The global economy works by encouraging a culture of individualism, selfishness and greed. It convinces us we are independent and self-reliant if we rely on our money rather than the land and other people to provide for our needs. So to extract ourselves from the money economy, we need to recognise that everything is interdependent, and form these reciprocal relationships with nature and neighbours, with everyone and everything around us. We need to shift our concern away from the health of our bank balance, investments and superannuation, and towards caring for the health of our ecosystems, our communities and ourselves. When we stop concerning ourselves with financial matters and open up to the natural abundance that is all around us, we discover that we have so much to share. I find the abundance overwhelming sometimes.
Sharing is an effective way to make the most of the available resources, and reduce waste. It builds trust between people and reduces social isolation. To return or reclaim borrowed items, or pass on excess produce, is always a good reason to go visiting friends and neighbours. It is an opportunity to get to know your neighbours, and just gives you a good feeling to be able to help someone out by doing something as simple as lending them a shovel.
Stuff that can be shared. Food, books, tools, appliances, cars, land, recipes, cultures (both the bacterial and social kind), friends, skills, stories, your home, child raising, clothes, seeds, plants, labour, experiences, ideas and feelings.
Sharing can happen on an informal basis, but to make the maximise its potential, it might be worthwhile to set up or make use of an existing infrastructure. Some of these include swap meets and free markets, fruit and veg exchanges, Food Not Bombs, tool libraries, community shed, clothes swap parties, neighbourhood swap box, book exchanges and a community library. An online infrastructure is The Sharehood (thesharehood.org) which helps neighbourhoods to organise sharing of produce, tools, childcare, skills, and labour and to hold events. Other useful websites are freecycle.org, to give and receive things for free, and The Freeconomy Community (justfortheloveofit.org) to share skills, tools, space and ideas.
- How to have an amazingly adventurous life for zero dollars a day.
- Nature, economics and the free life.
- Get moving.
- Human powered.
- Grow food.
- Garden things to make.
- Make your own waterless toilet.