I’ve just created my own donation campaign for SOS Kinderdörfer: https://www.meine-spendenaktion.de/Aktion/GiveKidsLove It was really easy to do this webpage, because SOS Kinderdörfer gave everyone the possibility to be active. Of course you can start your own from scratch. But the existing one is a good start. I think that you can not only collect a big amount of money for a good purpose, but also to significantly improve your “delivering” skills. Every business needs two components in order to be successful – to “create” and to “deliver”. If you feel not so comfortable in delivering, you can start to collect donations and thus deliver money for a good purpose.
There are already some models how to consume and do something good at the same time. For example if you shop from the page of Social Power 10% of the money will be donated. That’s a great idea, but it’s not necessary a sustainable one.
Another good idea is Groupon – consumers unite in order to buy bigger quantities and thus push the price down. But again, it can urge totally bad consumer behaviour.
But these ideas have a big potential and can be used by the consumers in order to establish a sustainable shopping. How about promoting only sustainable shops and products this way? We can create more sustainable companies and much better and cheaper products. At the same time, some percentage of the shopping value can be donated or investing and help again another sustainable businesses.
We can go even further and create personalized web pages for promoters, who would like to make the sustainable shopping and products even more famous. They can again obtain some percentage of the shopping value and even earn some money by doing a good job for the society.
Money lending and especially micro credits became very popular in the last years. Those are great and the best possible example is Kiva. But they do not solve every problem. Even if the poor people become a micro credit and manage to make some money, they still remain poor, because they have no possibilities to securely save money. Normally even if they make some money they have no access to a bank account. The banks are not willing to give such small customers accounts because they can make money from this. (An example for a project in micro saving which had to stop is MatchSavings.)
So, we actually need to help the banks who are willing not only to give credits, but also to enable accounts for poor people. This will make more sense. Another possibility is to start such banks. Sooner or later, if we want to help the poor, we have to start to offer them bank accounts. Without this component the microfinance is not going to function. Only credits are not sufficient. And from the credits the banks make a big win. Even Kiva functions through a cooperation with many banks.
So, what about getting rid of the banks? To lend money direct without banks? There are already such possibilities in the rich countries, for example Zopa. Through this platform you can lend money directly to people. Can you imagine what will happen if the big communities include this option? Look at this video.
The problem with this model is that this functions, because we all have bank accounts. We can hardly lend money to people who have no bank accounts. So again, it will be a problem for poor people. Do you have some ideas how to lend money directly to people who need it? What about a shared bank account with people like us. So, open a bank account in a country with many poor people with no access to the banking system and give them the possibility to save money on your account. They can always have their money and the bank is happy because you have enough money on your account. You can even make some money from your account. And you can even lend money directly to the poor. There are already such shared account services and even shared credit cards. Such model can change the finance system. So, let’s share bank accounts with some poor people.
As a child I’ve loved to collect stuff – toys, stamps, pictures from chewing gums and many more. I’ve forget almost everything I used to collect as a child. All the other kids were collecting as well, so it was like a big social game. Everyone tries to collect more different pictures or stamps than the others. We not only collected but exchanged the stuff we had as well in order to obtain what we wanted to have. It was a real trade with a lot of negotiations. My parents used not to like every kind of stuff we’ve collected so I often obtained to money from them in order to buy this stuff. So I had to obtain at least one object as a gift in order to can start the game. When I’d already had one I tried to exchange it for two and so on till I had enough, so I can mix with the biggest collections. It was not only important to exchange, but to know to do it correct. There were always some pictures which were very seldom and it was always good to have one of them and even better to have two of them. Because you can then exchange one of them for even hundreds of others! At one point I’ve even noticed that I can make money from this trade. I’ve started not only to collect, but also to sell pictures. I’ve made more money a day than I’ve obtained from our parents. Sometimes I managed to make more than the salary of my parents in month. Thus I gained quite a lot of money and I usually put them aside together with some other saved money from parents and relatives. I used to collect even some old glass, metal, paper, chestnuts, herbs, flowers, snails and so on. You can sell all this stuff. Thus I’ve managed to make a lot of money. With the money I started to buy paintings of unknown, but to become famous painters. 🙂 These paintings are still at home, but I have no idea if I can sell them and make a big deal. I like them so much, that I’m probably not going to sell them.
As you can see, our society forms some kind of trading, management and even investing skills in kids. And all this was more or less a game. But it was as brutal as the normal economy. Some managed to succeed and other just spent the money of their parents and had at the end even no collections or only small ones. It was somehow good, because it gives you some essential knowledge how to make business and how to survive even when you had to start from a bad position. On the other hand it can build in kids some bad habits like showing them how they can win with unfair methods and how they can manipulate.
This collecting based economy and trading was of course created and used from some big companies who managed to sell their bad chewing gums, waffles and so on only because of the pictures inside. We’ve even sometimes thrown the waffles and chewing gums away. This was actually the best solutions because if I tried to eat them I usually had to go to the dentist after that, which was not much fun … As a kid I couldn’t realize that this is a whole industry for making money. It is a typical industry where you buy something, don’t even use it, throw away and then buy again. Some people make millions from it; some a little and 99% only spend money and obtain nothing. But the real cost is carried by the nature. And no one paid for it.
