Is the Sharing Economy Part of the Solution to Our Planet’s Limited Resources?
The global population is set to reach ten billion by 2100. Humans currently use 60 billion tons of natural resources each year. Something has to give, and Yerdle Co-Founder Adam Werbach thinks rampant consumerism should be one of the first things to go. Yerdle facilitates the exchange of goods online, with the goal of reducing the amount of new goods purchased by one quarter. Werbach believes that cities should join sharing economy companies to organize people who want to share resources. He emphasized the importance of reinventing regulations so that people aren’t left behind in this new iteration of the economy.
Werbach has perhaps the broadest possible definition of the sharing economy. Werbach sees the sharing economy not as Silicon Valley-driven, but rather, as an old way of doing things, one that encompasses any joint use of resources, from libraries to roads. Werbach—who at 23 years old, was the youngest-ever president of the Sierra Club—thinks that the sharing economy could help address resource shortages, including housing shortages. The challenge there, said Werbach, is that the sharing economy has to fit into a housing plan that works for everyone.