Join the Sharing Society

“The sharing society offers us a path into a healthier, more sustainable economy, along with new opportunities for creative collaboration and business ideas.” Read on to learn how borrowing can be better than buying.

by Debbie Van Der Hyde
May 28th, 2012, Sierra Club Green Home

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Do you remember your parents telling you to share your toys?

Today, there is a grown-up version of sharing taking root. It is an economy in which people borrow everything from camping gear to wedding decorations to kitchen appliances and tools from their friends and neighbors.

Some call the phenomenon the sharing society. Others call it collaborative consumption or the sharing economy. No matter what you call it, sharing has its roots in the reduce, reuse, and recycle movement. It is also a reflection of the economic times, as people are looking for ways to do more with less.

Depending on who you talk to, sharing society may be trending toward something even bigger. Author Lisa Gansky in her book The Mesh and accompanying manifesto sums it up as a fundamental realization: “Maybe the collection of more stuff, bigger houses for storing it, and more debt wasn’t the all there was to life.”

On her companion Mesh Web site, Gansky describes the mesh as “a world community and economy where access trumps ownership.” The site includes a directory of companies that are spurring the sharing economy—from Book Swim, a book rental library that ships to you in a model similar to Netflix, to 2Good2Toss, an online exchange for reusable building materials for do-it-yourself home projects.

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