Pets: The next frontier for the sharing economy?


Don’t have time to walk a dog every day? Here’s one solution. (Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

Here’s a look at five ideas that affect the way we live, work and play.

1. Communal dogs. Research shows that having a pet makes us happier. But for many single people who work long days or frequently travel, having a dog isn’t realistic. One solution would be a shared pet. Here’s one apartment building that’s doing just that, via Jonathan O’Connell:

There are communal gyms, pools, spas, game rooms, grills, roof decks and the like, but Emmy may be the first communal dog. Named to coincide with the building’s brand (two M’s), Emmy has a doghouse that is a replica of the building. Residents too busy for their own dogs will be able to pick her up in the lobby, take her upstairs to their apartment or for a walk, and return her as they would a library book, a DVD or bowling shoes.

2. Serious about climate change? Time to go vegan. Via Fast Company:

In 2010, nearly 200 governments agreed to work towards limiting global greenhouse gas emissions so that temperatures would not rise more than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit). The consensus was that anything above this kind of temperature increase would wreak significant havoc–though since, scientists have shown that even two degrees would have much higher environmental and social costs than previously thought.

The new study, published in Climatic Change from a trio of Scandinavian researchers, shows that without reducing meat and dairy consumption, a two-degree goal will be impossible by the year 2070.

3. Do what is important, not what will succeed. Tesla chief executive Elon Musk gave an excellent interview to 60 Minutes Sunday. He explained how he initially felt Tesla would likely fail, but still saw value in addressing misperceptions about what an electric car could be. Here’s the full segment:

4. Wal-Mart’s carbon fiber truck. Via Mashable: 

Dubbed the “Walmart Advanced Vehicle Experience” or WAVE, the fuel-efficient truck is part of the company’s larger commitment to sustainability. In 2005, Walmart promised to double the efficiency of its fleet, which contains 6,500 tractors, 55,000 trailers and 7,000 drivers, by 2015. Now, nearly 10 years later, the retailer claims it has “achieved an 84% improvement in fleet efficiency over its 2005 baseline.”

5. Governments should provide Internet access. Susan Crawford explains to Vox:

We need a public option for Internet access because Internet access is just like electricity or a road grid. This is something that the private market doesn’t provide left to its own devices. What they’ll do is systematically provide extraordinarily expensive services for the richest people in America, leave out a huge percentage of the population and, in general, try to make their own profits at the expense of social good.

Matt McFarland is the editor of Innovations. He's always looking for the next big thing. You can find him on Twitter and Facebook.
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