Photo: Can I borrow your... sharing economy?

The sharing economy provides a framework for sharing. (Credit: Dunc(an) via Flickr)

I walk my preschool-age kids through the perilous waters of sharing every day.

"Can I have a turn?" one child asks the other. Small fingers inevitably tighten around the fateful object. I must tread lightly: "What' is more important," I ask, "the shovel or your brother?"

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Wide-eyed silence reflects the irrelevancy of my question. Loving her brother doesn't erase the power of possession, or the fear of letting go.

So we establish boundaries and protocols to make sharing positive.

And the more she shares, the more he shares, the happier they both feel.

It's this basic principle that's given rise to the sharing economy (aka "collaborative consumption"). By providing a framework to enable sharing, innovative organizations are helping individuals experience its joys and the benefits.

Share a ride

Organizations like Live Ride connect drivers with passengers who share travel expenses.

Not driving? Share your vehicle! Peer-to-peer rental isn't yet in Canada, but companies like Relay Rides are making tracks in other parts of the world.

Bypass ownership entirely and join a car coop like Modo. Thousands of people enjoy the convenience of having a car when and where they need one without the hassle and cost of ownership.

Share a roof

In 2012, more than 2.5 million people used Airbnb, the networking tool that connects travellers with spare rooms. This bed-but-no-breakfast is a relaxed, more affordable spin on the traditional B&B. Similarly, Couchsurfer helps people travel the world sleeping on "new friends" couches!

Share food production

You've got outdoor space. She's got time and garden know-how. Sharing Backyards helps you partner up so you'll both enjoy the goodness of fresh food!

Go a step further — share a cow.

Share a bike

Bike Shares are on the rise worldwide, popular on Canadian university campuses and catching on in municipalities. Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto all have programs, and Vancouver's is set to launch in 2014.

Share absolutely anything

Imagine a community where neighbours can borrow a chainsaw, a wheelbarrow or a waffle iron. Sites like Yerdle are making that once-common practice a reality again! Because when it comes to creating a sustainable future, less is more!

Have any sharing stories to share?

Tovah Paglaro, a fellow Queen of Green

April 3, 2013

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May 24, 2013
10:24 AM

I’ve couchsurfed overseas. I’ve also used Airbnb. I just finished writing a blog on my thoughts on the share economy and how others can partake in this industry. I’ve grow to understand I don’t need to own everything. I just need to own it for a few hours at a time. It makes perfect sense to me and the growing tide will continue. Check out my blog post

Apr 23, 2013
6:21 PM

I think there should be a huge sharing store in Vancouver. It could be run like a library where you borrow items instead of books. And the store shouldn’t have to pay huge rent either.

Apr 04, 2013
8:28 PM

What a great article, I started a community share group in June of 2012. The great thing about the group is that it has turned into something much bigger than the act of sharing ‘stuff’. We sharing but we also develop a sense of community unlike many sharing sites. This is a local community based project that allows participates to meet members of their community they previously had never known. Check it out.

Apr 03, 2013
9:59 AM

A great idea in general, however I prefer to see petrol powered cars sit idle unless the owner absolutely needs to use them. Sharing extra seats in a car that will be going in the same direction as the extra riders is a brilliant idea if you can organize it because it increases the people*miles/ liter of gas just as public transit does.

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