The concept of sharing is as old as human civilization.
Gregory Hodkinson Chairman, Arup Group
By embracing sharing initiatives such as car sharing, AirBnB and tool libraries, we consume less, saving precious resources and simplifying our lives: win win! And there’s more good news. Sharing can help us transition towards a local economy where we support community businesses financially, and free ourselves of the habit of needing to own everything.
Less stuff=less stress for us, and for the planet.
It’s a fact that many items we own are hardly used. For example, in the US, a car is only used for 29 min per day on average. In the UK 80% of the items people own are used less than once per month, and 30% of clothes are never worn.
The sharing economy is effective because it discourages over-consumption and promotes social responsibility. Individuals can still have access to everything they need in life, but in an affordable and sustainable way. The good news is that the sharing economy is already here: 55% of Swiss consumers already participate in some form of it, and more than USD12 billion has already been invested worldwide, so it’s never been easier to cut down on your personal consumption.
Read more here Sharing Economy in der Schweiz (Deloitte, 2015)
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A local economy is one which directly benefits the local population. A farmers’ market is a great example of this. Keeping the money “in town” leads to a huge positive economic impact: more money stays in the community, and more individuals within the community benefit more often from the same money.
For example a person buys at a farmers market, the farmers rents a tool in a local shop, the owner of that tool goes to a local restaurant, the restaurant owner buys at the farmers market. The profits recirculate between community members and everyone benefits.
Some cities have even created local currencies, which can be exchanged for goods and services in a particular city or area. This not only stimulates local spending, it also creates a greater sense of community between businesses and individuals. Examples:
- Netzbon, Basel
- L’abeille, La Chaux-de-Fonds
- WIR, Zürich / Swiss-wide
The Carte Abeille for example can be used in over 30 shops and restaurants.
At the core of our cities
Tool libraries, swap-shops and clothing libraries. They are the future, if we want to encourage you and everyone out there to share and swap more.
And indeed, more and more are popping up! Unfortunately it’s not easy for them to reach the masses. Slowly but steadily however these concepts are conquering the world. Support them!
The same of course goes for clothes swaps, and neighborhood swap boxes. These are things you can easily organise by yourself with a small group of friends / neighbors! Try it.