When I was a kid, maybe 8 or 9, my grandparents lost a tape in their VCR. It wasn’t a huge deal, just one that my grandfather used to record movies off of the SciFi channel, but I told them I could retrieve it. So down to their basement and into my grandpa’s workshop I went to carefully remove the VHS from the dead VCR. A few trips back and forth to their house over the course of a couple of weekends and I did as I promised. I had pulled the stuck tape from the machine…but not before the poor thing was in over a hundred pieces strewn across the workbench. It was then and there I knew I loved working with my hands and learning how things worked, something I still enjoy and do often today.
There are far fewer VCRs that need repair in my life now, but that doesn’t mean I have a shortage of things to work on and dissect. VCR’s have become computers and random pieces of electronics or machinery. A little coding and physical computing has even found its way in there with Raspberry Pi and Arduino. The quest for knowledge has been never-ending but, unfortunately, has only ever been a hobby. Being a father had also limited the time in the garage – until recently when our little man discovered he loved the outdoors and seeing what his dad was up to in the garage. It’s actually because of the added time outdoors recently, and the love our boy has for the outdoors already, that I’m even making this post.
You see it on a ton of blogs and other social media posts by new parents; “being a parent has changed the way I look at the world”. It’s cliché and cheesy but for those of us in that club we know it’s partly true. I’ve always had a soft spot for the environment, being cleaner and greener without being a hippie, and making strides to protect even the smallest of creatures. I am not perfect. Being a dad has just amplified those feelings and given me more reason to make better efforts recycling or being less wasteful with food and water.
It’s also helped me accept that, despite my strong desire to live forever and see humanity ascend to the stars, I will be here for the rest of my life on our beloved Earth. It’s sobering but it calls me to action, to do more so that Elijah and his generation can enjoy the planet I’ve grown up on. One man cannot change the world but he can be the change he wishes to see in the world. It’s with that in mind that I decided to use my love for tinkering to repair and reuse as much e-waste and discarded items as possible. Individuals and companies have made great strides in recent years to create better recycling programs to take in and properly dispose of consumer e-waste, or discarded electronic devices, but the truth is it is not enough. Take a drive on garbage day through your town, head over to your local dump – some people are unsure of, or unwilling to, properly recycle their electronics. My goal is to keep these items out of landfills and dumps, repair and refurbish what I can, and give it back to the community via Goodwill, Salvation Army, or selling it personally dirt cheap.
In the end it is a drop in the bucket for one man to collect and repair other people’s junk, but a drop at a time is how buckets get filled. I hope that my actions will inspire others around me to do the same. I hope that it will inspire my son to learn to repair what is broken rather than replacing something so easily. I want to leave this planet in better shape than I found it and I should start with trying to make a difference, giving back to the people around me. Hopefully my actions inspire some kids somewhere to dig in and attempt to repair their grandparents VCR, and they discover an entire world of enjoyment and satisfaction from tinkering like I have.
Check out the new public space I’ve setup on Facebook.