Why the Sharing Economy is Here to Stay

Lyft, Coursera, Taskrabbit, Airbnb, Zipcar? You may have seen these names, heard about them on the news, or used their services. These services are all manifestations of what’s called the Sharing Economy (or Peer-to-Peer economy) in their own separate industries, and their popularity reflects a trend away from the more traditional consumerist style of buying from large corporations.

Wonder why? Well, after the crisis of 2008, the economy has become more precarious than ever, with household debt being steadily on the rise. This is especially true of the Millennials of the day (along with Generations X to a lesser, but still significant extent), who have also come to a realization that they could not live as their parents and grandparents did, what with the damage did to the Earth by the Industrial Revolution and beyond (Global warming, anyone?)

Thus, the response seems to be a sea change into a mindset of “own less, access more”.

Adding on that with the increasing lack of income security, many more individuals have begun to rely on their own pre-existing resources, using their own ingenuity to further tap into things they have owned but not put to full use.

With internet penetration increasing daily worldwide, more people are able to use technology to mitigate the risks of sharing their own personal property. How?

Through the Internet, and social media, we can use reputation checks or online records provided by service coordinators and platforms to ensure people are trustworthy, and the sharing economy’s thrives.

Indeed, it seems to be a win on multiple fronts. For one, you’re tapping into resources you have but don’t need to use all the time, by turning your very ownership into cold cash.

You’ve got a nice blue dress that you only wore once when your fifteenth cousin thrice removed got married? Rent it out to others, maybe. You get some of your cash back, and the person you rent it out to, saves a pretty penny as they didn’t have to buy a dress that they would only wear once!

Another thing is that the sharing economy, to put it simply, saves the Earth. With this, your assets might be used much more than if you weren’t lending it to others as well. What’s more is that you’ll most certainly get much more mileage out of it than if you were using it alone, a point that hasn’t been missed by the more environmentally conscious.

Let’s look at another example, shall we?

In winter, you have to heat your whole house, and pay for utilities and upkeep throughout the year, but you’re certainly not staying in there all the time, are you? In this, sharing a room produces less wastage of gas, water, and electricity per person.

Your roommate and you may use more energy collectively – but less individually, so that means less greenhouse gas emissions!

To add on to that, if you have a car, even better! Sharing your car with your roommate spreads costs, as well as reduces emissions since you’ll both be using one car instead of two individually again. Just a figure for you – car sharing participants have been shown to reduce up to 40% of their individual emissions.

The third fact is when you share, you build stronger relationship and bonds with friends and people you share your stuff with. One more interaction in this busy world. Go out there – help your friends, form strong bonds, we don’t live alone on our planet!

In our previous articles, we also mentioned several “Libraries of Things”, which are perhaps the most innovative incarnation of the sharing economy. Indeed, the example of having to first learn how to use a tool which you have borrowed is one of many which serve as gateways to greater bonding within the community.

When you lend something to someone, you’re going to want to know if you could trust them with your prized possessions – and what better way to get an impression of them than to interact with them in person? The sharing economy could be what we just need – a remedy to the individualistic and consumerist culture of late, and a chance to connect with others in an increasingly colder world.

But – there is no doubt that there are some issues with the sharing economy. A lack of trust still casts its shadow over the more paranoid and less tech-savvy who may be reluctant to participate in libraries of things and the sharing economy in general, even with the added security of today.

Another point to notes is also the fact that such ideas, and companies have increasingly been subjected to increased taxes and regulations, inflating the costs for both consumer and business as traditional businesses or governments attempt to adapt to the appeal and popularity of the sharing economy for millennials.

However, what is clear is that in the current climate, what with the rising costs of owning and maintaining assets such as houses and cars, as well as the increased jobs and services these provide for both consumer and worker – the sharing economy has found its niche and is here to stay.

Peer-to-Peer Library of Things

We’ve talked about libraries of things – and here we have our very own app for you to start your very own library of things!

A library of things is simple, and like any other library, a sorted collection of items. Most of the time, libraries refer to public or private collections of books. Libraries of things, however, unlike treasure hoards of old, are meant to be shared, and wealth and value in them spread amongst friends and family, and the people you know and love in your community by and large.

Think of it as a way of connecting with the people you know and trust, and on top of that, aiding them materially, and with a more personal touch. Giving people money and trading amongst your community for mutual profit is fine and all, but nothing says “I care for you, and I trust you” more than a cashless loan of a good, tool, or valuable item.

But like all libraries, it can be hard to keep up an inventory, especially with so many books. Books themselves are tough to manage and categorize – by weight, size, topic, and age range. Now, think about that in the context of a library of things. That’s where modern technology meets old school caring and sharing.

With Lendogram, you can organize the items you need, and keep track of what you have, and what your friends, family, and people you know have. On top of that, you can then keep track of what you have already loaned out, as well as what you need to loan from others, since you can view their items too.


Now, think about it this way. our app isn’t trying to reinvent the wheel, we’re just making it easier to share what you have with the people you care for and trust, and for them to share their stuff with you too.

Every item loaned out can be checked on Lendogram, and any item available to be loaned out can also be checked. This simply means that if you need a tent, or ski bag for your weekend trip for example, you can check if your friends have it on Lendogram, and share it, instead of having to manually call everyone or for most situations – spend more money to buy something you only use once or twice.

