I’d like to talk about neighborhood social networks because, I think, they are a very Solarpunk thing. Here in New Zealand we have a social network called Neighborly. When you sign up they post you a confirmation code through the mail to verify your address. They then connect you up with your local community. I am an avid user, I check my neighborhood everyday. So far I have acquired a fridge for myself and a standard lamp for my BFF, and 2 cats who’s Mum was reluctantly re-homing them. I have given away a spare cycle helmet, some bricks I’d ripped out of my living room that someone wanted to use in their garden, and I’ve loaned out my ladder.
People use it for buy, sell, wanted and give away, borrowing items, lost pets, asking for recommendations on tradespeople, lost and found, notifying the community about fundraisers and local events, asking for advice on their gardens, organizing get togethers, finding people to teach them skills and all sorts of other things.
Last school break a local dad wanted to do a small project with his son, so Mum got on Neighborly and asked if anyone had any timber off-cuts. Dad and son made a bird feeder and Mum posted pictures for the whole community to see. A family who had recently moved into the area, and left behind their giant plum tree, asked their neighbors if anyone had a plum tree in their garden and would be willing to let them take a bucket or 2 of plums so they could continue their family tradition of making plum sauce - they gave everyone who gave them plums a bottle of sauce in return. I’m constantly heartened by the number of lost pets I’ve seen re-united with their people through this network, and I cheer we get updates on those pets who’ve been returned home.
Being able to share resources and knowledge, connect with and help your neighbors through the convenience of an app on you smartphone, feels like and awesome step into the future.