Mark your calendars for Saturday 17 October because it’s the annual International Repair Day!
While recent months have made it difficult to come together and repair in person as a community, we have also realised more than ever just how essential repair is. So we chose repair is essential as the theme for Repair Day 2020. On the day we want to amplify the voices of the fixing community – community repair groups, independent repair businesses and individual fixers alike. and find out why repair is essential to you.
But first, let’s take a look at what we mean by essential.
How has this year impacted repair?
Now more than ever we are relying on our electronic devices to stay connected and live our lives as close to normal as possible. The pandemic and various countries’ lockdowns have limited our access to these devices with supply chains disrupted and many no longer able to afford to buy new. Therefore, we must be able to repair and reuse what we already have; whether at home ourselves, with the help of community volunteers where possible or through independent repair shops.
Those of us who organise and attend community events had to stop operations completely. And many have no hope to resume activities in the short term. Not only did these events help us hone our skills, learn about repair, and give back to the community. They also provide us with a supportive social group that is like-minded in our goals. While it has been comforting to interact with each other online, forums and video chats can’t match a vibrant community event.
Essential for the community
Despite these obstacles, our strive to keep repairing proves just how essential it is. For example, many community groups are undertaking laptop refurbishment projects, to donate repaired laptops so that they can provide students, and others in need, with the necessary materials. This is a heartening show of community solidarity and highlights how essential the collective spirit of repair is.
Essential for the planet
Repair is also essential in our collective mission to live more sustainable lives and mitigate the climate crisis. Raw materials used in electronics are becoming increasingly scarce and sourcing them is harmful to people and planet. If we continue to simply produce new devices instead of repairing those that already exist, this problem will only grow. It is essential that we make an effort to reuse what we already have and that tools, spare parts and information to repair are available to all.
Essential for businesses
Repair is essential and therefore must be available in many forms. These include in community groups, at independent repair businesses, and also at home. During lockdown, our options for repair were drastically reduced. Repair businesses faced long-term closures in many countries and had their operations greatly limited. It is a worrying precedent that in much of Europe repair businesses were not considered “essential activities” under lockdown guidelines. This only further proves we need to celebrate repair and remind our governments that it is an essential service.
How are you going to celebrate?
This year Repair Day will be a little different. Some will be lucky to join a community repair event, but many of us won’t be able to. However, that doesn’t mean that we can’t do something special to mark the occasion. Community groups and others will hold online events. This year we also specifically invite repair shops everywhere to endorse the day on social media and with special initiatives.
You can submit your event, initiative or endorsement with this form and we’ll add it to a global map of confirmed activities on and around Saturday 17 October.
And there’s plenty of ways that everyone can celebrate at home too. These include: repairing an item that you’ve had lying around for a while; sharing your experience on social media; passing on your knowledge by helping someone else with a repair; or supporting a local repair business.
So, while it will be difficult to hold events in person, we would still like to celebrate what we love about repair with all of you. We’re working on an updated social media toolkit for Repair Day, which will be published later in September. Sign up to our newsletter to be notified when it’s available.