The power of sharing is that it is easy, very cheap and fun – and it helps everyone.

The following has been adapted from an article by by Janelle Orsi, and is on great website about sharing: The Sharing Solution.

The power of sharing is unique in several ways:

Sharing is naturally contagious. Sharing opens up a pattern of generosity and mutual care that breeds on itself. A lot of other things we do to change the world aren’t quite so viral. One person reducing his or her waste, for example, may or may not inspire a neighbour to do so. But offering to let your neighbour use your basketball hoop or take lemons from your tree can open up the flood gates of sharing.

Sharing is self-serving. Sharing helps us meet our needs more efficiently and cheaply, and sharing our water-blaster with a neighbor might mean that she will let us use her spa pool. Sharing builds community, which makes us happier people. Cooperation has been shown to release endorphins. So there’s no need to force anyone to share — people will naturally start doing it to enjoy the benefits.

Sharing frees up time, energy, and resources. For those of us who are spread way too thin, sharing saves resources, money, time, and energy, thereby freeing us up to garden, compost, recycle, hang our laundry, ride our bicycle, volunteer, advocate for social and environmental justice, and do things to help ourselves and the planet. We’ll all get a little more rest and the support of a community of sharers. In short, sharing gives the grassroots the time, energy, and resources we need to grow a better world.

Sharing connects all of our sustainable acts and multiplies them. People are making changes everywhere – planting urban food gardens, composting their food waste, and installing solar panels. But many of these we do in isolation. Sharing adds the element of community, which boosts the potential and the impact of everything we do. Neighbours can get together to jointly purchase or bargain for solar power, or they can start a neighborhood compost project. It’s more efficient, and each additional person who joins the effort multiplies the benefit to the earth and to the others in the group. Much of what we do to save the world can be done better if we organise and cooperate, and it can be much more fun that way, too!

We don’t need someone else to do anything. We don’t have to wait until our government starts a new program or provides needed funding. We don’t need to change the laws. We don’t have to wait until a scientist invents a solution. We don’t even need to form a charity and fundraise to get started. We just start sharing. Today.

Every single one of us can share. Sharing is something that everyone can do. Even a curmudgeon, even a poor person, even a busy person. The hardest part is getting started, ironing out the details, understanding everyone’s expectations, and figuring out the logistics. The book The Sharing Solution was written to help everyone through that part. So otherwise, there’s nothing stopping any of us from sharing.

Sharing is something we can do right now. Somehow we need to create a sustainable economy. There are all kinds of approaches to this — some folks reform the system, lobbying, advocating, and making changes bit-by-bit. This is important, but it’s very slow. Others proposebringing down the system. This would be messy, very messy. Fortunately, we really don’t need to remove the system before we can start replacing it. We can start sharing, nourishing our local economies, going organic, and creating rewarding green-collar job opportunities.