This quote is particularly true. Sharing is definitely turning us into better earthlings. In our consumer society, considered consumption is the main contribution we can make to protect the earth’s resources and leave something sustainable for coming generations. We are currently sharing loads and even more and more private stuff: our cars, our homes, our Wi-Fi, our Netflix accounts.
Mobility is also becoming a shared object as Car-Sharing and Airbnb allow us to partake in someone else’s resources and offer ours at the same time. And now, something interesting happens, which one could call the “anonymity-effect”. Be honest to yourself: when staying in a hotel room, can you, hand on your heart, really say that you never left towels (soaking wet) on the floor? Garbage next to the garbage can? Same scenario, different location: in an Airbnb, have you ever left towels (soaking wet) on the floor? Garbage next to the garbage can?
Put in a middleman and our social streak breaks through. We take care of what someone lent us when we know what we are using is being used by someone else and we know that respective being in person. As social beings, we want our host at Airbnb to rate us well enough to still book that romantic finca for the summer in Spain. Social acknowledgement is a strong driver and a pessimist could interpret that as a death sentence for morality in our kind. But does what makes us behave in a social manner really matter in the end? May we make the judgement that intrinsic motivation should rank higher than extrinsic motivation? Or should we just be happy that our current behavioural practice of sharing with others is actually not only helping us being social and kind but to also conserve resources. Sorry pessimists – we actually already know!