In April, Shareable co-hosted a symposium with the Holistic Health Institute at San Francisco State University to explore the question: “how can we respond as a community to reduce loneliness and social isolation?”
The night featured a series of mic-drop moments from panelists, such as “technology is [like] a knife – you can use it to cut an avocado or a finger” from the Holistic Underground’s Mazin Mahgoub, and “we have created a belief system that people are disposable… you can delete and swipe and change and shift and move and live in this technological world without really exchanging anything related to the heart” from Professor Vivian Chavez of SFSU.
But it was experience designer Marie Applegate, from the SF Asian Art Museum and Compassion Project, who shared this evocative definition of loneliness — when you want to connect with someone about something, a feeling or emotion, even music, and don’t have somebody to connect with on it.
This event was the in-person component of Shareable’s new “participatory magazine” series. We spent three months focusing on proven and promising solutions to the global epidemic of loneliness and social isolation.
Now, we’re excited to have compiled all of our reporting in a new free ebook, “Community Solutions to the Loneliness Epidemic.”
“Community Solutions to the Loneliness Epidemic” is divided into four sections offering a global context before exploring what people, organizations, and governments are doing to address this challenge in the U.S., U.K., Japan, South Korea, and more. Stories range from an op-ed calling for a change in the social climate to get climate change to solutions-focused pieces about time banking, libraries of things, senior centers, coworking, meal sharing, and innovative city policies.
Shareable will continue publishing about this issue. From what we’ve learned so far, we see two choices — either restructure life for more community in the 21st century through a variety of supportive institutions or continue down our current path towards more loneliness and division. We’ve seen that loneliness and social isolation can be successfully countered by more and better civic engagement, workplace solidarity, and social connections. We can tackle this challenge. The only question is, will we? As always, the choice is ours.
Please download your free copy now and let us know what you think in comments below or send us an email at email@example.com. We also welcome donations to help us continue our reporting and convene work on people-powered solutions for the common good.