It’s eerily quiet on the roads right now because of these dastardly lockdowns. That means thousands of cars are sitting in garages, unused. Many of us have had less need for a car as we’re working from home. Even groceries can be ordered in these days. How many of us have become like the cliché grandma who only uses her car to drive to church on Sundays?
Maybe this reality could be turned into an opportunity…
You know those colourful bikes and scooters scattered around in the city, that you can rent with a few dollars? They’re part of what’s called “microbility”. Renting bikes, scooters and mopeds is a growing phenomenon. Read about it here. Allied Market Research tells us the microbility market was valued at $40.19 billion in 2020.
Some of these bike-share companies have resulted in thousands of bikes being dumped and destroyed. Hardly good for sustainability! But other companies have introduced docking stations to prevent dumping.
And even better… companies like BikeSA in Adelaide and Ecobici in Buenos Aires, Argentina have introduced a revolutionary concept – bikes to borrow, free for up to an hour! Soon Ecobici will have 200 docking stations and 3000 free bikes.
What if we could dust off our cars and rent them out in a similar way?
Not using our cars is meant to be good for the environment. But when lockdowns end, surely it would be better for the environment, and people too, if cars – and bikes – were shared?
What if half of us didn’t need to own a car at all? Imagine the savings? Each neighbourhood could have a virtual garage on an app – and book cars when needed. A basic subscription would cover registration, upkeep, insurance and petrol costs.
Sustainability – tick! More money in the pockets of everyday people instead of big corporations – tick!
What if we did the same thing with our bikes and other wheeled transport? Like motorbikes, mopeds and mobility scooters.
And what if this concept could even relate to food? Yes, food.
When a third of all food produced globally is said to go to waste (according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization), so what if “street fridges” were a solution?
What if each street had a fridge – a bit like the old phone booths on nature strips everyone used to access? Residents could leave food in these share-fridges… food that is still fresh but will otherwise go unused.
Foodbank shares the shocking fact that three in 10 Australians are now experiencing food insecurity. Street share-fridges could solve this problem. Imagine not only shrinking needless waste but supporting each other simply by keeping track of what is hiding behind the cheese on the top shelf.
What if this concept was applied to belongings that are rarely used? Like tools, mowers, kitchen appliances, laminators, camping gear, caravans and technology? This non-profit called Sharing Shed manages what they call a “library of things” here in Melbourne.
What if every single street had a designated sharing-shed? Less buying and more sharing would mean more people being able to access more items – and more opportunities.
What if sharing wheels, food and belongings connected us more with our neighbours? Would this bold sustainability concept eradicate crime plus improve health and wellbeing by giving each of us a stronger sense of family and belonging in our neighbourhoods?
Or… would fights break out and have us regretting that (crazy) sharing lifestyle?