Sharing is Caring (for the Environment)

If you like having options, or you’re just a money savy person, chances are you’ve booked an Uber or an Airbnb before.

You may not think of it this way, but these kinds of services are good for the environment. Maximising the utilisation of an asset means you’re reducing overheads per use; and reducing the need for another asset to be produced.

If you have a large family and only 2 computers, then something’s gotta give. Either we don’t have large families, someone goes without or we learn to share.

That’s kind of like the environment. We have finite resources, and most of us don’t want to deplete them to the point of barren landscapes and disrepair. If we can manage to do more with less, our population can grow whilst leading the same quality of life. It’s basic economics.

Image: my Airbnb in San Francisco

The first time I heard of Uber was back in 2014, when someone I was travelling with in Washington suggested we order one back to the hotel. Cabs were real expensive, but I distinctly remember scoffing at the idea of getting in some random guys car. “Bugger that!” I said, spoken like a true Aussie abroad.

And I suspect that’s how most people still feel about services like Kindershare.

Kindershare is a service allowing everyday people to borrow children’s equipment, like car seats and strollers from each other. This is really useful if you’re in a different city for a few days and don’t want to fork out big bucks for new stuff, that you’d likely have to get rid of.

So where’s the tipping point? When does it become “okay” to use other people’s cars, spare rooms or baby stuff?

Are we well within our sanity to expect others to test out the safety and convenience of these services, before we would commit to it ourselves? Or is it a matter of it being “normal”?

The diffusion of innovation theory suggests that most people need a critical mass of the population to adopt something new, before they will. I’m hoping that by sharing the environmental benefits of these kinds of innovation, my Mainstream Environmentalists (that’s you!) will become early adopters of these concepts and services.

Image: Diffusion of Innovation

The success of services like Uber and Airbnb show the growth of the “sharing economy”, a movement that has flourished due to a generation more focused on experiences and value than ownership.

Sharing resources also means the potential of the resource aren’t being “wasted”. Think about all the under-utilised garments in your wardrobe. I bought a sequin jacket once. I do really love it! And I wore it to a Tina Arena concert (#noregrets). But I really wish someone else could be taking it for a night out when I’m not around!

Here’s some other resource sharing sites I’m going to check out.

Resource sharing sites:

Kindershare allows you to borrow children equipment from others.

Car Next Door allows you to borrow someone else’s car when they’re not using it.

Spacer connects you with people who have space in their homes and garages, to store your stuff.

Camplify gives you the chance to rent camper trailers and caravans from those who have bought them, because you can’t always be on holidays.

Tool Mates Hire, you guessed it! To borrow tools from the people with sheds full of them.

The Volte connects you with people who have designer clothes. This means my sequins jacket could have more than 1 outing!

Nabo is a neighbourhood sharing site with endless options of sharing.

Change takes time, and I’m on that journey too. Let me know any of your success stories in the comments!

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