You won’t have to waste your time going all the way down to the store to look for the equipment that you might not need, or might not use after this weekend. Just look at your iPhone, open up the app and send a request to your friends for what you need!

We’re not forgetting that in all this – there is a very human element to it all. When you loan something from a trusted friend, neighbour, or family member, you are not just simply borrowing an item and strengthening an already exchanging mutually beneficial relationship; you are also tapping into the skills and stories of another person in your circle.

Items in history museums on exhibit are always intriguing, and even more so because items that are deeply personal are usually marked with some form of personal symbols, or words usually. These, together with the context of the time period, along with the supposed purpose of the item tell a story of the person’s journey through a time period.

Now – you can have that same effect, but instead of relying on a small plaque explaining and telling stories about the owner, you can ask your neighbour who looks bookish why she has a drawknife and woodworking tools, and you might find out why she has them and more about herself! She might be a skilled woodworker herself, or she might have inherited them from her grandfather who was a Polish carpenter, who knows!

Now, keep in mind that Lendogram does not limit itself to solely tools or sporting equipment. Books, toys, children clothing, cooking pots, pans, party equipment, baskets, printing and silkscreen machines, electronics all these and more can be loaned out. If some items are too heavy to move or too expensive to repair because they are prone to damage when used improperly, take it as just another chance to get to know the person(s) who are loaning them from you on another level!

Offer to help them, to teach them, and you create value through another person learning another skill from your stuff. Now, isn’t that great?

Why be a Locavore and eat locally grown food

What it is to be a locavore, and why locally grown agriculture is great for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.


To be fair, and to not subscribe and add to the misinformation hawked by hoax science and snake oil scientists, we need to be very clear on what locally grown and cultivated agriculture is; in addition, we need to understand the process of how locally grown agriculture is better at reducing carbon footprints for the end consumer (you) as compared to mass monoculture agriculture.

Let’s get started explaining what these terms mean:

What is agriculture first and foremost? Agriculture, simply is the basis of all civilization, and is the humble process of growing food. The truth is – modern agriculture has come so far, and is so technologically advanced (and artificial) since the green revolution of the 1930’s to 1960’s that a farmer in 100 AD in Europe would call it sorcery, magic, or blasphemy.

Agriculture is now, not only used to grow food, but also fuels for biofuels, making land more and more scarce for food used in direct human consumption, and we’re not even mentioning the amount of soybeans grown and other grains used to feed cattle, and other meat producing animals for our consumption.

That’s agriculture. So, what’s mass monoculture? How does it affect you? Simply put, mass monoculture is the process of adapting and reshaping land artificially, mostly using pesticides and fertilizers on an industrial scale, as well as a lot of water to increase the amount of a single species of crop a modern farmer can grow within a given area.

Just imagine wheat fields – they’re an excellent example. Modern wheat fields will spread for miles and miles, till the horizon with no end in sight to feed many hungry mouths many miles away. However – the cost for such monocultures are that the amount of nitrogen based fertilizers used, as well as water drawn from underground water tables, and pesticides simultaneously degrade the land, the air, the soil, and the local biodiversity.

How? Certain pesticides have been found to increase the chances of cancer through exposure to carcinogenic compounds found within them. One such place this has already happened is in rural Punjab, a state in India, which was a major part of the Green Revolution.

Of course – Pesticides also kill off local bugs, birds, and other wildlife as well as denying them an area of natural habitat. Sure – we need food, but at what cost? When the land needs to be reclaimed, there is very little chance that it can be rehabilitated.

Constant usage of nitrogen fertilizers in the soil to maintain crop yields (the amount of crops harvested from a single area) eventually seeps down into the water table to poison water in that area, making it unsafe to drink. This happens and hits rural communities who lack access to piped water especially – since they draw water from the water table directly using wells.

Groundwater – that is, water which flows through rivers, streams, and washed into these natural channels through rain, is also effected directly. Examples?

“According to various surveys in India and Africa, 20-50% of wells contain nitrate levels greater than 50 mg/1 and in some cases as high as several hundred milligrams per litre (Convey and Pretty, 1988)”.

So yes, unfortunately, our existence and consumption of monoculture crops may be a necessary evil, and this is the damage it inflicts. Now, we’re not here to lay the blame or guilt on you, we’re merely here to enlighten, inform and educate so you can know what steps to take to increase your own social responsibility and awareness.

The last part is important, and alarming as well as damaging. Not just because it is damaging right now, but also due to the fact that the system needs to be changed, and bettered, with technology and improved levels and methods of consumption.

This is basically the fact that modern agriculture relies on an entire network of fossil fuel powered logistics and production chains to grow, harvest, maintain, and then process, and finally, deliver and sell the produce to you.

Tractors to plow the fields, ships to ship the produce, freezers on those ships or climate control powered by generators, helicopters to fly over the fields and spray pesticides, large long haul trucks or airplanes tot hen transport the produce to its final retail destination – all these use oil to operate.

Now – this poses two problems, one, climate change due to greenhouse gas emissions. Two, the instability of oil prices in oil producing countries caused deliberately or not causes price shocks, which can affect the price of food production. This is basically affecting food security directly.

