The sharing economy
Adam Werbach, Co-Founder yerdle, USA Class of 2011
It gave me a framework to think about solving the sustainability issues faced by the US. Compared with what I wanted to do, my work at Saatchi felt very incremental. My work had made me acutely aware of the fact that even as we make products better, we still aren’t efficiently using the ones we already have; humanity uses 60 billion tons of natural resources each year, which cannot be sustained.
Of course, the conditions in the US are nothing like those in Dharavi – in the US we do not experience scarcity the way a Dharavi resident does, nor do we have the kind of tight-knit community. Not all households may have a lot of money to spare, but we all have things we never use anymore – a bicycle, a blender. I wanted to use the insights I had gained from the learning journey to design more functional ways of changing consumer culture, where people could give away things they no longer used to those who needed them. This is how yerdle was born.
Just as in Dharavi people would share a set of wedding banquet dishes, people in my neighbourhood could give away things lying unused in their garages. We applied the same organizing model as Shack/Slum Dwellers International, a non-profit, working in slums like Dharavi: save every day (giving people a reason to visit yerdle every day), share information (let people know what’s available) and spread the word (help grow a social marketplace that doesn’t require any additional ecological resources).
Once the germ of the idea evolved, lots of YGLs got involved to help with various aspects including liaising, behavioural research and designing the website. It was wonderful knowing that I could just call and ask for help. In 2011, I left Saatchi & Saatchi, became a YGL and started yerdle. In the process, I have made good friends among many of my YGL peers, all of whom are doing really interesting things all over the world. It is inspiring to see people committed to doing something good for the planet and willing to make sacrifices along the way. That, for me, has been the great thing about being a YGL.