The Pope and Ashley Judd’s Neti Pot

Ashley Judd just gave away her neti pot on Yerdle.

In the grand scheme of things, that’s not really all that big of a deal. People give away all kinds of great, interesting, and, yeah, quirky stuff on Yerdle. Spark plugsCrabsThe Original Twilight Saga. Like many of you, Ashley has committed to buy nothing new for the next 30 days. She joins 1,040 other Yerdlers (and growing) in taking on the Unshopping Challenge.

But it’s the words Ms. Judd (can we call you Ashley?) used to describe her first Yerdle that struck us: She wants to “share her bounty with someone who needs it.”

What amazes us about the Yerdle community is how everyone has a bounty of one sort or another. And everyone is super committed to passing it around. We get stories of moms on tight budgets finding gifts on Yerdle for their relatives, paid for by clearing out forgotten kids’ toys and clothes. We get stories of empty nesters who translate the detritus from their high schoolers’ bedrooms into unique “Yerdle objets d’art.” And yes, we get movie stars who have too many neti pots and decide it’s time to let one go.  

We’re reminded every day that Yerdle is a community of givers and receivers - people who know that the joy of Yerdling doesn’t rest on either end of the giving-getting transaction, but rather, in the transformation that comes from connecting to others with whom we can share our bounty.

This notion of connecting to others is not unique to the Yerdle experience. It’s core to what it means to be human. Around the same time that Ashley posted her neti pot, the Pope launched an international discussion about the obligations we have to our fellow humans when it comes to the environment and climate change.

As it turns out, our global environmental challenges are also about helping each other. “The time to find global solutions is running out,” the Pope said last year. Indeed, climate change and ocean pollution threaten the most vulnerable populations on the planet. Every act we take to reduce our footprint - no matter how small - contributes to the well-being of others, including people halfway around the globe who we’ll probably never meet.

On occasion, we might get attacked for encouraging people to do something that basically comes naturally - the Pope was taken to task by certain elements who don’t think faith and economics should mix; Ashley Judd was attacked for similar reason by a writer who didn’t really understand why people would choose to reuse.

But the truth is, connecting with each other, getting what we need from each other, is natural. It’s not normal to waste energy, or to throw away perfectly good stuff. That’s the truly weird thing about Yerdling: It’s so normal, and yet, the way people have learned to live, it seems weird to give things away, or get something you need directly from another human - rather than a store.

We at Yerdle do what we do for a variety of reasons, but we’re all committed to taking care of  each other. We’re also committed to trying to solve the biggest challenge of consumerism - namely, that it’s expensive, both financially and in terms of its impact on our planet. As the Pope said, you can’t separate humanity from the planet we live on.