It’s All About Sharing

sharing_is_not_piracyI went into my loft today to find a couple of odd cables that I needed for my new Raspberry Pi. Story of my life. Actually, what I came across was tons of junk that has been collected over the years that I just don’t care to really see anymore. Odd books. Old CDs that haven’t been digitised yet. Cables for computers. Even old VHS tapes. None of it is really sellable. I even have a garden shed full of tools and equipment that I use maybe a few times a year. If I’m not using them, then it means no one is and they sit all alone in a lonely place. Why can’t they just go to use whenever anyone needs something? It reminds me of this conversation:

Ned Flanders: Uh, huh-huh… Homer, ah… About those things you borrowed from me over the years, you know, the TV trays, the power sander, the downstairs bathtub… You gonna be… needing those things in Cypress Creek?
Homer: Yes.
Ned Flanders: Oh. Uh…
Homer: [coaches Flanders] Okily dokily…
Ned Flanders: Okily dokily!

It all may be funny, but do we really need to have these items hidden in a shed or loft somewhere? I can think of loads of things that I don’t use on a regular basis that I don’t mind people using them if they need to use it. Like my pitcher I use for my summer Pimms. I’m hardly going to be using it in winter. Although, someone might be having a summer themed party in the winter and needs it. The way I see it, the stuff I buy as a consumer just sits in my house until I sell it or trash it. I live in a small house and I really don’t have anymore space for more of my consuming habits. If we all just organised and devised a way to distribute items as needed, then we would’t have to feel the need to keep stuff. It would be pointless. Hoarding would just feel unnatural. One thing that comes to mind is a shopping basket. Do you have a shopping basket at home? Do you have a shopping cart or trolley at home? Why not? Colourful_shopping_cartsThe reason is because we all have access to one at the grocery store. How about bringing your own dishes into a restaurant when you eat? We all take these for granted and we don’t actually think about it.

The only way to avoid consuming so much junk is to make stuff accessible to everyone. I’m not saying to give everyone one of each thing. That would deplete our resources. No, what I’m merely suggesting is to have a goods distribution point. Kind of like a library. If you need to borrow a set of tools for the day, order a set from your Vacutube point or go down in person. You borrow them for how long you need them and return when you are finished. I’m not able to say how the technical workings of how such a system would work, but I know it would have to involve public collaboration. Goods would become more efficient and be the best of the best as to reduce waste. New products would also have to have upgrading in mind. None of this ‘Apple iPhone 5’ crap where the old chargers no longer work without new cables, or software no longer being backwards compatible. It just doesn’t make sense. My post about planned obsolescence covers this more in detail.

As of today, there are several sharing schemes available. Some may charge or be fully cooperative. I have provided a few of those sites below.

http://neighborgoods.net/ – Great for sharing everyday goods in your neighbourhood. imgres-4
http://www.landshare.net/ – Great for finding or lending land for those who want to grow their own crops. imgres-3
http://www.zipcar.co.uk/ – Access a car from anywhere whenever you need it. imgres
https://www.airbnb.co.uk/ – Find or rent out a room to stay wherever you want. Even offer an exchange for a week. imgres-2
http://www.freecycle.org/ – Another sharing website. imgres-1

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