Volunteers recently participated in a local “Fix it Fair” held by members of Wildsight Kimberley/Cranbrook’s Youth Climate Corps, where things like pants, flat bike tires and even a vacuum cleaner were fixed rather than thrown away.
“Attendees left the event with mended objects in hand, smiles on their faces, and, most importantly, the knowledge that they were keeping household items out of the landfill,” Wildsight said.
The Youth Climate Corps, who focus on community engagement, were inspired to do this Fix it Fair in part after watching the 2018 documentary “Living the Change: Inspiring Stories for a Sustainable Future,” which features a Repair Cafe.
The first Repair Cafe was held in Amsterdam in 2009 and since then the concept has taken off.
“In the span of a decade, this movement has brought together networks of volunteers with diverse skills who mend household items while educating their owners about the repair process,” Wildsight explained. “By bringing a Repair Cafe to Kimberley, our hope was to build connections within our community to promote sustainability.”
They added that repairing items rather than disposing of them contributes to a “circular economy,” as it extends the lifespan of those items while also reducing resource use and greenhouse gas emissions.
The Fix it Fair was held this past August on the patio of a local brewery, with volunteers set up as residents of the community started to show up with items in need of repair, such as clothing, household appliances and sports equipment.
Three seamstresses from the North Star Quilt Society were kept busy all afternoon mending torn clothing, including several pairs of work pants brought in by Wildsight crew members that were in need of some TLC after a long summer in the field.
Many people who came were pleased to learn that items they thought were beyond repair were able to be restored, such as one woman’s favourite cooking pot that had its handle repaired, and numerous bikes that were all fixed up over the course of the day.
“They were all repaired and tuned up by a skilled volunteer who has been fixing things since he was eight years old,” Wildsight said. “This is clearly a passion of his, as was demonstrated by his enthusiasm to share his knowledge.”
Volunteers who were unable to fix certain items due to time constraints provided detailed explanations for how the person who brought it in could fix it themselves. More than 20 items were repaired at the event.
“Hosting the Fix It Fair taught us that almost anything can be fixed with a little time, some elbow grease, and a bit of knowledge and creativity,” Wildsight said.
“Our current throw-away society is in need of a shift in mentality that will promote repairing broken items rather than replacing them. By showing people what can be fixed, we hope we encourage more people to give new life to broken-down objects in their own home.”
You can learn more about the Wildsight Youth Climate Corps by visiting www.wildsight.ca/ycc