about the last one of course, but what about sharing skills? I'll fix your fascias if you fix the neighbour's sink. I'll pave your driveway if you help fix 5 neighbours' computers.

This kind of sharing not only reduces the costs of living in a community, it brings the community together and brings tremendous value to the items and skills we have to share.

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