Feb 5, 2022 • 1HR 3M

Don’t Toss It! Fix It!

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Ralph Nader talks about what’s happening in America, what’s happening around the world, and most importantly what’s happening underneath it all.
Episode details

Ralph and the boys have a fascinating and wide-ranging conversation with Peter Mui, founder of the Fixit Clinic, a worldwide organization that holds "pop up" events where experts teach you how to repair your consumer goods, which not only keeps them out of the landfill but is also a community-based activity that conveys critical thinking skills.

Peter Mui is a technologist, a champion of engineering and science innovation and education, and the founder of Fixit Clinic– pop-up events that convey basic disassembly, troubleshooting, and repair skills using peoples’ own broken things as the vehicle.

What I was really trying to do is convey critical thinking and troubleshooting skills, using people’s broken things as the excuse to get them in the door. Because once you have those skills, they’re applicable across a broad range of issues– way beyond the broken thing that’s in front of you. I’m just using that broken thing as the impetus, as the motivation to get them in the door.

Peter Mui, founder of Fixit Clinic

[High maintenance costs] is a business model. This is becoming more and more of a revenue center. and it speaks to the very nature of ownership. So when you buy something, do you own it anymore?… It doesn’t have to be this way, but there are signs on the horizon of a sort of a dark dystopian future if we don’t address this thing pretty darn fast here.

Peter Mui, founder of Fixit Clinic

I realized pretty early on that… even if we could hold these kinds of community repair events in every city and town across the planet, that most usable stuff would still end up in the landfill. So [with Fixit Clinic] I was trying to find the activists, the change agents in our society.

Peter Mui, founder of Fixit Clinic

We’ve certainly seen during the pandemic that the global supply chain has become brittle… Let’s imagine that the future is more local. And we’re certainly seeing this with food and other things. But imagine we could do this with durable goods as well.

Peter Mui, founder of Fixit Clinic

Fixit Clinic is kind of like improv. You never know what the general public’s going to present you with.

Peter Mui, founder of Fixit Clinic

I’m curious about how we can create a world where durability, maintainability, serviceability, repairability become the things we care about.

Peter Mui, founder of Fixit Clinic

In every community, there are technically oriented people with time on their hands. Some of them are retired mechanics or engineers or plumbers or electricians. And I would think they would be a very good source to do this thing on a local level… it’s a sort of a social occasion. And it brings the community together.

Ralph Nader

Ralph Nader Radio Hour Ep 413 Transcript
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