One Step Forward, One Step Backwards: Convenience vs. Environment

By | October 28, 2009

A few years ago, we had a leak in our kitchen. The water was about one inch deep in the morning, but we steadfastly ignored the problem, because I guess we really didn’t know how to fix it. I thought we could just change the washer inside the tap unit, which would have been environmentally much more friendly. Instead we had to turn off the water, and replace the entire faucet. The faucet was actually quite inexpensive, probably why the washers weren’t easily found by themselves.

But it made it obvious how, in some ways, our society has taken a step backwards in terms of repairs. Many items can’t be repaired or, at least, it’s very difficult to attempt a repair.

I’m all for tools that can help us to repair broken machines and do household repairs, tools such as clamps, fasteners, and other components. It would be great if we could easily repair machines without just junking the entire unit. That’s a value our grandparents would have appreciated, as they darned socks, repaired camshafts, patched sleeves, and performed a whole range of repair tasks we don’t even dream of.

In Taiwan, we’re luckier than some other countries, because we can easily find people to do these kinds of repairs, but with middle class society developing, fewer people want to do these tasks. Shame.