April 18, 2018

Repair Cafe: Can We Fix It?

The worst case of planned obsolescence I have heard of concerns computer printers that have a "pre-programmed failure date" that shuts the device down after so many copies, or when a competitors ink cartridge is used.

Worst case, that is, until hearing that a popular cell phone company intentionally slowed their old phones down so that people would think they needed a new handset. Many people replaced their phones not knowing that all they needed was a new battery.

There is a rising swell of people that are sick and tired of the intentional throw-away economy. They want quality things that can be repaired, and that will last a long time.

A proactive response to all the cheap, made-to-fail crap is The Repair Café. Its objectives are to reduce waste, maintain repair skills, and strengthen social cohesion.

It was initiated by Martine Postma when she organized the first Repair Café in Amsterdam, on October 18, 2009. Fast forward to today, and there are over 1500 repair cafes around the world.

The following is from the Repair Cafe International website:

Repair Cafés are free meeting places and they’re all about repairing things (together). In the place where a Repair Café is located, you’ll find tools and materials to help you make any repairs you need, on clothes, furniture, electrical appliances, bicycles, crockery, appliances, toys, et cetera. 
You’ll also find expert volunteers, with repair skills in all kinds of fields. 
Visitors bring their broken items from home. Together with the specialists they start making their repairs in the Repair Café. It’s an ongoing learning process. 
If you have nothing to repair, you can enjoy a cup of tea or coffee. Or you can lend a hand with someone else’s repair job. 
You can also get inspired at the reading table – by leafing through books on repairs and DIY.

Any time something breaks, the first question should be, "Can we fix it?" Too often companies do not sell replacement parts, or give owners access to repair manuals, making repairs difficult.

The Right To Repair Movement is actively taking on this form of forced obsolescence, and demanding that rules change so that owners can fix the things they have paid for without corporate malfeasance.

Repair Cafes encourage people to "Fix It" before carelessly throwing out and buying new replacements. Not repairing when we can means perpetuating the cycle of disposability while supporting unscrupulous manufacturers.

Is there a Repair Cafe near you. Check the map here.

Or perhaps you would like to initiate a Repair Cafe in your own community. See here.

Welcome to the Repair Revolution. Fix it, don't nix it.

April 16, 2018

Water Adapts To All Changes

Warning: Rough Road Changes Ahead.

“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don't resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.”

- Lao Tzu

Sometimes the pavement road of life turns to gravel. Or dirt. 

There is no use cursing and complaining that the rough road is not smooth, especially if it is the only route that takes the traveller to their destination. 

When the going gets rough, one must pick one's way through the potholes and mud slowly and carefully, like water flowing to the sea.

"Be like water." - Bruce Lee

Those on the road less traveled move forward fully aware and accepting of  come what may, therefore experience much that might have otherwise been lost in the autopilot blur of speed.

You can't fight the rough road without making matters worse. Yield to the change, accept it fully. Be one with the road. 

Warning: Rough Road Changes Ahead. Will we navigate them rigid and brittle, or will we flow like water? 

When we accept the situation we are in, and are committed to being adaptable, we can do what we must to survive. 

With clear goals in mind (with the ultimate goal being reaching the sea of self-awareness), we are free to flow towards satisfying outcomes unhindered by inefficient behaviours, like worry, fret and denial.

"In the world, there is nothing more submissive and weaker than water. Yet, for attacking that which is hard and strong, nothing can surpass it."

- Lao Tzu

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