Here's a question: Do we really need to own everything ourselves, or might we save money, resources and create community by sharing our possessions with our local community?
We talk to Liz at The Sharehood to learn more about this group that is putting this concept into practice!
Tell us the basic idea behind The Sharehood.
The Sharehood is a group dedicated to supporting people to connect and share things in their local areas. We have a website and organise events for people to come together to build relationships and share things to reduce waste, save money and help conserve resources.
How long has The Sharehood been running and how many members do you have so far?
The Sharehood started in 2008 in Melbourne, Australia. We currently have 1843 people with 3847 shareables from Australia and around the world.
What kind of things do people share?
People share things they have around the house, including tools, things in the kitchen, garden and shed. You can share your books and DVDs, children's things and arts and crafts. You can share your car or bicycle, or knowledge you have in maintaining them. Skills can be shared as well like hairdressing, massage, professional advice...anything at all? There are categories on the website you can divide your "shareables" into to make it easier to organise. People can list the things they are offering as well as seeking.
What is the most unusual share that has been posted?
I know someone was offering to teach handstands from one Sharehood in Melbourne. Currently in "professional" someone is offering hula hooping lessons and another person is seeking "chicken minding". There really is something for everyone in the Sharehood! You can see a range of things people are offering and seeking on the web page to give you an idea of what's available.
Have there been any special or memorable moments during your involvement with Sharehood?
The Sharehood was adopted as an official partner as a strategy for the "Act, Belong, Commit" campaign to promote mentally healthy communities in Hume and Moreland regions in northern Melbourne. That was a big honour for us. The network just won a 2011 Excellence in Health Award from Melbourne Health. It has been amazing for us to work with so many other grassroots environmental and clean energy groups around Australia to promote sharing and community like Green Renters, Moreland Energy foundation, Ballarat Renewable Energy And Zero Emissions (BREAZE) and numerous others. We have been asked to speak at some memorable forums with other speakers who are inspirational.
What inspired you to create TheSharehood... how does it fit into your general environmental/sustainability values?
The Sharehood was created by Theo Kitchener in 2008 when he didn't have a washing machine and was carrying his laundry several streets away to a friend's house. He realised if he knew his neighbours, he could have just gone next door. He sat down and wrote a list of all the things that could be shared between neighbours and it was a long list! Then he wrote a letter and hand-delivered it to all his neighbours within a 5-minute walk of his house. From the ones that responded, the first Sharehood was formed! From the start, Sharehood members have been concerned with clean energy, reducing waste and other environmental issues. Many grow their own food, at home or in community gardens, which make for great neighbourhood fruit and vegetable swaps! The Sharehood organising collective are involved with other campaigns for social and environmental justice as workers, journalists, activists or members of associations.
Sharing locally is definitely part of an overall strategy to build stronger and more connected communities which are self-sufficient, have reduced waste and which are healthier and more sustainable.