Rachel Botsman, TEDx lecturer and author of ‘What’s mine is (y)ours’, gave an inspiring talk about ‘Collaborative Consumption’ at EcoBuild on Wednesday 21st March. So what is collaborative consumption? It’s the new sharing revolution that is taking place across the world, supported by the rise in social media, the economic recession and people’s desire to live in a more sustainable and community-minded way. ‘Micro-preneurs’ are leading the way in setting up social enterprises and online resources that help people save money, reduce waste, build new friendships and community cohesion, and provide alternative employment and income.
DIY power drills are used on average for 15 minutes throughout their life and cars sit idle for an average of 23 out of 24 hours. Our hyper consumptive way of life has lead to a gross underutilisation of the things we buy and this ‘idling capacity’ is now being seen as an opportunity to rent or share our personal/household goods and skills with others.
Many of us will know of ‘freecycle’, now with a world-wide membership of around 9 million people. Another example is Airbnb – a global network of accommodations offered by locals, providing a cheap alternative to hotels and B’n'Bs using people’s spare rooms and underutilised spaces. The average host is making $21k per year and Manhattan now has an Airbnb host in every block. Closer to home, London’s ‘Boris Bikes' are providing people with easy mobility without ownership of stuff.
This is a growing movement which could well redefine our economy from one dominated by Hyper Consumption to one embracing Collaborative Consumption where, instead of ‘keeping up with the Joneses’, we will be ‘getting to know the Joneses’. Tell us about your favourite collaborative consumption experiences below.
Also see: http://www.oneplanetsutton.org/blog/whats-mine-is-yours/ and Rachel talking at TEDx, Sydney in 2010.