April 30, 2016

New Neighbours

In many places in Consumerland there aren't neighbours any more. Since we are too busy working and consuming to get to know the people that share our locality, we now have something more like "residential proximity associates".

Linda and I spent a decade living in a housing cooperative in Edmonton, AB. Not only did we know our immediate neighbours, we knew everyone in the entire 60 unit intentional community. We worked and played together, and it was the best neighbour situation we have ever had the pleasure of living in.

Since moving to Nova Scotia 2 years ago, we have discovered that our neighbours are one of the best parts of our  new living situation. This week we are celebrating getting even newer neighbours. Our small community on the old potato farm is growing, and we welcome the expanding diversity.

We didn't see when they set up house right next to ours. Packing light, they burrowed in and settled down seemingly overnight, possibly to raise a family. If so, we can expect 2 to 8 baby neighbours to emerge from their eco-friendly earthship home any time now.

Soon Linda and I will go over with a nice plate of roots, tubers and insects, introduce ourselves and welcome the new residents to the neighbourhood.

April 29, 2016

The Love Economy

Some work depends on money. Without cash it won't happen. Then there is a whole bunch of other work that is marked exactly because it does not depend on money. It depends on love.

Since love can't be quantified, in a money equivalent, all that caring work is worth something like 1 trillion dollars a year to the UK economy alone. Imagine what it would be globally. Many trillions of dollars worth.

All the non-money stuff falls under the category of "unpaid economy", although some more accurately call it the "love economy". It is just as big as the paid economy in number of hours worked, and without the support of this love economy the paid one would not exist.

The "real" economy is commonly understood to be the one in which cash is king. I think we have got it backwards.

The unpaid economy includes situation like volunteerism, caregiving, childcare, housekeeping and so many other wonderful activities. Our homes and communities are the foundation upon which every thing else is built. This is the real economy.

In the field of economics this area is vastly understudied, perhaps because the capitalist system can't figure out why anyone would do anything for free. It is hard to fit compassion into the formulas and spread sheets.

As a result, any activity that doesn't involve the exchange of money has been largely ignored and undervalued. People tend not to be attracted to the things that our culture undervalues. Therefore, we look for our success in the paid economy, and many miss out on the opportunities for meaningful unpaid work at home and in the community.

This is what is at the core of simple living for me - being able to enjoy the satisfying, essential work that takes place outside of the money world. When we do things out of love, rather than the love of money, magical things happen.

Yes, the money economy is important at this stage of human evolution. But it will never be as important as the love economy. Together with Mother Nature, love is what keeps things going on this planet.

We can live without money. You can't say the same for love.

April 27, 2016

A Revolution of Forgiveness and Love

Loving everything will change everything.

Our very existence is in peril. It is an easy time to dispense blame, and harbour resentment. We hate this person and that person - they are "part of the problem." Any plan or movement based on hate is doomed to produce more of the same, rather than the changes we need.

Some say, "People are destroying the world, and these people have addresses." Is the plan to go out in pitch fork mobs, round 'em up, and make 'em pay? In this scenario hating them is just punishment for their evil doing, and once they are collected up and punished to the full extent of the law, everything will be fine.

It is difficult not to hate perceived wrong doers. It almost feels automatic, which says a lot about our culture. It feels like you are doing something. And you are.

What we do by harbouring hate, and allowing resentment to reside in the heart, is hurt ourselves. It is eating poison and expecting your enemy to die. And if you want to reform your adversary, hate is hardly the tool to get that done.

Author Madame de Stael wrote, “To understand everything makes one tolerant, and to feel deeply inspires great kindness.” In other words, the more we know, the easier we forgive, and the kinder we are toward others. This is because the more we understand, the more we can see that the objects of our hate are mostly just like we are.

In their place, with their experience, would we do anything differently? We think we would, because they are "bad" and we are "good". But sit down with them, and find out they are actually quite human, maybe even nice. The neat boundaries of good vs bad start to get blurry.

If accusation and hate are the problems, then forgiveness and love are the solutions. That does not mean we can't dislike certain situations, but let's propose solutions that come from a different place, and maybe we will get different, more positive results.

We can only do that through practicing forgiveness and love until it becomes our natural default reaction to all situations and people.

Overcoming Resentment and Hate

  • visualize the object of your hate. Send them love.
  • think about the futility and harm that results from taking the poison of hate.
  • real victories come from being understanding, even tempered and loving.
  • don't like someone? Ponder their good points, something you admire about them.
  • develop your patience, quick to listen, slow to judge.
  • forgiveness allows us to enjoy a more pleasant world with less conflict and a more fulfilling experience of those around us.

