Sunday, December 2, 2007

Day 135 - Either A Borrower Or A Lender Be

Doing What I Tell My Kids To Do: Sharing

There's been a lot of discussion in my Compact Group recently about the importance of sharing. We all know that it's the nice thing to do, the neighborly thing to do, but rarely do we think of it as the ecological thing to do. But it is.

Think about all the items in your home that are used so infrequently that you might not miss them if they were gone for a week, a month or even a season. From weed-whackers to rakes, sports gear to power tools, we all have items we don't use on a regular basis. All of these possessions you have stowed away in the attic, basement or garage may be of use to your neighbor or friend. Why not let them borrow instead of buying?

Just as there are HUGE eco-savings to be had when buying used products, borrowing leaves a nary an ecological toeprint. Savings from borrowing include: the resources required to manufacture the product, all the packaging associated with buying new, the transportation required to ship the product to the store, the cost of keeping the store open, lit and heated, etc. All of this disappears when we share with our neighbors instead of buying our own item from BigBoxMart.

I'll be the first to admit, I'm not always the best when it comes to sharing. Somewhere along the line, I became... well, possessive of my possessions. I worry that if I were to lend something out, it might get damaged or lost. A valid fear, some may say.

Well, as you all know, I don't ever post about something I'm not actually willing to try and so I've given this 'sharing' issue quite a bit of thought. I've decided that if I'm going to really embarce sharing, I'll need to adopt a new way of looking at my possessions. Here's what I've come up with:

Products are not people. People count. Products don't.

Not very catchy and it doesn't rhyme, but it does remind me of where my priorities lie. How sad is it that I need be reminded of such things anyhow? Shouldn't that be an inherent human truth? That stuff is just stuff and if it were all gone tomorrow and all I had left were family and friends, I would still be ok.

Wow, pretty philosophical post today. I must have loaned out my sarcasm. Hopefully it'll be returned to me in time for tomorrow's post.



Difficulty Level: 2 out of 5

Lending out my possessions will be easy. I have a four year old son and a two year old daughter. My house is at maximum capacity of people who don't share well. And I simply do not need to be one of them.

Borrowing, on the other hand, will be slightly more difficult. Why does it take a bit of pride-swallowing to ask your neighbor if you can use his seed spreader? Is there some weird human chromosome that makes not having your own seed spreader seem like a personal inadequacy? Do we really think our neighbors stand around and gossip about it?

Pssst: Did you hear? That freaky eco-chick doesn't have a seed
spreader. What the hell is wrong
with her?... And what's with her hair?

Ah, it seems my sarcasm has already been returned. See? Sharing really does work!


Green Bean said...

You are so right. I am trying to remember to borrow from my neighbors - and to offer to lend. None of my offers have been accepted yet but it takes time to change our way of thinking.

amecoy75002 said...

How True. I also wrote about this in my blog. My neighborhood has been doing this type of bartering for years.

Love your Blogs


christyb said...

I saw a "wanted" post on Freecycle where the person asked for an extension ladder. I have one, it's almost new so I am not ready to pass it on. I thought I should offer to lend it but then thought: it was so expensive what if they don't bring it back or they break it or they fall off it and sue me and I loose my house and then I can't afford to have my teeth cleaned and then I have to start offering my services (if you know what I mean), which doesn't work because I have to pay them and now I am homeless, toothless and getting deeper in debt all because I loaned out a ladder. Then....

I read this post and in addition to laughing I was really touched by your mantra. So...

I offered to lend my extension ladder. Turns out the lady only needs it for one project. She came by tonight to borrow it. I shared with her your mantra. Thank you for your inspiration.