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Repairing for the Earth, repairing everywhere

The environmental cost of our electronics consumption is a global problem requiring a global response. It is one crucial and often overlooked piece of the environmental crisis we are facing. Our devices rely on critical raw materials and have a massive carbon footprint.

For Earth Week, we shout about the global issue of the climate emergency and electronic waste (50m tons per year and counting) while we recognise the power of repair to respond to these challenges.

Each time we repair, we extend a product’s lifetime, displacing the environmental impact of manufacturing a new product. To give an example, we recently recalculated the global footprint of mobiles and found out that, if we used every phone sold this year for 1/3 longer, in a couple of years, we would prevent carbon emissions equal to Ireland’s annual emissions.

Think about the impact of this, if we applied this rule to all of the products we buy.

Someday we will look back on this throw-away economy as exceptional. We will realise it temporarily forced us and the planet to the brink. Yet today we constantly face the dogma of companies and elected officials that this is the only system; that economies should not be regulated (they are and they always have been); that the planet is not a priority. In the words of Greta Thunberg, these ideas already “belong in a museum”.

We are calling for repairable products and we are sharing repair skills and knowledge in our communities through our Restart Parties. We are big backers of the growing Right to Repair movement, which is raising awareness of the importance of repair, as well as highlighting the barriers that people face to fix the stuff they own. We need a global response for such a global problem.

Community repair is popping up everywhere

Community repair is happening on every continent. Here are just some of our network members: Club de Reparadores (Argentina – and beyond), Insertech (Quebec, Canada), Restarters Oslo (Norway), Remake (Hong Kong), El Fabrika (active in Tunis 2014-2015, and it appears there is a new Repair Café in Capetown). In Australia, our vocal friends Mend it, Australia. (And in Antarctica, scientists are even repairing the open source hardware they use to track penguins.)

During International Repair Day last year, we also witnessed activity of over 130 repair events across the world: alongside the UK, there were Australia, Belgium, Germany, Mexico, South Africa, United States, Uruguay to name a few. Repair Day happens again on 19th October, so save the date.

Fixfest 2019 

Are you already a part of the global community repair movement? Attend Fixfest! This gathering represents and harnesses the learnings and motivations of fixers across the world. It started in 2017 in London, and the second international edition will happen this year in Berlin, 20-22nd September. We’ll be sharing as much as possible online to include those who cannot or do not want to travel. Save the date and sign up for updates here.

Photo of Fixfest participants all assembled on 8 October, 2017

Get involved

If you would like to join the global repair movement, why not volunteer at a local repair event? Search for “Restart Party”, “Repair Café”, “Fixit Clinic”, “Repair Fair” or simply community repair.

If you’d like to join an international community of electronics fixers and event organisers, check our Restarters.net!

One response

  1. Hi Congrats for your initiative!

    In my local library have a lot of ´one ear´ or totally ´deaf´ headphones. Could you repair them for us?

    Sincerely,

    Willy Montoya-Palomino
    Cali-Colombia
    South America

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