Now that we’ve covered in more or less detail what can go wrong and what already has with modern agriculture, let’s hear the case of locally grown agriculture.

To define locally grown agriculture – it must be grown as close as possible to the retail source(that is, where you buy it from), and must be both organically grown and harvested.

What does this mean? Simply put – if you go to an organic store that resells produce from a farmer in the same state after it has been processed and packaged out of state – that doesn’t count.

If you buy from a farmer’s market where said farmer has already used artificial fertilizers and pesticides to keep his crop big and healthy but lives only 2 miles from you, that also doesn’t count.

The key aspects here is to reduce pollution and carbon emissions here. Check if the person you buy produce from uses artificial fertilizers as compared to compost, which is much less harmful compared to artificial nitrogen based fertilizers. Check if they use pesticides or natural bug repellents by alternating their crops and using natural predators, or if they use netting which physically keeps out some pests.

Check how far they come from, to see how much they have to travel to you to sell you their produce, as well as if they do any form of processing that also involves carbon emissions. The les, the better.

That’s how you can reduce carbon emissions. Good places to get such kinds of produce are farmer’s markets, as well as wholesale stores for organic produce. You may not be able to find what you want all year round – but you’ll find that the variation in produce will keep you healthy and provide variety to your diet!

The Consumerist Paradox

What does it mean to consume, why, and how does it fit into the system of capitalism based on monetary value as a trade currency, and why it feeds itself to potential undoing.

To start off – we need to look at Malthus and his theories. Thomas Robert Malthus was an English scholar who was most famous for the prediction of his theory of population growth.

Thomas Robert Malthus

His theory of population growth, while straightforward, is chilling and foreseeable, especially since his life and death in the 18th century till now, we have seen his theories at work in some countries.

However, he is commonly mistaken and quoted selectively on certain parts of his writing to be heralded as a doomsday author, as well as being used as a scare tactic.

What we truly are looking at, will be the two most important parts of his writings from his work : An Essay on the Principle of Population. In it, he writes

“Famine seems to be the last, the most dreadful resource of nature. The power of population is so superior to the power of the earth to produce subsistence for man, that premature death must in some shape or other visit the human race. The vices of mankind are active and able ministers of depopulation. They are the precursors in the great army of destruction, and often finish the dreadful work themselves. But should they fail in this war of extermination, sickly seasons, epidemics, pestilence, and plague advance in terrific array, and sweep off their thousands and tens of thousands. Should success be still incomplete, gigantic inevitable famine stalks in the rear, and with one mighty blow levels the population with the food of the world.”

— Thomas Malthus, 1798. An Essay on the Principle of Population. Chapter VII, p61

Sounds apocalyptic doesn’t it? It’s not all bad news though, but we should also heed those words. There is part two, a bit further on in his writings-

“The great law of necessity which prevents population from increasing in any country beyond the food which it can either produce or acquire, is a law so open to our view…that we cannot for a moment doubt it. The different modes which nature takes to prevent or repress a redundant population do not appear, indeed, to us so certain and regular, but though we cannot always predict the mode we may with certainty predict the fact.”

— Thomas Malthus, 1798. An Essay on the Principle of Population. Chapter IV.

Get the gist? The summary of this whole series of writings was to identify and acknowledge that the population of a given area, in this case, a nation-state, would be constrained in its growth internally only by its ability to produce and feed its people.

Other factors also come into play of course – such as wars, diseases and famine, but those are not related to patterns of consumption directly, and our modern pattern of consumerism today, so we will not be taking them into account.

The second part states that this (law of population growth restrained by agricultural output) will happen naturally, through means we know, and means that we don’t.

Just keep in mind this happened before the 18th century, and the industrial revolution, the internet, mass assembly lines and even WWII hasn’t happened yet. For many years, people dismissed Malthus’ theories due to increasing technological innovations and the green revolution which enabled countries to feed a lot more people suddenly.

Now, the consumerist paradox is this – are we using so much to the point that we waste so many resources and the system is no longer sustainable. Are we heading ourselves towards starvation?

A very simple example – In certain countries, cars are cheap, to the point where there is at least 1 car for every person who needs to drive. Now, since everyone has one car, and 8o% of the population needs to use the roads in the morning to get to work, the roads get so crowded to the point where it’s pointless to drive. The benefits of driving to work are now outweighed by cost of fuel used stuck in the jam, the time cost wasted in the jam, and due to the extremely long queues and jams, the health costs too, due to the air pollution.

Because of this, people stop using cars to get to work – cars lie idle at home, and people take the bus, take bikes, walk, everything except using cars. Now, the car is a wasted asset, its value plunges. Due to this, car manufacturers go out of business, and other car-related industries and businesses take a hit in their profits and revenues. The money that was spent on purchasing the car could have been invested in better commute infrastructure that would last longer than the car. That is the consumerist paradox.

Now, if you multiply this effect where society uses more than it needs, and resources are wasted – then both intrinsic and monetary value is wasted. Literally, we are wasting our resources and our money.

And if resources are practically diminished to the point where producers cannot meet the demand, and eventually all of it is spent, all money will be worthless since it will not signify any value of any resource of commodity. On a global scale, what’s worse is that a lack of resources will lead to an economic meltdown, which will then lead to consumers consuming less, or not having the ability to consume anymore.

