Collaborative Consumption and The Sharing Economy
Perhaps you remember when you were a child and you were asked to share your toy. You so badly wanted to scream “mine, mine, mine,” but some responsible adult around would tell you,
“Sharing is caring.”
Sharing used to be difficult growing up, but it is something all kids learn to accomplish. And now that you’ve broken your bad manners, you can appreciate the positive aspects of sharing.
June 1 is Global Sharing Day – the world’s largest people-driven campaign for raising awareness about sharing and its positive economic and environmental impact. A full 24-hour day dedicated to enabling and growing a Sharing Economy.
A New Economic System
A Sharing Economy is an emerging movement and sustainable economic system where people are suppliers, creators and distributors of goods and services. Taking part promotes the idea that collaborative consumption is more fulfilling than owning because it puts people at the heart of the economic system. By creating and operating in synergy with resources, the Sharing Economy is inherently sustainable. Turning consumers into providers connects people to their communities and is a vital tool in building environmentally-conscious actions.
Pioneered by the People Who Share the Global Sharing Day campaign has reached over 193 countries, with neighbourhood sharing being the new theme of 2014. Building community ties with people right next door is a great way to enter the Sharing Economy and reduce social isolation, while giving the leaf blower that’s been building dusts in your storage some use.
Sharing in Australia
In congruence with Global Sharing Day is Australia’s first Flash Sharing event. TuShare is helping de-clutter closets by encouraging people to give away things they no longer need. TuShare’s aim is to make sharing easy by connecting people to their community and saving items from ending up in landfills.
Sharing is all about smart living – avoiding waste, over-consumption, and making use of underused assets in the world. Sustainable living encompasses sharing, reusing materials, and reducing consumer inertia. Sharing gives power to reciprocity. It can be fun, easy, and affordable. Share your resources, your talents, assets and chances are you will gain countless benefits, and I can bet your five-year-old self will be proud.
How to Begin
Now sure what you can share with the world? The options are endless.
Cars offer a great source for sharers to save. Splitting petrol costs, car pooling with work colleagues, or hooking up with people on the same journey are all ways sharing cars can save money and help the environment. There are also official car-sharing companies and over 500 reserved parking spaces for car share vehicles in the City of Sydney alone, with the practice spreading far outside main cities. Look at GoGet or GreenShareCar to explore further. Carpool One and the developing UberPool (still in beta) are online tools that hook up carpoolers who have a spare seat or want to get from A to B the environmentally friendly way.
Food sharing is another growing area of the Sharing Economy, and the main focus of last year’s campaign. You can do this within your own networks with food swaps, ‘potluck,’ and shared community gardens which keep food production local and connect people to the growing and production cycle. The Australian City Farms and Community Gardens Network is the place to start looking for locally run gardens near you, and it’s also handy to contact your local council. Or join a food cooperative near you or get your friends together and take it in turns to do a weekly bulk buy at your farmers’ market.
Home swap could be just what you needed to get across the country and around the World. Love Home Swap is ideal for staying in real homes without the expensive costs of hotel rooms.
Simply sharing tips and local guides can lead you to a quality vacation.
Clothes swaps are popping up around the community as a way to save your unloved garments from going to waste while kitting out your wardrobe with something new (to you!). Keep your eye open for events in your area, or the internet, as always, provides a convenient online tool in the form of the Clothing Exchange, which also runs physical events.
These are just a start into the wonderful world of the Sharing Economy, and there are plenty of easy ways to include some sharing in your everyday life – meeting up with friends and family to share a meal, stories, and laughter, or sharing your talents such as music, yoga, or fashion skills! However you choose to spread and share your knowledge, passions, and perspectives it is important that you remember that sharing isn’t just caring it is also fun.
Sharing more of everything in our lives is a grassroots counteraction to economic pressures of our time and create a healthier and more sustainable lifestyle.