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Dave and Anke
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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The DIY Mandate: Do It Yourself!

By Rustin Wright

Never throw anything away you can't retrieve at low tide.
Codger's advice as passed on by Mike McConnell

I'm a sucker for manifestos... pithy declarations of basic principles. Here's a brace of 'em for the DIY Revolution. Follow links provided for easier reading.

Like so many manifestos, they're not a perfect fit... certain turns of phrase and assumptions, here and there, make me twitchy. But gotta love 'em for their enthusiasm - a trait essential to anyone who gets up on a soap-box and shouts the Truth as they see it. And good on 'em! I won't quibble with their fine print.

Of course, I see it all through a particular - possibly peculiar - lens. But then, you're here, reading this, so it's likely one we share.

All this can apply to the low life on the water.

In many ways, these are clarion calls to go back to the future. A time when self-reliance was the rule, and not the exception. A time antedating extremes of specialization, when we were Jacks and Jills of all trades, masters of none. A time before the 'attractive nuisance', when use at your own risk was caution enough. It wasn't by any means a Golden Age, but it had its silver linings.

The downside of manifestos is that they're wordy. They're hard to put together, in the morning after dancing in the streets. So we need a slogan to sum it all up and chant at the running-dog corporatarians... Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose, Recycle.


Click HERE for easy reading or distribution.


  1. Well, Dave, you're obviously some ol'curmedgeon who live in the past and want us all to return to steam or worse, horse power and sails, home made bows and arrows, growing your own food...bah...humbug..

    Wait..err...that sounds like me too! I can bear things I can't fix either, modern cars, mostly unfixable without arrays of computers, camera, now made to be un-fixable..and my list could go on... Wood I understand, so most metals, electric...just about...electronic, no at all..
    I like those manifestos.

  2. We have come a long way in two generations, not much of it in a positive direction. The way of life expounded here is second nature to me because I learned much of what I know from my old grandparents who were born in the 19th century.

    Having lived the DIY manifesto all my 60 years, I propose that the old ways are an anachronism and can be improved on in so many ways.
    The key to improving life on this planet is to focus more on life on this planet than short term profit. Why is something so simple so difficult?

    One thing I learned when I was young, that you don't see enough of now, is people helped each other with difficult tasks. Self sufficiency is good training, but it's even better when you can ask your neighbor for help, or better yet, they just show up, knowing you need it.

    1. Hi Doryman,

      I've always been struck by how the generation(s) that lived through the Great Depression developed the habit of DIY and general thrift. Anke's Grandmother, for example, had TP for guests, but tore flower wrapping tissue for herself (collected from the aftermath of various and ubiquitous social events).

      I agree that the old ways are anachronistic, and that they can be improved. I consider them a gold-mine of ways and means, however, as well as attitudes. I see them as a base-line from which we can make considered forays into higher, 'appropriate' technologies.

      Your comment that a focus on (long term) life on the planet is spot on. One of the most attractive aspects to DIY/Self-Repair, to me, IS its focus on the longer run. The ability to extend the life of goods and full utilization of materials - both through robust, initial design and by practice at the user end - at the VERY least slows the cycle of consumption/disposal and the entropic effects that entails.

      And yes, nothing like big push shared by many hands, and the feastin' and dancin' that follow!


    2. Here's a quotation I love, that sums (without exactly clarifying) my feelings on Old vs New ways:

      Wherever the seasons are marked by holiday festivals and ceremonies; where the stages of life are punctuated by family and communal rituals; where eating and drinking and sexual play constitute the central core of life; where work, even hard work, is rarely divorced from rhythm, song, human companionship, and esthetic delight; where vital activity is counted as great a reward of labor as the product; where neither power nor profit takes precedence of life; where the family and the neighbor and the friend are all part of a visible, tangible, face-to-face community; where everyone can perform as a man or woman any task that anyone else is qualified to do -- there the neolithic culture, in its essentials, is still in existence, even though iron tools are used or a stuttering motor truck takes the goods to market.

      - From Lewis Mumford's The Myth of the Machine

  3. Lovely manifestos....RIGHT ON.