If your revolution is a "fight" or "war" against someone or something, count me out. If your revolution does not include joyful playing, dancing and singing, count me out.

If your revolution is not coming from a place of forgiveness and love, again, I'm out.

April 25, 2016

What Do We Want, Really, Really Want?

You can't buy this in any store for any amount of money.

Life requires that the living consume things. In that regard, humans are consumers, even if we don't shop. When we can't get the things that we need and really want, we transfer our desires and consume other things. Habits set in, and we forget about what it was that we wanted in the first place. A downward spiral ensues.

Look around. Is all this what we really want? Are our homes, garages, basements and storage lockers filled with things that truly make our lives better? Has our record level of consumption created a global society we are proud of? Does our health reflect the health of our institutions and environment?

Maybe what we have been told we should want isn't what we need to be getting.

What do we want? Really, really want? Cheap plastic crap? Packaged holidays? Uninspiring work? Big Brother looking over our shoulder? A giant bank account? I don't think so. These are all pale replacements for our real heart's yearnings.

When we can't get these needs fulfilled, we turn to less attractive alternatives. Addictive substances and situations, like TV, movies, video games, shopping, and competitive travel make us feel something for a while, but like any drug, we develop a tolerance with repeated use.

We need more of the same to get a kick. Pretty soon we need an infinite amount just to feel normal. That is because what we are getting is not what we need, or want deep inside.

What we really, really want is love. We want to have a higher purpose. Humanity wants to feel harmony with each other and with nature. To express ourselves emotionally, creatively and spiritually. To be touched, held, and groomed. To belong to a supportive community. To contribute to the well-being of the world.

That is what I think we really want, and you can't buy that stuff anywhere.

As we are remembering our primal urges, and getting what we really want and need, everything else is changing. The flimsy substitutes have a hold on us no longer. Our habits are changing, and the world is changing with us.

April 22, 2016

I'm Alive

"I'm ALIVE!" he cried.

I am alive, and it feels great. When Linda and I chose to live simply it was so we could feel more alive more often. It has paid off. We have no regrets.

Here are a few things that make me feel alive.

  • being in nature
  • riding my bike
  • spending time with Linda, my best friend and companion
  • writing
  • meditating
  • reading a good book
  • cooking and eating a good vegetarian meal
  • exercising
  • listening to birds and frogs and bees and wind and rain and thunder
  • making music, singing, listening to tunes
  • contemplating death
  • spending time with family and friends

What makes you feel alive?

April 20, 2016

One Million Dollars To Retire?

One million dollars. That is how much financial experts say a person needs in the bank in order to retire. I'm not sure that is a realistic expectation for the average person, but I wonder if it is even necessary.

Besides whether it is possible or necessary, another problem with retirement financial planning is that it is all dependent on the exploitation that is leading to the destruction of our planet. This system does not operate on right and wrong, legal and illegal. Its sole consideration is profit.

Everything else goes. Consequences are ignored, trivialized, or "mitigated". You may get more money in your account, but at what cost?

I don't know about you, but I don't want to be associated with any of that. Neither does a commenter on this blog who writes:

"There is this thought that I have been having lately and I wonder how you would consider it. I like your emphasis on simplicity and de-coupling from rogue consumer capitalism. My question is, how do you account for a future retirement? 
Sadly, almost every investment vehicle is tied to the stock market, which is tied to neoliberal capitalism exploiting people and the planet, of course with the help of our intelligence agencies and government politicians. 
There are few ways to invest that don't necessitate that one gets some money in the stock market to keep up with inflation and price increases. 
So I'd like to see you do a post about planning for retirement, or thinking about retirement, in an economic way that is responsible that does not perpetuate the status quo. 
I am just beginning the process of personally extracting myself from rogue capitalism the best I can, because I can see now how destructive it has been to entire populations and the environment, but there are several challenges to account for. 
The notion of retirement itself is a made up phenomenon to support capitalistic structures, but nonetheless, on a scaled down version, there may come a day where one can't work."

That is a tall order. But if we are lucky, we will grow old and probably experience a time when we can't work in the same way as when we were younger. What to do?

I have asked many bank financial advisors about exactly these types of things. I have asked about socially and environmentally responsible and ethical investments. All queries were met with silence and a stunned look. Obviously these important considerations are not covered in bank "wealth management" school.