To summarize: if we really like to keep our consumer focused mentality and economy, we need to consume less as a society and waste less so that we can continue consuming!

Ursus maritimus Day – International Polar Bear Day

February 27th is International Polar Bear day, and if you’ve been reading the news, 2015 was the hottest year ever on record, in our world history.

Polar Bear

What does it all mean?

Warmer summers, wetter winters and more dry spells? Yes, that, and also more hurricanes, more storms, and more droughts. So regardless of where you live, one way or another, you’ll feel the effects of global warming, and so will our furry friends up north.

Global warming affects all of us on Earth, and climate change is a major killer for biodiversity, as well as other important items on our Humanity Survival checklist if we’re to make it past the next thousand years. Sustainable agriculture, arable land, habitable land, as well as global sea surface temperatures all affect our food supply and general health adn well-being.

How did climate change caused by global warming even happen? The simple answer is due to our extremely high carbon output.

You’ve probably heard about global warming. I’ll not babysit you and explain the process in excessive detail, as it’s simple – mass industrialization and transport using fossil fuels has caused an excess of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases to be released in the atmosphere.

Greenhouse gases such as methane and carbon dioxide for example.

What these greenhouse gases do is that they trap more heat, or UV radiation as it is scientifically termed in our atmosphere, or air, preventing it from going back into space, causing global warming.

Which of course, in turn – melts the polar icecaps, leading to less and less space each year for our furry friends to live and hunt.

How can you help?

Simply put – You can practice the 4 R’s.

The 4 R’s are : Refuse, Reduce, Reuse & Recycle

All of these don’t require you to live like a hermit in the wilds of Colorado or Algonquin, but just need you to take conscious action and responsibility in your part to save the earth.

The basic underlying principle in all of these tenets is to consume less, and thus, waste less and reduce greenhouse gas emissions as a whole.

Refuse – Simply put, this concept is to refuse using more wasteful items, to refuse excessive wastage, and to refuse excessive consumption.

Don’t take more than you need, don’t take more than you can eat, don’t waste anything.

Refuse to use single use items and highly polluting items and substances. For example, when catering for an office function, or for a party – use reusable cutlery, and plates. Refuse the usage of Styrofoam cups and plastic utensils that can be only used once and then thrown away after.

Use instead – either environmentally friendly materials that are certified to decompose without releasing harmful pollutants such as plates made from plant fibre without the usage of chemical glues. Better still – use reusable plates.

Refuse to buy mass farmed and unsustainably grown agricultural products because they use chemical fertilizers that are less effective and detrimental to soil quality for future generations. on top of that, intensive animal husbandry to produce meat products also cause the release of the greenhouse gas Methane, which is much more potent at trapping heat compared to carbon dioxide by 25 times over a 100 year period.

Yes – 25 times. So make sure you refuse that excessive platter of meats, especially beef.

Reduce – If you can’t completely change your habits for lifestyle or health reasons, we respect that. To each their own, but you can still reduce the amount you consume, as well as the amount of waste and greenhouse gases you produce or help to produce, directly or indirectly.

Take the bus, ride a bike, or walk. by reducing your reliance on individual transportation, you cut down on greenhouse gas emissions.

Why? Let us explain – when oil is extracted through fracking, methane gets released directly into the atmosphere.

When crude oil is refined, it needs to be heated using natural gas to refine it into its various products like diesel, kerosene, and then petrol. Also, plastic is a derived from oil.

Before and after refining, oil has to be shipped from the oil well, to the oil refinery, and from the oil refinery, to your local petrol depot, and then to your petrol station. In between all these trips, the amount of carbon dioxide emissions generated for their transport is tremendous.

Of course – you can’t cycle all the time, everytime, but when you can, you should.

Or you could also try these.

A reduction in junk mail. Really, spend 2 hours maximum unsubscribing to all that wasted print that you never read anyway. Save on subscription fees, save paper, and save yourself the stress of sorting through all the magazines to find your latest overdue bill while trying to also handle the groceries.

Speaking of bills! Get an energy audit. Now, I hate the word audit too, but in this case, this audit will tell you exactly what’s taking up so much power in your home, as well as how you can reduce your power usage, and bills.

Re-use – Reusing things is simple, as well as economical. It’s good for your wallet, it’s good for the earth, and good for your health and the future. I think I don’t need to explain further since I’ve already covered why before.

So, re-use bottles for water, it saves you money from buying overpriced mineral water anyway. reuse grocery bags, bring your own to reduce the amount of plastic bags used. Re-use boxes that you can, and repurpose old furniture by refurbishing it.

Recycle –  Recycling is pretty straightforward. Resources have already been used, but some resources can be reused again but need some processing. Items made of or having components of metal and glass(non-degradable) are available to be recycled into new items again, while items made of degradable material may vary, such as wood pulp, paper, fabrics may need to be composted.

Recycling basically reduces or eliminates the need for more resources to be extracted and go through the entire process of manufacturing again, cutting short the manufacturing and refining process from raw material to finished product.

Of course, this also reduces the amount of greenhouse gases emitted as the amount of power needed to recycle items is substantially lesser than needed to produce the same item from raw resources.

