"What was the last thing you shared?," asked the Spanish documentary team interviewing "thoughtleaders of the Sharing Economy" at OuiShare Fest in Paris in the first week of May.
Oakland, California is in the midst of an impressive month-long ShareFest featuring swaps, gift circles, workshops and more. One of the highpoints so far was the Creating Commons Festival that took place on May 10th. Organized by Jonathan Youtt and Veronica Ramirez, and funded in part by a grant from Shareable for our #SharingSpring initiative, the event was held at the PLACE for Sustainable Living.
When long-time friends Dan Susman and Andrew Monbouquette returned home to Omaha, Nebraska, after college, they realized that their city -- despite being in the agriculture epicenter of the country -- was ranked 142 (out of 182) healthiest city in America. Meaning, although Omaha was surrounded by fertile farm lands, its residents were not eating well... at all. So Susman and Monbouquette took a closer look and discovered that various policies and practices -- or a lack thereof -- were hindering the local food movement in Omaha.
Those who are involved with the sharing movement know that it’s pretty great. But one of the key challenges of the movement is finding ways to introduce it to people who haven’t heard of it, because to truly make an impact on the global economy, sharing, in all its myriad forms, needs to be adopted by people of all walks of life. So the question is, how do you get people’s attention?
Recently, Silver Spring Shares, a grassroots organization in Silver Spring, Maryland, hosted its first ShareFest. Part of Shareable's #SharingSpring, the event was catalyzed by a presentation that Shareable partner Center for a New American Dream gave to Silver Spring Green about the sharing economy.
Journalist and filmmaker Nick Rosen has traveled around the US documenting off-grid pioneers.
A three-day showcase of Rochester, New York’s sharing economy, the Rochester ShareFest that took place May 2-4, included swaps, repair cafes, upcycled art, music lessons, seed sharing, food, bike repair and even a thunderstorm which cut the activities a bit short.
On May 18, Los Angeles took its first step toward having an Urban Fruit Trail. The Fallen Fruit team of Austin Young and David Burns joined forces with Heart of LA (HOLA) for the first installment of an art project that is meant to transform the neighborhoods surrounding downtown Los Angeles into more walkable, edible communities.
A lot of attention is being given to cities these days, and for good reason. While nation states falter, cities are uniquely positioned to effect positive change on a broad scale. As one of the panelists at last week’s SHARE Conference pointed out, “The city is the middle actor. It’s not the top down and it’s not the bottom up.”
Retail is changing. E-commerce isn’t cutting it for everyone, nor are the big box stores or large storefronts sitting vacant for months at a time. Enter pop-up stores, aka temporary retail. Imagine quirky boutique vendors occupying retail space for short stints, only to take turns with other funky makers and artists. Tristan Pollock (pictured left) is the co-Founder of Storefront, an online marketplace that connects designers and artists with unique, temporary retail space.
There are thousands of parking spaces in a city. But when we need one, it feels like there are none. This can lead to circling around endlessly. And when we finally find that vacant space we’re jubilant – that is until those pesky questions arise. How much is the space? Is there street cleaning today? Now you must ensure that there aren’t any regulations that could cause ticketing or towing. We’ve all made that mistake.
Back before technology took over our lives with all its convenience, if we needed to borrow something, we'd simply go knock on our neighbor's door and ask politely. Sometimes, we'd even have standing agreements within our neighborhoods that it was okay to borrow things without asking. Sharing came naturally because it just made good sense. It's like that Miranda Lambert song: "Hey, whatever happened to waiting your turn, doing it all by hand, 'cause when everything is handed to you, it's only worth as much as the time put in.
Don't look now, but there's a new addition to the local food movement coming 'round the bend. Now beta testing in Seattle, ÜbrLocal aims to be an online "social marketplace for everything urban food." Basically, if there's a local food something or other you're looking for, ÜbrLocal can help you find it. Users can sell, swap, give, or request whatever their local foodie hearts desire -- eggs, mulch, vegetable starts, compost, worms, honey, gardening space, supplies, workshops, and more.
Co-authored by Neal Gorenflo and Cat Johnson
As we collectively barrel toward an unknown future with dwindling fossil fuel supply, educating ourselves — and each other — about sustainable options becomes an imperative. Because there are options, whether or not the powers that be choose to acknowledge them or not. Solar, wind, hydro, biofuels, and geothermal come easily to mind and we should all be moving our lives and our communities in those directions.
The tough economic times we've faced the last few years has hit one particular demographic with a double-whammy. Students not only face soaring tuition costs that lead to staggering debt loads, but they also step into a world with fewer jobs to help them pay down that debt. At the same time, community service groups need more and more help, largely due to the same perfect economic storm.
The desire to create comfort and security for ourselves probably counts as one of the most rudimentary motivations in the human reservoir of instincts. Building a safe nest is one of the impulses that not only transcends cultural boundaries but connects us to most other species on the planet. As a basic principle, wanting the very best for ourselves and even better for our offspring is as relatable as it is admirable, to the point of being socially awkward to desire otherwise.
Ever wish you could live at your CSA? Or move to a neighborhood where everyone is as excited about fresh, healthy food as you are?
Top image credit: Sam Churchill.
An acquaintance recently told me about her experience investigating solar for her home. A solar company told her that in order to go solar, she would have to cut down the trees that shade her house -- an unfortunate trade off. If your house is shaded, your roof is facing the wrong direction, or you’re a renter, you join the many Americans that can’t go solar at home.
What to do?
Thankfully, depending on where you live and your motivations are, there are lots of ways you can support the solar energy transition underway.