"Please check your love of the People and the Earth at the door. It's all about the money, folks. And if a client asks about anything ethical, freeze like a bad Skype connection." I looked at a major banks website and searched it for "ethical". I wasn't surprised by the results.

The big bank site had lots of hits when it came to touting how ethical they are in everything they do. They are ethical, all their suppliers are ethical, all their practices are ethical. Yup. It says right here in our Code of Conduct and Ethics.

After looking at several pages of hits, it became obvious that there was nothing about my ability as a customer to be able to purchase ethical investments. Nothing.

That is because there is nothing ethical about big banking business, and the commenter above is on the money when it comes to getting involved in the fraud that is modern banking. Hmm. More fraud, that included "as many as 20 big banks", can be found here. Bank fraud is common practice.

That is why I also do not want to have anything to do with financial industry. I am not willing to support organized crime, and mortgage the planet so my money can make money to fund a long period of not earning income.

What good is a million dollar retirement portfolio if you don't have a healthy planet to enjoy it on?

So how do we ever retire? Fewer people these days even think it a possibility as they plan on carrying debt well into their retirement years. In my lifetime we have gone from a single wage earner being able to support a family with a reasonable standard of living, then retire at 65 without worries, to having a mortgage at 75, and still having to work at 85.

Maybe we need a whole new way of looking at things, since the status quo is not yielding the benefits it once did.

I can share some things that Linda and I have done since starting down the path toward retirement. While we were anticipating early health challenges, we would have taken the same path regardless. We wanted to live a more balanced and benign lifestyle as soon as we could. That is what we have always wanted.

  • Eliminate debt. Maximize freedom. 
  • Save, save, save. Put any money that comes in into savings.
  • Reduce expenses. Be content with less. 
  • Question what you really need. Even the basics can be expensive, never mind the luxuries.
  • Check if you qualify for benefits. Are you eligible for local/national benefits, such as an old age pension? If you are eligible, sign on as soon as you can.
  • If you invest - ask about ethical or socially responsible investments. Choose vehicles that do no harm, if that is possible. Better yet, invest in a garden. Or your community. Start a cooperative venture.
  • Bank at your local credit union. Credit unions are there for the people.
  • Think differently, and live simply.

We have also learned to let money flow freely into, and out of, our lives. We have made a conscious effort to not worry too much about it. Sixteen years ago when Linda and I quit our full time jobs to pursue the simple life, someone asked, "What about retirement?"

I laughed. Life seemed too short to let something like having to amass a small fortune stop us from extricating ourselves from the consumer illusion to live simply and peacefully.

"I am retired," I responded.

It is difficult making these important decisions - the answers are never easy. The experts would tell me I am an idiot for not investing carefully in a balanced portfolio. Ethically I can not bring myself to do it.

I have enough to enjoy this moment (and what else is there?), and trust that the universe is bountiful and has a way of providing for our simple needs in amazing and wondrous ways.

April 18, 2016

Beat Your Wings, Change The World

With all that is happening to harm our world today it is easy to fall prey to despair. Too often despair leads to a feeling of powerlessness and a sensation of being overwhelmed. We stop. We give up. This is not what the world needs.

What we need at this critical juncture is hope and optimism. We want to feel that what we are doing is making a meaningful difference.

Sure there is a lot of harmful stuff going on, but so is there a lot of beauty in the world. There is a lot to be hopeful and optimistic about, and when we indulge these, we honour the good works that are right now changing the world.

Here are a few reasons I am feeling hope and optimism this morning:

- if a butterfly's beating wings can cause weather changes, then I trust that my practice of simplicity also has far reaching effects that can not be understood with conventional, limiting thinking.

The Butterfly Effect says that small changes can lead to great results. What we do as individuals matters. Live a harmonious, even anonymous life, and change the world.

- we have had everything we need to create a better world for many generations. With each generation that passes we are adopting more and more of these things, and are open to adopting more.

- ecological awareness is growing causing more and more of us to recognize that transforming the way we do things is required if we are to save ourselves. With each passing day we are more open to entertaining grand ideas and wholesale shifts. Readiness to do what is required is reaching a tipping point.

- an increasing sector of the population knows how to get stuff, but find its acquisition empty and leaves them wanting. Consumerism isn't getting the same bang for its buck. We are looking for something freer, simpler, more authentic, creative and satisfying.

- as a global family, we are leaving the concept of scarcity behind and adopting a new ethos of abundance. If there is enough to give a small group of individuals more wealth than over half the human population, then there is obviously enough to ensure everyone has a decent standard of living.