With all these in mind – you can help slow climate change and global warming, and give the polar bears a fighting chance to see the next hundred years in existence!

Just think of the children, ours and bears!



The Value of Generosity

Very often, we find ourselves at the short end of the stick in a deal, bargain, or enterprise, or even simple transactions in our daily lives.

Sometimes, we feel cheated of our rightful estates, possessions, holdings, or value in a transaction.

That’s not a very pleasant feeling is it? Sometimes, it feels like we get less than what we deserve, and what little we have should be kept, guarded well, and hoarded if it seems, and only shared sparingly.

Is there someone to blame for this mindset and culture? Some people argue that it is only human nature to seek an advantage to gain it over others. Some even go so far to say that selfishness, is a trait that is common in the well to do, the rich, the disciplined, and the fiscally prudent. Some also call it fiscal discipline.

Well, it may be one of these things, and it may be all of these things, but let’s not forget that correlation does not mean causation. In essence, just because you’re rich, means you’re selfish, and just because you’re selfish, means you’re more likely to be rich.

Good news? Hardly. But let’s take a look at the other camp shall we.

Giving and generosity have been equated (mostly) with being a good person or individual, and is usually associated with charity, is it not? But what if I told you – it’s not always the case, and that perhaps, giving and generosity is not just good for character building and the soul, but also for your own gain too?

The sharing economy, the barter economy, and communities who actively promote trust and generosity amongst its members are active members and examples of this hypothesis.

In barter economies, goods are exchanged for each other. However, in many transactions, you can’t exactly rely on the exact value of goods exchanged to form a fair transaction, as you can’t split the goods to give out the remaining amount of value. For example, you need 3 pots and you have a cow to trade it for, and it’s a milk cow so slaughtering it to split its meat up is not fiscally prudent.


Your neighbour has three pots. Now, you want to trade the cow for the three pots, but the cow is worth at least twenty times the pots. You have nothing else to trade with, so you can either record the transaction as a loss, or a debt owed to you by your neighbour in the form of pots.

That would be odd, especially if everyone kept a tally in different forms measuring values indebted via various commodities like pots, which is also the reason money was invented, but we’ll get to that later.

So, what you could do, is be generous and take the pots, give the cow to your neighbour, who then feels indebted to you with gratitude, making it easier for the both of you to work together and help each other in other business or industrial activities anyway.

Generosity – in itself, is also a sign that the giver is able and wealthy enough to give. Basically, the giver becomes a patron. But practiced within a community, it encourages trust.

If there is a doubt that generosity itself is not a natural trait, here’s proof that it is.

In evolutionary survival – the best and most robust methods are the ones which involve generosity and co-operation.

Researchers Alexander J. Stewart and Joshua B. Plotkin from Pennsylvania’s Department of Biology in the School of Arts and Sciences, examined the outcome of the Prisoner’s Dilemma when played repeatedly by a large, evolving group of players.

While other researchers have previously suggested that being cooperative can be successful, Stewart and Plotkin offer ‘mathematical proof’ that the only strategies that succeed in the long term are generous ones.

In this version of the Prisoner’s Dilemma, only successful players would be allowed to proceed on to the next round, but with one caveat! The players who won would get to have more “offspring”, meaning that they would be able to have more players representing them in the next game.

It should also be noted that they were able to communicate and teach their “offspring” on their strategies.

Over the course of the experiment, the only strategies that survived were the ones that not only relied on co-operation alone, but also involved generosity and forgiveness on the part of the players involved.

In comparison, the other strategy that a player can employ is an extortion strategy, basically, to take short term gain, by using the current situation for personal gain at the expense of other players. Sounds familiar?

Well – employing this strategy allows for the best possible immediate outcome; but in the long run, affects the entire group, as the selfishness is reciprocated, and in the end, no one truly gains the most.

So, instead of a head-to-head competition, the researchers applied this to a group of people playing against one another(compared to a prisoner’s dilemma where it is 1-1), to realistically simulate communities and groups of people.

During the research, it was found that these extortion strategies don’t work well if played within a larger group of people who interact with each other, and not just between two people, because an extortion strategy doesn’t succeed when played against itself.

However. in generous strategies, players tend to cooperate with their opponents more, and are generous in their aid; and they also tend to forgive players who are selfish over time, as compared to excluding them completely. E.g, you help me, and I’ll help you, and we both win.

Using tests on how some generous strategies would work in a community of people, the researchers crafted a mathematical formula proving that, not only can generous strategies work best in this version of the Prisoner’s Dilemma, but also that these are the only strategies that resist individual selfish people in the test group and continue to endure.

These findings were reported in the PNAS journal.

In short – generosity is not a zero sum game.

Giving doesn’t mean you lose out – it only means you build relationships within group of people where all of you prosper more by working together, compared to your chances of prospering if you were to be selfish and look out only for yourself.

Isn’t it only natural that a sharing app like ours is an extension of human nature to share and be generous then instead of just looking out for yourself?


A Green Valentine: Love More, Waste Less


Green Love!

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner! What are your plans to show your love?

Before you take the credit card out to show your love with buying stuff, let us suggest something a little different. After all, whether you’ll be going with your regular lover, or someone new this valentines – a change of scenery and focus on love from just between you two will be appreciated, and you’ll definitely find out more things about your date too!

