Join the freecycling sharehood

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Meet the organisations that give a second life to stuff destined for landfill, bringing the community together at the same time. Kate Allsopp reports.

A key tenet of a sustainable future is a reduction in consumption. The western world consumes too much, and if the developing world consumed at the same rate we would be in real trouble. So how do we go about reducing our consumption without impacting too much on our quality of life? Some new online-based initiatives can help us in our quest to consume less and live more sustainably. One was born and developed in Australia, while the other is a product of the United States. Both show how a good idea, some hard work and the internet can make an impact towards improving our sustainability.

Sharehood www.thesharehood.org
Imagine you live in a rental property with no lawn except the nature strip. You don’t own a lawn mower and can’t see yourself ever buying one. So what’s the best way to solve the dilemma of an overgrown lawn? Well Theo Kitchener had a similar problem—he didn’t own a washing machine. On the way to the local laundromat in Melbourne he wondered how many of the houses he passed would have a washing machine they would be happy to lend him. He set about letterboxing his local area to see if there was any interest in a local sharing network. He developed a website and The Sharehood was born. Theo’s solution means there is an easy solution to my lawn mower problem. I recently joined my local Sharehood at www.thesharehood.org to see what’s on offer.

Sharehood started in Australia over two years ago, is slowing spreading worldwide and is proving to be a great way to access goods and services while helping to build a local community spirit. There is even a thriving Sharehood in Cambridge in the United Kingdom. Sharing resources means less production, packaging, waste and transportation, resulting in less greenhouse gases produced and less landfill.

To learn more about this initiative I spoke to Michael Green, Sharehood volunteer and a founding member of his active and happening local Sharehood. Michael explained that The Sharehood has two main aims; building community and reducing consumption. It almost gives you an excuse to get to know your neighbours, and many benefits can flow from this. As Michael says: “Having a sense of belonging to the place where you live is profound—it can have a big impact on wellbeing”. His local share-hood holds regular events such as movie nights (where they set up a projector in a park for their own moonlight cinema), soccer games and, of course, sharing of resources.

Read the full article in ReNew 115

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