Nature is abundant. We are nature. We live with abundance surrounding us, and are now starting to see this.

I am seeing more out there about providing everyone with a Guaranteed Annual Income than I have ever seen before. All of Mother Nature should benefit from her gifts.

I know that we are doing this thing. We are changing the world. It is constantly happening, quietly, imperceptibly and inevitably. Rather than despair at what is not yet happening, I am refocusing on the hope and optimism that is provided by all the good things that ARE happening.

Don't look for the good news to be reported in corporate newspapers. I would love to see the headline "Hope and Optimism Sweeps The Planet", but what you are more likely to find there is despair and fear. Despair and fear that they tell you can be alleviated by buying more stuff. That is not good news - that is old news.

Where you will find the good news in your daily life. Little moments of magic as you and those around you make decisions based on the heart rather than the wallet. That has far reaching consequences that will lead us to a more compassionate planet.

Beat your wings, change the world.

April 15, 2016

Our Love For The Planet

I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you...

Billionaire, pauper, left, right, or centre, regardless of our affiliation, we have more in common with each other than that which seems to make us different. Of those commonalities, our love for the planet is probably the most universal and deeply felt.

After many years of evolving along with everything else in nature, we have an unbreakable bond with our beautiful planet. We want to love it, kiss it, hug it, and care for it with a tender touch.

Just as we have a desire to belong to the human family, we also long to feel at one with the larger family of living things. In the rare moment that we feel the bonds that join us, we realize we are not individual beings, but are integral pieces in the system of life, each of us playing our own part.

Engaging in harmful behaviours will eventually (if we are of sound mind) come back to us as remorse, which originally meant "to bite again". What we do comes back to bite us. Whatever we do to the Earth or each other, we do to ourselves. Ouch.

We can feel when our behaviour is harmful, and we can feel when it is harmonious. When we make decisions that benefit others and the planet it feels good. No remorse. No regrets.

So don't live simply to save money, or to save anything, or to be more free.

Live simply as an expression of your love for the planet.

April 13, 2016

We Are All One

What if my thumb took over my hand? Would that benefit the overall functioning of my collection of digits? What if the fingers decide to smash the thumb with a hammer? Would not the whole hand feel the pain?

We are all one. We are all together like fingers on a hand, inextricably linked.

It is counterproductive to hit the thumbs of the world with a hammer, because all the fingers will feel the pain. What we need to do, is agree that what is good for thumbs, is good for fingers, is good for the whole hand.

Not only are we one with each other, we are one with everything else. There is no separation between me and you. Or between us and the trees, the worms, the water, the rocks, the clouds, the stars.

We cannot pluck one part of the web of life without causing the whole web to wobble. It is all linked. 

When I love the planet, I love the one. When I don't, the pain is felt everywhere, especially in myself. 

We are one. One big hand passing over the cosmos, working to fulfill our collective purpose, which is to stroke, sustain and nurture life. All life. 

We are coming together again, and making the hand whole so it can manifest its destiny and set everything back in its proper place.

We will be one, again.

April 11, 2016

We Don't Do Bicycles Here, Or Trains, Or Buses

Bicycle use is high in China.

I live in North America - the land of the personal motor vehicle. Here, the car is king. Train travel was never that good, but now it is basically non-existent. No trains, and our inter-provincial bus service, after sucking for decades, is also disappearing.

People don't really ride bicycles either, and public transportation has always been seen as something for people who can't afford a car, or who are too old to drive.

Car ownership is one of our only rites of passage as we enter adulthood. That and drinking. What could go wrong? Lots, it turns out.

It is a total waste. We have put all our efforts into the least efficient, most expensive, and most dangerous mode of transportation. But that shiny, new car sure does look good in the driveway, and you can't really be successful without one, can you?

You can.

Just about anywhere I have traveled in the world I have been envious of all the transportation alternatives available to successful people. Trolly cars, frequent affordable train service, buses like I have never seen before, dolmushes, extensive underground metro systems, tuk tuks, scooters, and motorcycles all figure heavily in the transportation mix.

And bicycles. Lots and lots of bicycles.

"Based on our new database, it is estimated that in 2015 bicycles account for about 6 percent of urban trips worldwide. However, more than half of documented cycling trips occur in China, Japan, and a few European countries such as the Netherlands and Denmark.  
In the United States and Canada urban cycling is estimated to account for only about1 percent of trips." - source

If you are addicted to cars, you are missing out. Riding a bike, besides being crazy fun, has many advantages. It uses less energy, produces less harmful emissions, and is less expensive than driving.

