The case for collaborative consumption
Hello I’m Salima, E-180’s new English Community Manager. After spending a couple years living in Ethiopia and working as a photojournalist and communications consultant, I became inspired to work with organisations that help to build connections between people and help find the threads people have in common across borders and boundaries. In this post I write about a memorable experience with collaborative consumption whilst searching for a sense of community as an Anglophone in Quebec City….
Collaborative Consumption: The reinvention of old market behaviors – renting, lending, swapping, bartering, gifting – through technology, taking place on a scale and in ways never possible before. (Thanks to www.collaborativeconsumption.com for the definition!)
I have been reflecting lately on the things that helped me build a sense of community in cities I have lived in. Where did I find information? How did I meet people? What movements did I feel a part of? One of the experiences that has stuck with me the most was interacting with members of L’accorderie in Quebec City.
L’accorderie is essentially a service exchange, where you create offers of services you can provide to people and you trade services with hours. Every skill is worth the same. One hour of massage equals one hour of tech support for your computer, one hour of cleaning can equal an hour of language lessons and so forth. The services don’t have to be traded with the same person, giving you access to a diverse range of skills, knowledge and people.
I recall being invited to a vegan potluck at L’accorderie from a fellow Anglophone in the city. Being a vegeterian myself, I thought it would be a great way to meet other environmentally conscious foodies. It turned out to be so much more than that. Through this one potluck I created lasting friendships, was inspired to sign-up with the organisation and learned so many new skills (and delicious vegan recipes).
I offered reiki treatments and eyebrow threading and in exchange received massages, acupuncture, was part of a buying group and saved thousands of dollars on driving lessons done through a fellow member that used Communauto. The thing is, it isn’t even the tangible services I offered and received which I value the most, it is the connections and conversations I made with people I otherwise wouldn’t have been in contact with.
I may have saved a lot of money learning to drive with my l’Accorderie instructor, Bernard Grondin, but what I learned from Bernard goes beyond shoulder checking and road rules. At the time, I had a radio show dedicated to subcultural movements and explored underground music and cultures around the world. Bernard, besides being an excellent driving teacher, is actually a professional storyteller, and I invited him to tell a story on my radio show. Hearing him tell stories about the connections of people and their livestock in Niger and other captivating tales inspired me to tell stories of my own. It ignited a love of hearing people’s stories and finding creative ways to share them.
Now, about three years later, I am still working to share stories in creative ways and am forever thankful for the inspiration that Bernard ignited in me.
This is my case for collaborative consumption, what’s yours? This week, I will be writing about projects that are based on collaborative consumption in Montreal. Please feel free to comment here or contact us via @e180en on Twitter or www.facebook.com/education180 to let us know which initiatives you would like to see profiled on our blog.