So collecting means nothing but consuming in this case, it’s the same sin. Collecting used to be fun, but it is always connected with throwing away or / and addiction. I’ve often get addicted to some stuff I’ve used to collect. Mostly I’ve get addicted to the money I’ve collected and I only saved them without using them for anything. Which is of course a bad way to use money. Only putting them aside leaves them without purpose. Thus I’ve made them not useful not only for me, but for others as well. Or I’ve started to collect those paintings. So I was again by collecting. It’s definitely an addiction. On the other hand such addictions teach you how to get rid of bigger and much more dangerous addictions. Because when you collect something, at some point you have to sell it or to throw it away. When you sell it, you still have something in your hand and can start again collecting or can be at least happy that you made some money. But it is really painful when you have to throw away. I’m never going to forget when I had to throw away two full big bags with old toys. I was the age of five and my father decided that we don’t need these toys anymore, because these were for younger kids and I had to start with some more meaningful things like books, games and so on. The really bad thing was that I had to throw them by myself. I’ve cried a lot, but it was a good way to learn that you can not only collect, you have to throw away as well. Nowadays I’m translating this as you can’t only obtain, you have to give as well.
As you can see, the whole process of collecting I was involved in as a child was nothing as, but the way our whole economy functions as well. At some point I’ve discovered that this whole way how our society functions is not really sustainable. But I don’t really have a solution for this problem. I’ve just found a solution for myself not to be addicted. I’ve just started to throw away everything which I do not need. Thus I’ve managed to get rid of all those material addictions and to concentrate on some more important spiritual things.
Only recently I’ve discovered that there can be a better way of doing things. I still have this throwing away type of character, but I’m not throwing away, but always giving away the stuff I don’t need anymore. And much more important, I’m not taking part in the so called consuming society. I’m buying almost no stuff and I’m always trying to share the stuff I have. And never letting my money just stay somewhere. Better to lend them and let someone else using them! Only thus a really sustainable culture of sharing and giving can be achieved.
For many years some friends and I have the idea (actually it is more than that, it’s a dream) to create a unique community, where we can live in a sustainable way and on the same time develop a giving and sharing culture. Now at least some of us feel ready to start this project and that’s the reason why I’m writing in my blog about it.
As I’ve already learned, when you start a project, no matter what kind of, the most important factor is the people. So it is important to find first the right people who we’ll like to start with us. Everyone is welcome to join us. There is only one rule – you have to be 100% honest to yourself with your heart and mind that you want to do this. If not, you’d better not join. If there is a moment when you are not anymore sure that this is the right thing for you, than you’d better quite. Ok, so we are looking for people to join us.
After that it is important to have at least some idea what you want to do. I’ll list here shortly what are some of my ideas who it can look like. Everyone is welcome to bring his/her own ideas as well and them we merge them together and choose the most practical and realistic one, which we can achieve first. We are not going to forget all the other ideas and we are not going to forget our dreams, because we know that at some point we’ll have the capacity to achieve them.
Here are my ideas:
1. Agriculture, Farming and Food: Aim is that we achieve 100% self-sufficiency. There are three posts of this: Grow, Collect and Share. Aim it that we don’t need the third one at some point. We will grow our own vegetables, fruits and crops. I know the basics, but I’ll need help in this. From the nature we can collect a lot of different products, for example: bear’s garlic, all kinds of herbs (for medicine as well), all kind of nuts, diverse grasses and so on. I’m quite a specialist in this area and have a strong will to learn even more. At first we won’t be able to have animals, but maybe we’ll need some later. I hope that we won’t need animals.
2. Community or who we are? The best thing will be if we come from different countries and cultures, if we are different ages and if we are a good mixture of men, women and kids. I first expect that there will be no families with kids but mostly young people and retirees.
3. Cultural Activities. We what to start different cultural activities especially arts, music and traditional handicrafts.
4. Production. It will be good if we can produce some technical stuff as well, check for example this blog post about open source ecology.
5. Diverse Services. We still have to define what we can do well and which services we can provide. For example looking at kids and teaching them diverse things about our community. Or teaching languages, handicrafts, about IT or about different herbs you can use and many more.
6. Business Creation. We will be a very mix and innovative community and from our different ideas we will start businesses or will give ideas to other people who can start businesses. There are many different possibilities, but we will act from the beginning as a platform for open exchange and sharing, as a kind of business lab.
7. Creation of New Ways of Life. This point will be a direct consequence of the project.
8. Tourism. Everyone will be welcome at every time to visit us and experience our community. We will inform about all our activities and backgrounds. We will organize some regular trips to different destinations in the world, so there will be a possibility for everyone to join as well.
9. Workshops, Seminars, Exchange. It is highly possible that we will have the infrastructure we need for such events.
10. Regular Jobs. At first I suppose that most of us will have their regular jobs at part time. When we start different businesses and have a strong financial basis this will change. Or it is at least highly possible that some of us decide not do their regular jobs anymore.
11. Communications, Infrastructure and Technologies. We are not going to have cars, so we will be dependant from public transport. As there will be some young people in the community as well, we need to establish it near a big city, so we can easily go to the city, have fun, exchange with other people, go to work and so on. We will need the modern technologies as internet and at least some of the modern infrastructure. At first we are going to use the modern technology as a base, but the idea is to use only a small part of it at the end in order to create as much as possible an sustainable way of life in the nature.
As you can see from all of this, we need a place. And we need some land. This place can be everywhere in the world. At the moment it is most probably that it will be somewhere in Baden, Germany. We can’t invest in buying a place. We can rent or we can obtain one through sharing. The best vision I have is that some old people are going to share their places and live together with us.
The next steps in the future are to learn more about such communities around the world. Everything is open and we are open for everything.