As I sit here, staring at an iphone which has inexplicably stopped working properly, I feel a certain amount of frustration that I have no idea how to fix it. I can fix my clothing, I can repair broken china, I can re-plumb a sink, I can even repair my freezer and water heater (done both!). But this device upon which I depend for so many things is a complete mystery to me. Googling led to this article on Wired, and frankly, it rang so true I felt compelled to share it with you all.
You’ve heard about the “maker movement,” the geeks who’ve been rebooting America’s craft tradition. It’s a grassroots success story, refueling interest in engineering and giving kids practical skills with tools. But now we need something new. We need to apply those maker skills to what we already own, giving broken devices a new lease on life.
We need, in short, a fixer movement. This would be a huge cultural shift. In the 20th century, US firms aggressively promoted planned obsolescence, designing things to break. Buying new was our patriotic duty: “We need things consumed, burned up, worn out, replaced, and discarded at an ever increasing pace,” marketer Victor Lebow wrote in 1955.
As eco-conscious people, I’m sure every one of you has felt my pain at a toaster which can’t be repaired because the company doesn’t make the parts available to the public. Or some different situation, where planned obsolescence is the norm. Landfills filling up with unrepairable devices. It needs to stop.
Let’s start a fixer revolution!