Program Notes

The first Tool Library started in 1979 in Berkley, California and since then over 40 Tool Libraries have launched across North America.  While the idea is not original, there had never been a Tool Library in the city of Toronto, making an opportunity for local change. Getting things started, in 2012 the founders received their first grant from the Centre for Social Innovation and started a non-profit arm called the Institute for a Resource Based Economy (IRBE). The mission of IRBE is to launch projects that challenge the current economic model with resource sharing initiatives and related education with an emphasis on local community empowerment.

The Toronto Tool Library is the first large scale project of The Institute for a Resource-Based Economy (IRBE), a registered Canadian non-profit organization based in Toronto.

Mission: IRBE works at the intersection of economics and the environment by challenging people’s perceptions of ownership and our relationship to the Earth’s resources.
Vision: Today’s dominant economic system has created unprecedented crises that exploit people and our planet. IRBE envisions a world that responds to these crises by sharing resources, creating resilient projects and communities, motivating us to our highest potential.

Toronto Tool Library has three locations: a tool library, a maker-space, and a Sharing Library.  It has a staff of seven, a Board of Directors, over 2,200 members and has loaned out over 25,000 tools to the community.

Canadians lead the developed world in the per capita production of garbage with 720 kilos per capita of waste produced annually by every Canadian.  The city of Toronto has been referred to as ‘garbage central’, noting that while our waste management system is efficient, that very efficiency keeps us from seeing the 40 tonnes of compacted garbage that leaves the city to arrive at Green Lane landfill near London, Ontario at a rate of one every 10 minutes.  And increased recycling is simply not the answer.

By the time waste gets recycled, 95 per cent of the environmental damage has already occurred – in manufacturing, in oil extraction, in the poisoning of our rivers and air. People have to buy less…our economy is based on endless growth, endless production of what our landfills tell us is basically junk. The cycle just keeps going: manufacture, consume, discard.

I spoke with Ryan Dyment, Executive Director of the Toronto Tool Library. 

Episode #14


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