Green Upgrader writer Beth Buczynski wrote a book about the sharing economy, and it is knocking my socks off!
Are you familiar with the sharing economy? This emerging idea is all about focusing less on ownership and more on...sharing! Companies like Zipcar and Air BNB are good examples of the sharing economy at work. When we share things like cars, tools, and even our homes, we use fewer resources, build community, and save money.
In her new book - Sharing is Good - Beth shows you how to get started and how to navigate in the sharing economy. I think that my friend Rhonda Winter put it really well in her review of the book over at Ecolocalizer:
This accessible and well-written volume explains the many ways that sharing our resources can not only help to save money, energy and time, but can also allow us to strengthen our communities and build more meaningful personal relationships with one another.
Beth gets into why the sharing economy is important, talks about how you can get started sharing, and addresses some common fears about sharing. Sharing is good for the environment and for your wallet, but it can be scary, can't it? This section of the book struck me as the most important, because I think it's what stops a lot of folks from sharing.
When you own something, you're responsible for it. You know where it is and what condition it's in. Loaning things out or borrowing can be a little bit scary, because it's hard for us to trust other people. Beth addresses this so well:
We could spend a lot of time talking about where these perceptions of risk come from (the media, over-protective parents, a bad experience, etc.), but where they come from isn't really as important as finding a way to deal with them. Caution is good. Crippling trust issues that prevent you from interacting with your community are bad. The best way to deal with a lack of trust is to be trustworthy yourself. We can only expect from others what we're willing to do ourselves. Also, a little pre-planning can go a long way. It's necessary to be upfront and honest about what could go wrong in a sharing situation, whether it's with your neighbors or someone in another country. More about this later. [emphasis mine]
Want more about that? Beth skillfully addresses the trust, safety, money, and time concerns that many of us have about sharing in Sharing is Good.
I'll be honest with you guys: I am not much of a sharer. Probably the most sharing I do is handing down (and accepting hand-me-down) baby clothes and donating to/shopping at my local creative reuse center. What I love about Beth's book is that she didn't make me feel bad about this. Instead, she encourages folks like me to jump in and start sharing. And you know what? I am going to.
Do you participate in the sharing economy? If not, what's your hesitation?
You can find Sharing is Good on Amazon or directly through the publisher. Ooh! And here's an idea for how to jump right into sharing: when you finish reading her book, why not donate your copy to your local library? Boom!