This is a wonderful idea. A new community called Freeconomy at JustForTheLoveOfIt.org is basically about local sharing – not only building up community warm and fuzzies, but also reducing impact on the environment.
For example, the community offers ToolShare. How many times have you bought tools for a single purpose; never to be used again? I know I have – toolsharing saves money and resources.
There’s other aspects to the community as well:
Skillshare – this isn’t just about helping someone out, but also the opportunity to learn from someone with skills you don’t have. There’s an old saying that goes “give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”. With peak oil and climate change looming, a closely knit community with a broad skillset could become an important aspect of its survival in the future.
Spaceshare – If you’d like to support a local project, don’t have time but perhaps some space to offer; you could offer it to a volunteer working the project in order that they can be closer to the project, allow the space to be used for storage for the project etc.
LandShare – Have some land you’re not using; perhaps even just a section of land you’re living on that’s being under-utilized? It could be used as an area for local food production.
A Freeconomy is a moneyless society where there are no financial transactions. This is not bartering and there’s no debt – and it’s a concept I really like. I do believe that what goes round comes round – good and bad. I might do a favor for Bill, but unless there’s a contract or prior understanding, I shouldn’t expect a favor from Bill in return – Jack may help me out instead.
While a true Freeconomy may be a pipe dream for the forseeable future, there are aspects of the concept we can bring into our lives now.
Of course, due caution should be exercised when getting involved – even in the sunshine and daffodils world of a green, sharing and caring community, there’s still sharks and leeches lurking; such is the nature of the beast.