The plan – Helping out the homeless or newly arrived refugees. You’d think that giving out food and clothing would be quite far off from the idea of romance but you’d be wrong!

Why? Simply put, the generosity in you and your date shown and practiced by helping those in need by giving out clothing and food will make them associate you with kindness and generosity, and basically make the both of you view each other in a better light.

On top of that, giving out used clothes repurposed and food to feed those who need it will make your community a kinder and greener place – donations of money can surely buy new clothes, but used clothes in good condition will reduce pollution through wastage, as well as encourage a culture of recycling where you live.

Giving money to the homeless is good, and is needed for shelters as well as soup kitchens, but volunteering brings the concept of helping others in your vicinity into a much more personal space, and isn’t that what Valentine’s is about? Letting others into your personal space to get to know them better?

Spread the love this valentine’s day, and help the needy, for they need your love the most, and your help, as does the environment.

Perhaps you are fortunate to live in an area where the homeless are well taken care of, or you want to choose something else – what about a homely date at someone else’s place?

You could cook, or of you don’t know how to, you could ask a local chef or cook to make something with fair trade and locally sourced ingredients.

Of course, look for locally grown ingredients first, to support your local growers and farmers, since the reduced cost and need for transportation will leave you a lesser carbon footprint. However, it is highly suggested that you DO cook something for the day of the date itself.

Why? You could make one date, turn into two!

How you ask? Well, you need to go to the farmer’s market don’t you? Go with your date! Going to a fresh air market with just the both of you there and friendly farmers will make for good conversation topics, and be less direct and “confrontational” if you were sitting opposite of each other.

It gives you room and space to talk about yourselves, and find out more about each other, without actually having to ask about each other directly, which for some less socially inclined people, will be a much more comfortable situation.

On top of that – you can make a joint decision on what to buy, and engage each other in what to cook with the ingredients you’ve got! Now, just remember, some farmers markets don’t just sell organically grown root tubers and greens, they are also places for local beekeepers, artisans and craftsmen to showcase their locally made and environmentally friendly craft products!

Need an actual beeswax candle? Ask the beekeeper! Need soap? Ask the local soap maker! Or perhaps you need a bag to carry all the stuff you’ve bought? There’s someone spinning hemp and cotton together into large carry bags too!

Now, what will you do with all these? Surprise your date of course! Buy them a gift, or simply, buy things together and then set the table, and the house with those beeswax candles, and give them a body rub lotion of honey and lavender with soaps bought from the market!

So instead of going out of your way to spend a lot of money on flowers, only to be thrown away later, why not make your Valentine’s a more meaningful one, to include the things that matter?

Love is not about what you buy for your lover, it’s about how you make her/him feel. Love is not stored in a box of chocolate with pretty flowers. Love is imperfect, and has many facets. Love exists in this moment but will grow forever if in the right environment. Show your love by making this Valentine’s Day about learning more about your loved ones. Don’t just focus on now, remember the wider community and our earth and the future you want to build with your loved ones.

Love More, Waste Less!

Library of Things

As we head into the new future of consumerism and increased personal gain, are there any places in our communities, lives and homes that we can share? A place where one can lend, borrow, and trust in the goodwill of the neighbour and community to repay in kind with trust and goodwill too?
Well, you’ll be happy to know that places like these are more common than you think.

If you look closely, these places are not just publicly owned in name, but also in deed, meaning to say, some are community run and funded, while others are government funded, but the community usually decides on how to run the organization, what to lend and how.

You see, the key lynchpin to making a library of things, as we call them, is trust. Trust in the community you live in, as well as in the stewards of the library. let us share with you three delightful examples we have found.

ThingsThe public book libraries of Sacramento

The public book library of Sacramento, is a government funded library that actually functions as both a library for books, and a library for things.

The part of the Sacramento Public Library that loans out items is similar to how it loans out books. A member of the library needs to fill out a form to loan the ‘thing’ as they call it, and they can then be loaned out the lender for up to 3 weeks. If that period is not long enough – it can be borrowed up to 6 times, in which case, the need for the item should have passed.

This library chooses what items will be available to the public by how portable the item is, how valuable it is, as well as the number of votes from valid members as to the items that they want.

The items are then either donated, or bought using state money for this public programme to be available for loaning out, or to be used.

A small list of the items available : Board games, Video games, Sewing Machines, 3D printers, button maker, laminators, screen printers, musical instruments, GoPro cameras, a serger for professional stitching, and a bike repair station.

They have a full online catalogue of items available, some items can be used in the library only, such as the bike repair station, the 3D printer, as well as the Serger. For the reasons that they are higher in value and harder to operate and set up, these are kept at the library.

The Library of Things is located at Arcade Library at 2443 Marconi Ave. in Sacramento.

The Library of Things in Berlin

Berlin! Such a place with rich history, always breaking down barriers between people, and they’re doing it again, with the Laila Project, which is a library of things in the purest sense.

The Laila project is staffed by a volunteer who goes by Mr Nikolai Wolfert, who is a volunteer there.

If you ever wonder what the motivations were behind his store, he says “The average electric drill is used for 13 minutes in its entire lifetime – how does it make sense to buy something like that? It’s much more efficient to share it”.

