We have all been there. It’s 2:44 AM, you’re standing outside of your favorite bar on East Sixth, that overpriced pizza food truck is taunting you with its invasive aromas, and all you want to do is watch Lizzie McGuire in your bed until you fall asleep. Given this situation, you can trek over to the other side of downtown to take the free E-Bus to two blocks away from your apartment. Or, you can hit two buttons on your smartphone, and take an Uber ride to your doorstep. Although taking public transportation is clearly the more sustainable and affordable option, many of us will opt for the Uber.
So what do our 3 AM radio karaoke sessions in our Uber rides have to do with sustainability? Uber, along with many other emerging technologies, are apart of a massive movement to sell function rather than products. Instead of going through a strenuous process of renting a new taxi vehicle, why not just use that car that’s always sitting in your garage? Instead of building new hotels, occupying land, utilizing resources, why not just airbnb, and rent that empty downtown condo? Instead of purchasing every season of your favorite tv show on shiny new DVDs, why not just watch it on Netflix? Instead of owning your own car, why not just use Car2Go when you actually need to travel? All of these services are providing us with things we demand in our everyday life, but rather than selling a product, they are selling the function of a product. Through this method, not only are these companies minimizing their production costs, but they are minimizing their environmental impact significantly. Consistently creating new products uses our finite resources, demands land use, and wastes energy through transporting that product around the globe.
Everyday, we see new services emerging throughout Austin, whether that’s the rental B-Cycle bikes around town, or carpool apps like Carma. Rather than owning a new, packaged product, let’s just use it when we need it, and share it with our community when we don’t.
Green Events Student Leader