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When the Internet first began connecting the world, there was some talk (and some great science fiction) about folks never leaving their homes, living through avatars, jacked into the Net, devoid of face to face social contact.

Well, the worldly web has gone local, personal and green, re-generating neighbors and creating sustainability.

When Craigslist  first replaced the local newspaper classified section, a side benefit was that we met lots of local people from our community selling stuff we needed. Some stuff was even free.

The move away from conspicuous consumption and towards sustainability, supported by a long recession, now shows the Internet in its newly refined mode – connecting us locally to our neighbors and neighborhoods to share stuff.

Here are a few of the interesting sites.

Freecycle  — Changing the world one gift at a time
“The Freecycle Network™ is made up of 4,838 groups with 7,532,636 members across the globe. It’s a grassroots and entirely nonprofit movement of people who are giving (and getting) stuff for free in their own towns and thus keeping good stuff out of landfills. Membership is free, and everything posted must be FREE, legal and appropriate for all ages. “

Neighborgoods  — borrow or rent from your neighbors
“Share your stuff. Find stuff to borrow. By zip code.”
Stuff includes camping goods, tools, ladders, car manuals, music, digital equipment, tables, sewing machines, and more. And a neat blog at

Zipcar  — Changing the world through urban and environmental impact
“Wheels when you want them — An alternative to car rental and car ownership.”

Two interesting sites create a new freedom from our car leases: SwapaLease and LeaseTrader offer folks the opportunity to take over someone else’s car lease.

The New York Times article “But will it make you happy?” about consumption and its alternatives is circulating widely 

“We’re on our way to sustainability with initiatives like this,” replied my friend Jeannine Parker (aka JP), who turned me on to Freecycle.

And on our way back to our neighbors, too.

Please join this conversation and share the sites you use.