Right to Repair

Stand up for your Right to Repair!

State Legislators have the power to protect you from unfair and deceptive policies that make it difficult, expensive, or impossible for you to repair the things you own. Right to Repair or Fair Repair Bills have been introduced in 18 states, but they  will only pass if you tell your lawmakers that you want Right to Repair.


Posted by Jerry Allen

To be a sustainable, resilient, self-reliant community we need to be able to reasonably fix stuff and not just throw it away and make another trip to the big box store. We also need to support local repair shops. It’s time to speak out for your right to repair

This year, the people of Oregon have a chance to guarantee their right to repair their stuff—like cell phones, laptops, and even tractors.

It’s yours. You own it. You shouldn’t have to beg the manufacturer for permission to fix it when it breaks. Tell your legislator that you want the right to repair.

There are two easy ways to get in touch: call and write. We’ll track down your legislator’s contact info for you.

Common Questions about Right to Repair

What does Right to Repair do?

Right to Repair is simple. It requires manufacturers to provide owners and independent repair businesses with fair access to service information and affordable replacement parts. So you can fix the stuff you own quickly—and get back on with your life.

That sounds great! Who would be against that?

Well, manufacturers like John Deere and Apple don’t like the idea. When your tractor breaks or your cell phone stops working, they want to be the only people who can fix it. And they get to set whatever prices they want for parts and service.

Is Right to Repair a new concept?

Nope! We already have right to repair for cars—that’s why you can take your Ford into a local mechanic. They have all the same software diagnostics and service manuals that the dealerships have. This is the result of decades of auto Right to Repair legislation—laws that have been a resounding success.

How can I get involved?

It’s time to fight for your right to repair and defend local repair jobs—the corner mom-and-pop repair shops that keep getting squeezed out. Write or call your legislator. Tell them you support the Fair Repair Act. Tell them that you believe repair should be fair, affordable, and accessible. Stand up for your right to repair in Oregon!
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Visit the Repair.org website, contact your representatives, and let your voice be heard. If you don’t want Apple to be the only place you can go to repair your iPhone or Mac computer, you need to reach out to your representatives and tell them that! This is really important!

Communities Grow Stronger with Fruit Tree Projects

Photo By Heike Brauer
Photo By Heike Brauer

Fruit Tree Projects are helping feed communities all over the world. Here’s how the Santa Cruz fruit tree project got started.

By Maria Grusauskas, from Shareable.

Article courtesy of Utne Reader

Over the past few years, “Fruit Tree Projects” have been popping up all over the world, from Vancouver and Portland, to New Orleans, to Fiji and Australia and beyond. They start small, with just one or two proactive individuals who are pained by the sight of perfectly good fruit in the late stages of decomposition.

Some Fruit Tree Projects redistribute their fruit harvests to undernourished communities, while others gobble them up themselves, and many celebrate the harvest by getting together and processing large quantities of fruit into any number of delicacies.

Even with the variations in types of Fruit Projects out there, one basic truth remains the same: the only thing standing between a hungry belly and the world’s excess fruit supply is a knock on a neighbor’s door.

For Steve Schnaar, (whose childhood memories include picking apples with his family), knocking on doors to inquire about overladen fruit trees was a hobby that soon blossomed into the Santa Cruz Fruit Tree Project, now in its third year in Santa Cruz, California.

“I have a long history of knocking on people’s doors and saying ‘it looks like you have more apples than you can handle,’ or cherries, or whatever it may be, and it’s usually true—most people with a big tree aren’t using it all, or are happy to share,” says Schnaar.

“Sure, a lot of people are intimidated to knock on strangers’ doors … but I don’t have that problem. People can say no if they want to say no.”

The success rate is surprisingly high, especially because most people—especially if they live alone—can’t eat all of the fruit produced by a single tree, and Schnaar estimates about nine out of 10 people say yes to sharing their excess.

Do-it-yourself fruit processing is at the heart of The Santa Cruz Fruit Tree Project, and the community that’s been growing out of it. Most harvests are followed by a gathering that teaches how to preserve the fruit they harvest—from drying persimmons using the traditional Japanese method Hoshigaki, to fermenting the fruit into wine with local DIY winemakers. They’ve also hosted apple cider pressing parties (with a bike-powered press, of course), made vinegar and countless preserves, from marmalades to chutneys. And when there’s still too much fruit to go around, or the fruit is a little bit too mushy to give away, the chef of local restaurant India Joze often finds a culinary use for it.

The post-harvest events bring together growers, community members, and local food experts, and they’re a birthplace for lasting relationships and useful skills promoting a sustainable culture.

Schnaar’s project would have fizzled out had it not been for his devotion to it, and the whole-hearted embrace it has received from the community. Most of the fruit hosts have welcomed him and his fruit harvesters back each year, and the word is spreading. Harvests that used to see only a handful of people are now numbering dozens to even 40 or 50 people.

Read this article in its entirety, including an interview with Steve Schnaar at Shareable.

Power to the People

Why the rise of green energy makes utility companies nervous.

From the June 2015 New Yorker Magazine article by Bill McKibben

Light socket
CONSTRUCTION BY STEPHEN DOYLE / PHOTOGRAPH BY ERIC HELGAS

Mark and Sara Borkowski live with their two young daughters in a century-old, fifteen-hundred-square-foot house in Rutland, Vermont. Mark drives a school bus, and Sara works as a special-ed teacher; the cost of heating and cooling their house through the year consumes a large fraction of their combined income. Last summer, however, persuaded by Green Mountain Power, the main electric utility in Vermont, the Borkowskis decided to give their home an energy makeover. In the course of several days, coördinated teams of contractors stuffed the house with new insulation, put in a heat pump for the hot water, and installed two air-source heat pumps to warm the home. They also switched all the light bulbs to L.E.D.s and put a small solar array on the slate roof of the garage.

The Borkowskis paid for the improvements, but the utility financed the charges through their electric bill, which fell the very first month. Before the makeover, from October of 2013 to January of 2014, the Borkowskis used thirty-four hundred and eleven kilowatt-hours of electricity and three hundred and twenty-five gallons of fuel oil. From October of 2014 to January of 2015, they used twenty-eight hundred and fifty-six kilowatt-hours of electricity and no oil at all. President Obama has announced that by 2025 he wants the United States to reduce its total carbon footprint by up to twenty-eight per cent of 2005 levels. The Borkowskis reduced the footprint of their house by eighty-eight per cent in a matter of days, and at no net cost.

READ MORE
http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/06/29/power-to-the-people