Before I begin, a quick note:
Oh, my. Thank you for the warm and open-armed welcome back into this space. It was beyond my expectation. But it seems it’s something that many of us need. A little slow-down, a little reconnection, a little depth. So yes. Thank you, thank you. I’m so glad you’re here.
The state of the world has me anxious more often than not. I’m certain I’m not alone.
Politics, climate crisis, conspiracy theories, war, nationalism, racism, sexism, transphobia, loss of reproductive rights–there’s no shortage of bad news and fear for us to spin out on.
And sometimes I wonder if the small things I’m doing to help tip the world back toward wholeness are nearly enough. From how I’ve raised my kids (a slow, homegrown life with a focus on activism and justice) to the changes I’ve made in my business (biodegradable packaging, planting trees), to our home (buying second-hand, reducing consumption)–does it really make any difference?
And I have to remind myself that every conscious, upstream action is an act of rebellion. Every voice raised, every act of justice/equality/sustainability/kindness does nudge the world toward goodness. I know it does.
Things like how we parent, if we choose to have kids at all, how we spend our money, where we source our food, how we live, how we care for one another–all of these have the power to shape the world for good.
Even the smallest acts, like how we tend–and repair–the things that we own.
With that (and so much much more) in mind, I started meeting up with a small group of people last winter. We shared the common vision of starting a free repair clinic in our community. A place where our neighbors could bring their broken blenders and cantankerous vacuums, moth-chewed sweaters and blown-out blue jeans, and we could divert a small flow from the landfill tract, and guide and help folks to make their broken things function again.
A place where we could remember what communities have always known: how to help and take care of each other, ourselves, and the earth in one singular and joyful act.
And that’s just what we did.
Last weekend our small (but growing) volunteer group gathered with our tools and supplies to offer free repairs for our community. There were benches and bicycles, dresses and food processors, lamps and vegetable peelers, and so much more. We fixed sewing machines and unclogged vacuums, mended torn clothing and rewired frayed cords.
And we built connections and community.
Over a dozen people came to our soft-start, first-ever clinic, and we look forward to offering another busier clinic in October.
And I can hardly wait.
Because our small actions really can make a difference. I truly believe that. And something as simple helping our neighbors repair their belongings to keep them out of landfill for a little bit longer feels simultaneously simple and like a radical revolution to me.
Want to start your own free, community fix-it clinic? You won’t regret it! The book Repair Revolution is a great place to start. Buy your copy used, buy it from your local indie book shop, borrow it from your public library or from a friend. But if you can help it, please don’t buy it from Amazon. Because they’re certainly a part of the overconsumption + exploitation issues that we face in this world. And… stepping off my soap box now. x
Have you participated in a free community repair clinic or cafe? Share your experience below!