Guest blogger Santigie Fofana-Dura, MFA candidate in Collaborative Design at PNCA, was invited to share his thoughts on Juliet Schor’s February 24th talk for the 2012 Illahee Lecture Series

I attended Juliet Schor’s February 24th talk for the Illahee Lecture Series and was captivated by her research on the current state of our economic system. Schor talked through countless compelling examples of how our “business-as-usual” economic paradigms, and the perversion of America’s work ethic are hurting us in profound and disturbing ways. There were moments when I wanted to shout my emotion-laden responses out loud.

Many of the effects are not obvious and reflect the counterintuitive nature of our current economic framework. For example, Americans work so many hours that the return on energy and oil invested into the work hours is simply not worth the output, thus increasing our national debt. As she continued her talk to include alternatives to consumption, specifically the DIY (Do It Yourself) mentality, the question arose: “Why don’t more people DIY?”

It seems simple enough. If your clothes become torn, sew them. If your toaster loses a screw, replace it. If your plumbing breaks, repair it? As each question increased in difficulty, it dawned on me that a lot of people might not know how to “do it.” Even something as simple as sewing a couple of stitches into a torn pair of jeans is a skill that has been lost in the development of our consumer-based disposable culture. The reason why more people aren’t DIY’ers is because they don’t know how (DNH). Before the DIY mentality can become an all-out movement, the DNH’ers need to begin with DIT (Do It Together).

People who want to learn need to seek out the knowledge and those with the skills need to make themselves available. I believe DIT will ignite the fires and plant the seeds for what it really means to DIY.


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