Why Sharing Is Good for Ourselves and Our World

Imagine how much better the world would be if sharing was stressed to adults in the same way it is to kindergarteners. It’s a shift that’s not only beneficial, but necessary according to the new book “Sharing Is Good: How to Save Money, Time and Resources through Collaborative Consumption,” authored by Care2.com’s own Beth Buczynski.

Our resident blogger Buczynski has plenty of experience writing posts about consumerism and sustainability, knowledge and research that carries over to the book. Despite tackling what could be a weighty subject, “Sharing Is Good” is a surprisingly quick read that manages to entertain while informing.

Though the title of the book, “Sharing Is Good,” may seem obvious, it’s a message that definitely has been lost in our contemporary consumerist world. We not only like buying things, we liking owning things. We associate our identity with our personal property and define our success by how little we have to rely on others. When people ask to borrow something, they are derided as mooches.

I remember when I was a kid, a neighbor asked to borrow my father’s drill. The first time my father considered it a neighborly favor, but when he was asked again two years later, his reaction was, “Why doesn’t he just go buy his own?” At the time, I believe I agreed, but looking back, my dad rarely if ever used the drill himself, and the neighbor only required it twice briefly, so it seems pretty silly that either of them needed to own the tool, let alone both of them.

Unfortunately, it’s not only a silly situation we’ve put ourselves in, but also a dangerous one. Our population is expanding, yet our resources are dwindling. The need to over-consume creates a lot of waste, pollution and debt. As Buczynski explains, we “consume 20 percent more natural resources than the Earth can replenish,”putting us on track for a global crisis.

It may seem dire, but rather than dwelling on impending destruction, the book maintains a refreshingly optimistic tone. With a conscious shift toward collaborative consumption, society can strike a balance to sustainably meet humanity’s needs. It’s not just a fantasy, either; Buczynski outlines the ways that some communities are already engaging in collaborative consumption, often without thinking about it explicitly.

For example, some communities have established tool-sharing libraries to cull items like lawnmowers, ladders and, yes, even drills, allowing a large group of people access to items they need only on occasion. Since, as the book points out, the average drill is used for roughly ten minutes in its whole existence anyway, this setup eliminates the need for everyone to own a drill, while simultaneously maximizing the use of each resource. Returning to my earlier anecdote, it certainly would have been beneficial for my neighborhood.

The shared tool shed is just one suggestion that Buczynski introduces in a shift toward a collaborative economy. Whereas most academic books would hash out the problem and conclude with a projection for the future, “Sharing Is Good” instead teaches its readers how to immediately start participating as collaborative consumers themselves. The second half of the book focuses on more than 150 different websites where participants can pool their resources.

Some of the websites, such as Craigslist, Kickstarter, Freecycle, Airbnb and Kiva are already mainstream operations with popular followings. Others were new — to me, anyway — but hold exciting possibilities:

  • Swapstyle.com allows fashion lovers to trade good condition clothing and accessories from one
  • Skillshare.com is a “global marketplace for classes” where members can teach each other skills via video.
  • SharingBackyards.com promotes urban gardening by linking people who wish they could garden but have no space with those who have an area to spare.

After going through this massive list of collaborative sites, it became clear to me that regardless of a person’s interests and financial situation, there are plenty of opportunities for individuals to jump in on the sharing marketplace.

“Sharing Is Good” is now available for purchase. As its message becomes increasingly imperative, it is a book that is likely to be shared time and time again between friends.


Michael H.
Mike H4 years ago

Thank you for posting this

Bonnie M.
Bonnie M4 years ago

Sharing is caring- to a point. Sadly, we live in a selfish society. No one would want to share with a neighbor their hi-end/ designer belongings. The new conversation is everyone busy with their handheld devices- no verbal exchange. So how could these people even care nor are they aware of what they could possibly share???

Nikolas Karman
Nikolas K4 years ago

Before the banksters with government puppets took over our world we shared everything and work and loved as a community which was what we now know as the garden of eden but we ejected ourselves from it when we signed up to the banksters in exchange for the bits of metal called coins that the banksters created out of thin air. They started with taking our food and produce as an offering to their manufactured gods then found it more profitable to gives us bits of silver for our goods and then taught us to give ten percent back to them plus if we were real evil and paid a higher price charged we would be saved/forgiven. The lie continues till this day and few are waking up to it.

Deborah W.
Deborah W4 years ago

Just check the balance of needy vs. greedy and see where we in the USA are as a nation. Can't even get it right at home ... what chance does the rest of the world have if their future depends on our help. Corruption clearly seems to rule.

Joy S.
Joy s4 years ago

We were put on this earth to care and to share!

Vicky P.
Vicky P4 years ago


Janet Gibbon
Janet G4 years ago

Interesting article with lots of good points and links.

Dianne L.
Dianne L4 years ago

I don't know why selfishness is so in fashion in the U.S.A. The people that scream no socialism is the very ones that have been helped through social programs. I would much rather help someone eat, learn, and be cured than putting our tax money in war technology and weapons. We are in "Dark Age" as Europe once was and at that time religious fever was at the lead as it is now in U.S.A.!

Fred Hoekstra
Fred Hoekstra4 years ago

Thank you Kevin, for Sharing this!

Joanna W.
Joanna W4 years ago