With the rising of technology and the amount of stuff people have, we live in a world where it’s easier to buy a new product than repair it. Well yes, it can look easier, but the cost for the environment is huge, and this is why all around the world people are opening/joining places where you can actually fix, or better learn how to fix, the stuff that we most of the time we consider broken and unrepairable. Fixing things is an art that in modern times got a bit lost, due to the culture of “buying it new”. Our parents didn’t have this concept, they were fixing everything, clothes, shoes, the few household appliances they had. For some young people this can seem weird, but luckily there is someone that thinks that is not a good idea to let everything going in the waste dump.
Martine Postma is one of these people these people, the one that believe in a sustainable world. Was 2009 when she launched the first Repair Cafè in Amsterdam. But what’s a Repair Cafè? It’s well explained on the Repair Cafè Foundation 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.
The first one in Amsterdam was a success and now there are more than 1300 Repair Cafes worldwide, coordinated and supported by the Repair Café Foundation, a non-profit organization founded by Postma in 2011.
Repairs cafes are not only good for the environment (in 2016 they prevented 250,000 kilos of waste, for example), but are places where to learn manual skills, places where to build a community and spend time with people that we’ll never meet in our normal daily routine.
The Repair Café teaches people to see their possessions in a new light. And, once again, to appreciate their value. The Repair Café helps change people’s mindset. This is essential to kindle people’s enthusiasm for a sustainable society.
I’m currently in Auckland and on the 13 of August I will go in the local Repair Cafè and check out how these places work. I think this is one of the idea that can contribute to make this world a better one, because it put together elements like community, reducing waste, learning manual skills. Change the world can seem a huge problem, but sometimes do a little thing can be enough. Like repairing stuff instead of buying new one. On the Repair Cafè Foundation website you can find the Repair Cafè closer to you, and if there is none, maybe you can open yours.