This interesting episode on Ideas discusses effecting change in the culture of stewardship and sustainability without having to use money (especially borrowed money).
The initial example, of the City of Curitiba in Brazil, is about how the former mayor (Jaime Lerner) used innovative social and educational programs to clean up the city’s slums, brought in sheep to weed the city and provide wool, and brought in a public/private partnership-based Bus-Rapid-Transit system to the city.
The other examples discussed in the episode…
In Japan there is a “caring relationship” currency, where good deeds are traded like money, a system that has provided quality care to the fastest growing elderly population in the world — all at no cost to the government. In Canada, there is a sharing hub at the Toronto Tool Library where sweat equity gives access to woodshop space and over 3,000 tools, again at low marginal cost.
Speaking of tool libraries, I think many cities have them now, and Ottawa is just getting started up.