Global Sharing Day
The act of sharing is deeply imbedded in the human psyche as something we have practiced for millennia in our communities and families. But sharing is once again creating a buzz, and rightly so given the huge benefits of implementing this simple human behaviour into the way we organise our economies, tackle poverty and respond to climate change.
As part of Global Sharing Day, the Greatest Share on Earth will provide the first ever opportunity for people across the world to simultaneously share goods, services, time, knowledge and skills with their wider community. Sharing and redistributing things that we own but rarely use - from cars and office space to drills and clothes - can significantly reduce the rate at which people consume goods and resources and pave the way to a more environmentally sustainable economic system.
Not only do these local acts of sharing potentially save us money and make us happy, they also provide an important analogy for how nations should manage resources at the global level. In a world where we are consuming 50 percent more resources than the planet can sustainably produce, nations must find new models for sharing the world's natural resources in a way that benefits people more equitably while preserving the environment for future generations.
As outlined in a recent report by Share The World's Resources (STWR), the sharing economy isn't just a local phenomenon centred on new forms of collaborative consumption. Although largely unrecognised as such, systems of welfare and the provision of public services are perhaps the most important expressions of the sharing economy ever established. Through the process of progressive taxation and redistribution, we share a portion of the nation's financial resources for the benefit of society as a whole. In an era of austerity and rising levels of poverty and inequality, it is crucial to recognise on Global Sharing Day that these forms of national sharing must also be scaled up and not further undermined.
Just as importantly, much more must be done to reinforce the global sharing economy in order to help address what can only be described as a worldwide emergency. Every day, 40,000 people die from preventable poverty-related causes and millions more are deprived of the basic essentials of food, water, adequate shelter and healthcare. At the same time, austerity measures are widening existing inequalities and causing unnecessary hardship for millions of people in countries across the world. As detailed in STWR's report ‘Financing the global sharing economy', the international community could rapidly mobilise over $2.8 trillion dollars to prevent life-threatening deprivation, reverse austerity measures and mitigate the human impacts of climate change.
If our goal is to live in a sustainable world without needless deprivation or poverty-related deaths, then we need to strengthen the sharing economy in all its forms. Global Sharing Day is an important opportunity to shine a spotlight on the growing demand to scale up systems of sharing and redistribution across the world.
1. To learn more of STWR's perspective on the sharing economy, read our latest report: Financing the Global Sharing Economy. You can download the report, read it on Issuu or request a hard copy on our website: www.stwr.org
2. Financing the Sharing Economy: From 12-2pm, STWR will be participating at one of the main events in London on the theme of Financing the Sharing Economy. We'll present our ideas around the need to think about sharing in global and political terms, as well as in relation to social entrepreneurism and community-based sharing. Do register to come along if you're based near London.
3. The Greatest Share on Earth: From 1-2pm, everyone is encouraged to take part in The Greatest Share on Earth by spending an hour sharing goods, services, time, knowledge and skills in an attempt to set a world record for the most sharing happening in a single hour. The aim is to shine a spotlight on the rapidly emerging sharing economy, bringing together entrepreneurs, social investors and the public to discuss new business models based around the sharing of resources.
4. Parliamentary Reception: From 6.15-8.15pm, The People Who Share is hosting ‘The Sharing Economy: Our Democratic Future', a celebration of sharing at the House of Commons. Speakers include Mike Barry, Head of Sustainability at Marks and Spencer; Benita Matofska of The People Who Share; and politicians and the Big Society Network who will discuss how the sharing economy is offering opportunities for communities across the UK.