That’s typical German efficiency for you! But apart from that, take a look at Leila on a deeper scale, and you’ll find that he’s actually a member of the Green party, and after they lost their local elections, he decided that he could do something for his community based off his political beliefs for the good of the community.

Thus, the Laila project was born. The Laila project is similar to other library of things – items get loaned out, and items are donated in, and to be part of the project to access items, you need to first donate something. The items range from useful, to quirky – drills to unicycles.

Mr Nikolai emphasises that it isn’t just about charity – it’s about efficiency, for more people, to use less. That’s the way to go isn’t it?

Library of Things in the UK

The Library of Things in the UK  started in West Norwood, South London in 2014, when friends Emma, James and Bex ran a pilot scheme in a library after visiting a borrowing shop in Berlin.

Similar to the project run by the Sacramento Public Library, the initial project by friends Emma, James and Bex met with success and an overwhelmingly positive response from the community, not just as a means of resource sharing and distribution, but also as a means of community bonding, interaction, and learning. Simply put – you can borrow a circular saw, but first you’ll have to learn how to use it from someone who does?

After that, they decided to pitch the idea to the general public online for funding via Kickstarter, and have raised £15,000 for this new library from 248 people.

They aim to set up a new library of things with these funds in South London, as well as making a toolkit to help others start their own library of things.

Do you know of other initiatives on Library of Things? Have you been thinking about starting one in your community? Comment below or contact us: hello{at}lendogram{dot}com.



Communities Matter

The estates and flat complexes of 1980’s Ireland, although often facing social problems and poverty in their own right, were also thriving, vibrant and convivial places to grow up. Children would roam the streets and play outdoors together, mothers would chat over back-yard walls while hanging out the washed clothes, and front doors were rarely closed or locked.

There was an intimacy and connection amidst it all that lent itself to a sense of place and community. It wasn’t idyllic of course, and many welcomed the opportunities economic growth brought – a chance to get work outside of the community, to earn higher wages, to get a university education, to move out to more upmarket neighbourhoods, to travel or move abroad.

However with that growth and social mobility, there was also an erosion of the bonds that tied people together in the places where they lived. In some suburban areas of Dublin, with people working long hours, facing long commutes and turning to more individual free-time activities it became common for people to barely know or interact with their neighbours and to feel less connected to the physical space they lived in. People were more likely to spend their free time in their high-spec newly purchased homes, than in the local park. Perceptions of safety changed, and children played less often outside with their peers. Hedges grew higher, doors were locked and supermarkets replaced the local grocer, butcher and bakers.

The shift in economic circumstances has brought with it a realignment of values in some communities

Fast forward to Ireland today, and something exciting is happening around community. Without undermining the harsh reality of increased unemployment for many families, the shift in economic circumstances has also brought with it a realignment of values in some communities across the country. People are feeling a need to look outwards, connect with those around them, and create opportunities for sharing, supporting one another and igniting initiatives that sustain local economies and make the places we live more enjoyable places to be. More people are attracted to networks and platforms that allow communities to pool and share resources, and in doing so build greater bonds of trust.

Cloughjordan Ecovillage is a registered educational charity and an internationally recognized destination for learning about sustainable living.

Residents regularly come together for pot-luck meals in people’s homes, and the village-wide email list acts as a means to communicate and share open invitations to parties, celebrations and events organised by individuals

Nowhere is this more prevalent than in the rural Irish community of Cloughjordan, Co Tipperary. A small village in the midlands, with a strong sense of community in its own right, it has in recent years become the location of Ireland’s only eco village project. The project, essentially a neighbourhood off the main street of the existing village, has inspired and contributed to a thriving, vibrant and interconnected community life. The design of the development itself encouraged a sense of sharing – homes are built without separate gardens for the most part, and the recreational space is instead a commonly owned and accessible plot of the overall land. There is a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm on the site, to which members contribute monthly sharing the produce and the risk. Freshly harvested vegetables are collected by members three times a week with an understanding that you take what you need, while being mindful of the needs of others. An arts collective has animated an empty property, offering accommodation, catering facilities and craft equipment for people to create, host and organise pop-up food and arts events. Residents regularly come together for pot-luck meals in people’s homes, and the village-wide email list acts as a means to communicate and share open invitations to parties, celebrations and events organised by individuals. It is this atmosphere and approach to collectively meeting the needs of individuals in the community that has made it such a great place to live, demonstrated by the fact that the community was listed as a runner-up in the Irish Times Best Places to Live as well as winning the LivCom International Award for most liveable communities.

The erosion of the fabric of community is not of course isolated to Ireland. Worldwide, particularly in urban environments, residents struggle to create a sense of connection and common belonging in the places they live. Great examples are emerging however, of how the sharing economy can enhance this sense of connection and place. Berlin, Germany demonstrates how the sharing economy can become part of the fabric of a city and its many suburbs. In the Prinzessinnengärten in the Kreuzberg area, a derelict site has been transformed into a space where members can harvest their own fresh vegetables, educational events take place, and there is a social space with a café and bar (selling non-profit beer of course!). Not too far down the road, the wonderful Weltkuche provides jobs and training for migrant women, and raises funds by selling delicious ethnic food to the public. On Fehrbelliner Strasse in the North East of the city, the first borrwing shop has kicked off a trend across the country, creating opportunities for people to borrow from a library of household items, rather than purchase the items individually.

