Small fixes in a big world


Here’s another bit of proof (I kind of collect them) that knowing how to fix stuff can make your life much greener.

I wrote some weeks ago about our broken gas-powered lawn mower, and how we were struggling to get the lawn cut with the electric mower we have hanging around. We ended up not really mowing at all for the last stretch of the summer. Parts of the lawn were hip-deep, and I’m sure our neighbors were less than appreciative of this shaggy look.

During that time, Mr. Green Scene ordered a part for our gas mower that he thought might fix the problem (namely, it ran lousy and stalled out a lot). Now, this was not easy. The bit of research he did indicated pretty clearly that the cheapest option would be to buy a whole new mower. And ordering the part involved a recalcitrant customer-service rep who chided my husband for not knowing the difference between a Part Number and an Item Number.

Anyway, the part (item?) came and he put it in and it didn’t fix the problem. More time went by. He continued researching and decided it was probably a 75-cent gasket that we needed. This one did the trick! Our lawn is decent once again.

Even better, we did not have to put that mower in the garbage. It amazes me to think that without a working knowledge of the machines on which we depend, we’d be forced to replace them and throw away perfectly fixable stuff. The gasket in question is about the size and shape of a child’s mitten. Far better to buy, ship and discard one of those than the whole machine.

You don’t often see "learn how to fix stuff" on those lists of ways to green your home, but it’s an important one. Knowledge is power!