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Sharing Communities Are Spreading Across the World Like Wildfire

How some see sharing as a new paradigm and a means to a more democratic society.

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Consumo Colaborativo
Consumo Colaborativo is a digital media platform to spread information and best practices to the sharing community. Based in Spain, the organization acts as a connecting point for various people and projects and an information hub for sharing enthusiasts.

“The sharing economy is about understanding consumption and ownership are means to an end but not the final end/objective itself,” says Consumo Colaborativo founder Albert Canigueral. “We have lived in an extremely inefficient way for the last decades and collaborative consumption allows to make a more rational use of all the stuff already built and the new stuff that humans will keep creating.”

Share Tompkins
Based in Ithaca, New York, Share Tompkins steers people to resources that already exist, such as food pantries and freeskool, as well as sharing platforms that are emerging locally, such as the Ithaca Carshare and the Ithaca Biodiesel Cooperative. It also helps to organize and spread the word about skillshares, swaps, barters and other sharing events.

“Sharing is not in any way a new idea,” says Share Tompkins co-founder Shira Evergreen, pointing out that Ithaca is home to Ithaca Hours, the oldest alternative local currency in the U.S. that is still operating. “What's exciting about this particular moment in time is the fusion of sharing with technology, design and entrepreneurship. It is as if we are collectively relearning how to rely on one another and to do so we need to harness the tools of our time. I believe that once sharing has become second nature again,” she continues, “we will be less reliant on particular sharing platforms and settle into a new/old modality where we see our local community as an interconnected web of resources that can meet everyone's needs.”

Collaborative Consumption
Working to promote access over ownership, and "unlock the idling capacity" of assets in ways that offer enormous social, economic and environmental potential, Collaborative Consumption is a global advocate for the sharing economy.

“The key benefit of the sharing economy that we are the most passionate about is that it empowers people,” says Rachel Botsman, founder and director of Collaborative Consumption and author of the book  What’s Mine is Yours: How Collaborative Consumption is Changing the Way We Live. “It empowers people to live more sustainably, to build community in new ways, to make money from their existing assets and most importantly, to rediscover a human connection we have lost somewhere along the way.”

Botsman and her team focus on getting the business community on board with the sharing economy through speeches, interviews, articles, consultation and connecting diverse organizations.

“One of the beautiful things about the community around Collaborative Consumption is its diversity,” says Botsman. “You can be in a small town and have a local leader championing ideas, to a swanky VC office where the partners are telling you it’s the next big thing, to a government leader taking a proactive role in growing the sector. Connecting all these different groups, getting them to talk the same language and realize their objectives can be aligned is something our community is passionate about.”

LETSLinkUK
Local Exchange Trading Systems or Schemes (LETS) are community-based networks in the UK in which people trade goods or services. LETSLinkUK tests and develops models for exchange currencies, provides a central platform for existing LETS schemes and helps interested communities develop their own local exchange currency.

Sharetribe
A network of online communities that share goods, services, rides, spaces and more, the Finland-based Sharetribe facilitates sharing in a trusted environment. An open source platform, Sharetribe is made up of sharers, “tribes” of sharers, coders interested in developing on top of Sharetribe code and local ambassadors who translate and spread information about Sharetribe in their communities.

 
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