The efficiency, enjoyment and ease with which communities and individuals are moving into this new way of transacting speaks volumes

In Australia, cities such as Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane are at the forefront of new ripples in the sharing economy. The oft-referenced AirBnB and Uber examples aside, people are matching unused bikes, empty driveways, empty sheds, excess clothing and cars with those who need them. The Secondbite project, established by a Melbourne couple has had great success in sourcing waste food, to provide nutritious catered food to community groups at reduced costs. The Welcome Dinner Project, is an excellent example of trust being built in the face of fears around new arrivals from the Middle East, organising shared meals in people’s homes for new arrivals and established Australians, transforming attitudes and forging friendships in the process.

It seems the core of these initiatives is the connection between people involved. For the most part, the efficiency, enjoyment and ease with which communities and individuals are moving into this new way of transacting speaks volumes, and sees increasingly more initiatives and projects emerging that connect resources and needs in ways that transcend traditional monetary exchanges. Advocates claim it is recreating the personal human interactions and connections that our modern economic model has eroded.


The Culture of Collaborative Consumption

Ever wonder what collaborative consumption has in common with students living together in college apartments, the hospitality and tourism industry, and New York cabbies?

And when we think of collaborative consumption, what do we think of?


We usually think of AirBnB and the like. These businesses do promote collaborative consumption, but to a smaller degree.

When AirBnB first started, it had a lot in common with college students sharing an apartment. One concept of AirBnB was to share the cost of living in an apartment with other people for a fraction of the price that it took to rent out a hotel room. On top of that – it was a more authentic experience for the person renting out the house/room since it was someone else’s home. Since then AirBnB has grown to become a global marketplace and a platform for landlords as well.

Today, college students still share and collaboratively consume services such as accommodation facilities in colleges, thereby lowering costs for each individual student, as compared to if a student had to rent out a whole apartment on their own by themselves.

In major cities like Tokyo, Singapore, and New York, car-sharing services and platforms have popped up as an answer to increasingly prohibitive costs to owning a car. Why cars? Because cabs are expensive, and sometimes, cars are more convenient when you need to go to a more isolated area.

Some carpool  services gain revenue from advertising, and others, charge a membership fee. However, most just share the cost of the travel plus a fee, and increase the efficiency of the transport system as a whole by reducing the number of vehicles on the road, as well as lowering pollution at the same time.

That is another key factor that we often overlook when considering as to why collaborative consumption is great for the public good as well as the consumer – lowered pollution is a key indicator of economic progress and prosperity.

Lowered pollution, which is also in line with less wastage, means more efficiency and productivity in a workforce and economy, which also means more profits and higher standards of living for everyone.

Consider this example – if everyone had a car that could seat 5 people and drove to work everyday, but only one person drove a car, would that not clog the roads and produce lots of smog? On top of that – the stress of being stuck in a traffic jam would piss everyone off so bad, that when they got to work, nothing is actually going to get done! But hey! Everyone has a nice 5 seater SUV!

Now consider the collaborative consumption alternative – public transport and car-sharing or ride-sharing in effect. Less smog from less vehicles on the road, a really smooth journey without jams. Sure, everyone might have to walk a bit when reaching their workplaces since the driver can’t drive up to everyone’s office doorstep, but the amount of time it takes to walk will be drastically lesser than the time spent and frustration gained from waiting in a traffic jam won’t it!

This is a prime example of how collaborative consumption can lower costs for us in our daily lives, it doesn’t need to be a complex model of sharing and collaboration, and can be beneficial to all parties involved.

Now, that’s an example for services. The collaborative consumption model has ‘traditionally’ worked for services rather than goods, since it’s harder to implement, but it has worked and is possible.

A prime example is used goods exchange platforms. Simply put, it is a place, or medium like a website where people go to buy, sell, resell, and most commonly – exchange the goods that they need with each other.

This is Collaborative Consumption too! People recycling their items, upcycling, by refurbishing them and then exchanging them for more value, as well as repairing, and then exchanging them for what they need!

Of course, this is lessened in our day and age, with our culture of consumerism and cheap goods, since it makes it easier to buy something way cheaper, and new, instead of going through the whole process of finding someone to exchange your item with, or giving it to someone who needs it more.

But wait! What if you considered this model of collaborative consumption instead? How would that benefit you?

Simply put – when you practice a culture of collaborative consumption, you create less waste since buying something much cheaper that breaks much faster will make more waste (and cost you more in the long term).

On top of that – when you practice a culture of collaborative consumption, you create a network of links that allow you to access more stuff than you would originally have, compared to if you had just gone to the store to replace your item.

These networks you build will also make it easier (and cheaper) to repair, replace, and find things you not only need, but want.

Everyone makes vintage fans these days, but are they really vintage? You actually find a vintage fan, but it’s broken, and here’s where the friends and people you meet while collaboratively consuming goods come in to help – there’s bound to be a tinkerer who can help you repair and refurbish the fan to working order.

Now, with the advent of the internet, you don’t have to limit yourself to your town – you can collaborate with people beyond your horizons, while consuming goods and services responsibly.