"Cycling is associated with higher rates of physical activity, reduced air pollution, lower traffic congestion, and calmer urban traffic that can reduce road-crash-related fatalities and injuries. 
Cycling can have a substantial positive impact on the world’s future, saving US$24 trillion dollars over the next thirty-five years and dramatically improving quality of life for the world’s rapidly urbanizing population."

It has been shown that when public policy and infrastructure support bicycle use, people will increasingly choose this sustainable, health-enhancing mode of travel. We should be pushing for more bike-friendly conditions to encourage cycling.

Do it for your health. Do it for your bank account. Do it for the environment. Do it for fun. Do it because it is often faster than driving short distances. What ever the reason, park that car and ride a bike today.

Next we can start working on our train and bus networks.

April 8, 2016

Ecotherapy Alleviates Ecoanxiety

Acacia Brook joyfully anticipates rejoining the ocean just downstream from this special place.
You can hear the water laughing.

I think that everyone should have a special place. For as long as I can remember I have had one. Although it doesn't have to be, it is usually someplace outside in nature. These places provide me with the soothing effects of ecotherapy that I require to overcome ecoanxiety.

One thing I have found while moving from one part of Canada to another, and I imagine it is the same anywhere on our beautiful planet, is that every location has its own share of special places waiting to sooth the ravaged human soul.

A grove of ancient hemlock trees is one of my favourite ecotherapy special places.

My favourite spots are ones that I can get to by walking, snowshoeing, or cycling. 

That includes my current special places that I have discovered since moving to Nova Scotia a couple of year ago. One of my favourites is a 5 km ride from our home (which is at the highest point in the county) down to  sea level where our backyard brook enters the Atlantic ocean.

Acacia Brook in our backyard is about 6 km from the ocean. It is a tranquil place to visit by snowshoe.

These escapes are where I go when I need some down time. Visiting special places in nature I can relax and be absorbed by the landscape, lose myself. After a while I begin to feel balanced and whole, and feel like I can move forward with strength and intention.

Regular visits to a special place in nature will go a long way toward battling whatever ails you, including ecoanxiety. As concern grows over the state of the environment, emotional distress often results. How could it not? What we do to the earth we do to ourselves.

This spot is a quick getaway, close to home. I can walk or bike to this spot. Wheelchair accessible, too.

Enter the healing balm of mother nature.
"A 2007 study from the University of Essex in the U.K., for example, found that a walk in the country reduces depression in 71% of participants. The researchers found that as little as five minutes in a natural setting, whether walking in a park or gardening in the backyard, improves mood, self-esteem, and motivation." - source
We can't help the environment if we don't help ourselves first. I know this as a caregiver for Linda.  So I let nature help me.

We are all caregivers when it comes to the environment. Find yourself a special place. Visit often. Feel the healing. Return the favour.

April 6, 2016

Electric Vehicles Reduce Demand For Fossil Fuels

The problem with electric cars. I prefer my bicycle over internal combustion or electric vehicles.

When are line ups good news? When they are at electric vehicle charging stations. Good news because these line ups are a sign that our world is undergoing an energy revolution, the likes of which have not been seen since 1970 when crude oil triumphed after 60 years, and achieved #1 status in the global energy mix.

It was Henry Ford and the internal combustion engine that pushed our transition from coal and wood as the major energy sources, to liquefied fuels suitable for the family car. Our insatiable thirst for this new fuel helped create some of the largest, most profitable, and most harmful corporations ever.

Exploitative oil companies think that our fossil fuel future will be pretty much the same as it is now, at least the next 50 years. And their fabricated anti-change propaganda is trying to make sure that this is the case. It is all occurring at a time when the experts are saying we need to transition to a carbon-neutral world right now. Not 50 years from now.

Koch Industries is one such company that has benefited from petroleum production for our car-based society. The Koch brother's father started the company after inventing a way to refine heavy oil into petrol. Now his climate-denying sons are among the richest men in the world, and they like to spend their money obstructing a change that may be slowed, but won't be obstructed.

Meanwhile, line ups are likely to continue until a solar powered infrastructure to support demand is developed. Currently the growth in sales of EVs (electric vehicles) is 50% annually, and this is projected to continue to the end of this decade.

