Too many people do not have equal access to the goods and services we need for a decent life, and too much stress is being put on the planet – our shared home.
This crisis is fueled by unsustainable consumption, a system which is not natural but has been created by people – so people can change it. All over the world communities are demonstrating alternatives. When people collaborate and share goods and services, it brings communities closer together and brings social benefits that reduce our environmental impact at the same time. The sharing community works for people and the planet.
Green Action Week is a campaign to promote sustainable consumption through the theme of ‘Sharing Community’.
Last year 50 civil society organisations across 30 countries reignited cultures of sharing and collaboration in their communities, creating sustainable access to goods and services to benefit people and the planet.
Activities take place during the whole year with a focus on the week of 28th September – 4th October.
In Brazil, local groups used sharing to link together the whole consumer chain: food grown in seed-sharing schemes being sold in a co-operative cafe, where visitors were taught sewing techniques to fix old clothes into reusable bags. In the cafe, reusable bags were free to be borrowed by customers, and customers brought in unneeded toys to share with schoolchildren to get the next generation thinking about what they could share.
In India, the Gujarati phrase આપ-લે નો ઓટલો (‘give and take’) was used on the streets and in the media. On ‘Ghandhi Jayanti’ (Mahatma Ghandhi’s birthday), volunteers took to the streets of Berhampur, to remind people of a proud Indian tradition of the “environmental, economic, social and cultural benefits of sharing community.”
In Fiji, local seamstresses and weavers were invited to share their skills in how to upcycle old clothing and cast-offs into reusable bags. This was done both to protect their marine ecosystem from plastic bags and to bring new respect to older skills.
In the Philippines, ‘Bayanihan’ – a tradition of communal unity and sharing amongst rural people – is threatened by the prevention of seed-sharing and farmers becoming dependent on corporations’ chemicals and technology, rather than each other. Local groups are creating seed banks, setting up trial farms and campaigning against genetic modification to bring safe, affordable and sustainable food for everyone.
If you would like to take these steps together as a group, you can download the planning package which includes:
Explain what will be different in our community if we are successful.
Can we do it in under 40 words?
What obstacles are preventing our vision from happening? What are the real causes of these obstacles?
Symptoms: What can you touch, feel, or see that is caused by the problem?
Example: Empty fuel cannisters are littered everywhere – and people are spending a lot of money on fuel.
Patterns: How has this changed over time? What has changed with it?
Example: The fuel prices and litter went up, more people moving into the area.
Roots: What in society, politics, the economy, or our behaviour is causing the pattern?
Example: Government subsidises fuel but not public transport. People need to commute a long way to their jobs.
Culture: What beliefs or assumptions make up the environment for these roots to grow?
Example: “You should take pride in owning your own vehicle”.
“You are responsible for yourself.”
What solutions could tackle the obstacles we identified? Who do we need to reach to make them happen?
What will we actually do to make a sharing community happen?
Last year, Green Action Week participants fed back that you appreciated one-to-one communications support, and you would like even more support before the planning submission deadline.
If you are applying to take part in Green Action Week as a member of Consumers International – you should have received an email from your regional coordinator. If not, you can find more information here.
‘Sharing knowledge’ through trainings or public awareness campaigns are not, by themselves, relevant to our theme. They must go further to actually change behaviour or systems through sharing and collaboration of goods and/or services.
‘Sharing what you have with those who need it’ should not just be a one-off act of giving charity from rich to poor, but should be an exchange between people. So everyone has better access to goods and services in a way that is environmentally sustainable.
‘Sharing ideas’ about activities like organic farming, by itself, is not relevant enough to this theme. Our campaigns need to use sharing and collaboration of goods and services as the method of the activities – it is the best way to prove that the sharing community can work.