Share and Share Alike- the key to sustainable communities

With rampant consumerism all around and the effect of the recession set to impact on our lives (and wallets) for 5 more years, it seems certain that the next big thing for us all is to get back to the good old-fashioned world of sharing. Whether it’s sharing resources, such as tools or equipment, skills, knowledge or even a lift – sharing makes sense in so many ways. We can pool resources, reduce the amount of stuff we have to buy, meet new people and generally consume less whilst doing more. And it’s happening in all sorts of ways all over the world. There are some incredible new connections being made with the rebirth of this movement.

 

 

Yes, there are barriers to overcome but if we can get over them, then we could be in with a chance of creating a more sustainable, active, and dare I say it, happier community.

 

It was national sharing day recently and I took part in a fantastic event organised by The People Who Share, who have just launched their website. Their aim is to build a movement based on a sharing economy and bring sharing into the mainstream. Like me, they feel that the world would be a better place and so many of its problems solved if we just shared a little more. Whatever it is you want to share, they hope to provide the market place for it to happen. And hopefully you can see for yourself how affordable, easy and fun it is to share.

 

 

Ecomodo is a similar online scheme set up to create a sharing marketplace. You can share anything from goods, skills and spaces with likeminded people and hopefully everyone can benefit together from the collective resources. Ecomodo aims to help save you money and give you the opportunity to do a good turn. And they also have an emphasis on being green too, allowing people to reduce their impact on the environment by sharing resources.

 

 

Neighbourgoods is another online community where you can share your stuff with your neighbours. Need a ladder? Then don’t pay for one, just find a neighbour who has one. And if you have something useful gathering dust in your closet, lend it out and make a new friend. This is a great way of saving loads of money and preventing you from accumulating too much stuff.

 

 

 

But what if one person shares a little more than others, wont they feel as if they’re giving too much? Well thats where Shmoney comes into play and is there to match peoples needs with other’s skill whilst keeping an account of just how much youve helped. It matches people who want things done for them with people who can help them.

All of these schemes are truly great ideas and will hopefully have a really big impact in the coming years- but they will need to overcome the one big issue of gaining critical mass – (ie it only works if we all do it) so why don’t you sign up today and help them get there. do it now!

The Tidy Street Project, in my hometown of Brighton, was a really brilliant little event that involved residents of one street getting together to do something about energy usage. Each resident was given an electricty monitor and the project aimed to publicly display the street’s energy use by creating a large visual display on the road surface using chalk paint. These were regularly updated so that people could see how an average street used energy. with a little good advice and communication after just three weeks, the average usage on the street had gone down by 15%. It’s incredible how much difference just being more aware of your power usage can make. Which is why the project was such a good idea.

 

 

The Tidy Street Project fits in nicely with the wider 10:10 project that is being run across Brighton & Hove and indeed the UK. The aim is to get people working together to reduce their carbon emissions by 10% in a year. The basic idea is that acting together saves more. By working together as groups, particularly as whole streets like Tidy Street, we can retrofit our houses with greater insulation and other energy efficient features. Residents can significantly reduce upfront costs by buying in bulk, and also help to lower usage and bills throughout the whole street.

 

 

A similar community energy scheme called Energyshare is also making waves. It is encouraging communities to work together to source, use and, when they are ready, even generate their own renewable energy. It hopes to turn the current energy system on its head and let us take the power back (literally and metaphorically). There are loads of energy saving tips and advice on how to get started. So, why not have a look for yourself?

 

 

But it’s not just energy that we can share. Another of the biggest ways we can share and cut down on resources is in the car. How often do you sit in a traffic jam and look around at all the cars with just one person sitting in them? If people just shared their cars there would be far fewer on the road. Which would mean less traffic and much less wasted fuel. Which is exactly the idea behind Liftshare. It’s an online car sharing website that helps you to find people to share journeys with. Whether it’s a regular commute or a one off. Their clients already include the BBC and Tesco, so it’s only going to get bigger. But you too can also take part…..

 

 

 

 

And if you can share your car, then why not your home? Love Home Swap helps you to find properties in 80+ countries that you can use for amazing holidays. The idea being that while you are away, someone else is using your otherwise vacant house. It’s a great way to save money and stay in some really beautiful houses around the world. And you’ll never have to pay a hotel bill again.

 

 

 

Share and share alike, they said. So I have. Without a doubt, sharing is the way forward, helping to save us money, resources and reducing our impact on the planet. So get out there join the critical mass and start sharing. You can start by sharing and retweeting this blog if you like……..

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