The transportation world is changing, now. We may not hear much about it in mainstream circles, but all over the world people are making choices that are ushering in a new energy era. If electric cars continue to jolt the car and oil industries, there may be a fossil fuel flop in the future.

That would be good news, too. More good news would be if bicycles also figured prominently in the new energy ethos. 

April 5, 2016

Avoid Taxes - Legally and Ethically

What to avoid taxes? Legally? I know a way, because I haven't paid income tax for years, and I pay very little in consumption taxes either.

Now that the Panama Papers have been revealed to the world, we are again reminded how the rich scam the system for their own selfish benefits. Our lame leaders tell us we have to accept austerity because "there isn't enough money", while billions, if not trillions, of dollars are being hidden from the taxman by pathological cash collectors.

I have something in common with those wealthy tax avoiders - I pay little very little in taxes. But I do it legally and ethically. In Canada, individuals with low income pay little to no income tax. I imagine that this is similar in most developed nations.

Not that I have a problem with taxes. A democracy will thrive when everyone pays their fair share. But I don't mind not funding war. Or corporate welfare. Or paying the way for rich people shirking their civic and moral duty.

According to a Tax Justice Network report from 2011, Canada loses an estimated $80 billion per year to all forms of tax evasion.

I also don't pay much tax in the way of consumption. Most Canadian provinces have a sales tax, and the one that doesn't, probably soon will. Nova Scotians pay 15% total sales tax (highest in the country) on most everything, except on things like some foods and pharmaceuticals.

I don't need an offshore tax shelter ran by sleazy big time law and accounting firms to avoid taxes. I just have to be comfortable living with a low income, and curtail my consumption.

Trying to buy everything by hiding your money  and avoiding paying taxes is a hassle, and in some cases illegal. Maintaining a low income and buying next to nothing to avoid taxes is easy. And within the law, as well as ethical. It is also good for the Earth.

April 4, 2016

Spring Eating

Our fridge purged and cleaned after spring eating. No bad food surprises hiding here.

Spring cleaning our home is something we do most years around this time. We also usually do a bit of spring eating. Occasionally the two go together.

Last week our menu consisted of whatever was in our fridge. We vowed to not go food shopping till our fridge was purged of all aged food items. It is a good way to make sure that you have a 100% circulation of food so as to minimize waste and maximize nutrient content.

When doing our spring eating we eat what needs to be eaten rather than what we want to eat. It makes for some interesting cooking when sticking to only what is immediately available. Old apples? Apple crisp. Carrots, celery, green pepper, onions, tofu? Stir fry. Or add a can of tomatoes and make pasta sauce.

It lasted longer than we expected, too. We hadn't been to the food store for over two weeks by the time we ate through everything.

After we noshed our way through most everything in the fridge, I cleaned it from top to bottom. Being mostly empty, it was fairly easy and fast. When that was done we stocked up with fresh munchables.

Now the fridge is clean and fresh, just like the food it contains. Here's to new beginnings. And home cooked fresh, whole foods.

April 1, 2016

Library of Things

Sacramento Public Library's "Library of Things" section. They buy it, store it, maintain it, and share it.

We teach our kids to share. Sharing is nice. People who want you to buy their stuff don't like it. They tell us everyone can, and should, have their own stuff. Millennials, and many others, don't care, and the sharing economy is starting to emerge in a big way.

The Sacramento Public Library recently started a “Library of Things”, allowing patrons to check out, among other things, sewing machines and other items that they may find useful, but don’t need to own long-term.

As libraries increasingly go bookless, facilitating the sharing of things other than books is an exciting innovation for the libraries of the post-consumer future.

Essentially a Library of Things is a space where you can borrow useful items like DIY tools, gardening things, art supplies, musical instrument, cooking supplies, and whatever else the community decides is important. There is also the opportunity to learn how to use items in 1-to-1 sessions and workshops, and meet neighbours.

These innovative undertakings can be part of public libraries, but also as part of a cooperative, or structured as non-profits. There is no reason why a neighbourhood or community couldn't do the same thing for the benefit of all.

We can thank the Millennial stuff-light stance toward consumerism for driving this sharing trend. They want access, not ownership. We have all known since childhood that sharing is good, but this generation is continuing to practise it as grown ups.

When we share, fewer items need to be made, and fewer resources need to be torn from the good earth. I can think of a few things that I could use, but don't need to or want to own. I am sure we all can. Watch for a Library of Things coming to a neighbourhood near you in the near future.

Imagine how much money you could save by sharing rather than buying. Imagine how Zen your garage would look.