This was exactly what I'd been looking for. The Buy Nothing Project (BNP) was created not only to reduce overall waste and consumption by redistributing goods that people are done with, but also- and perhaps more importantly- to help build community through sharing abundance within local groups.
About a year ago a group of us from Sustainable Burien formed a temporary book club to read and discuss Charles Eisenstein's book, Sacred Economics. We all came to the same conclusion: We wanted a more thriving community, a culture centered around sharing and mutual happiness and support, and an alternative economy based on gifting, rather than the scarcity model that encourages hoarding and isolation.
So, when we heard about the Buy Nothing Project, my friend Rebecca and I knew it would be a wonderful move in the right direction for our community. We contacted Liesl Clark, one of the creators of Buy Nothing, and she set up our facebook group the next day. Rebecca and I are now the administrators of our local group, but the outlines and rules for the group were formed by the BNP. Our group is part of a quickly growing network of regional facebook groups, all based on gifting and building community.
For years I've been a member of a freecycle group, which has been great in terms of reducing waste, since we can easily rehome anything we're ready to get rid of. It's also a useful forum for requesting things before we buy them new. But I would not say it is much of a medium for building real community. The email addresses the group is based around are too anonymous, and the area each group covers is too large to enable a personal connection between other members.
|Perhaps you'll have some garden bounty to share!
The way Buy Nothing differs is that each post is linked with a facebook user profile, and each group is limited to smaller geographic areas. The limited area helps reduce driving time and gas usage when making physical connections to pick things up. The fact that we use our actual facebook profiles encourages real connections to be made, since it's easier to recognize who you are messaging when there is a picture profile attached. It also discourages people like professional refuse seekers, who score freebies only to sell them, from taking advantage of the generosity of others. Anyone who breaks rules or is creepy can easily be blocked from the group.
We are thrilled to bring this project to Burien. If you are interested in starting a group of your own in an area not already covered by a Buy Nothing group, here is the info page on how to set up a Buy Nothing group. First, you might want to check here to see if there is already a group that serves your area: buynothingproject.org.
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Start Or Join A Buy Nothing Facebook Group
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