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What's Your Fixophobia?

I’ve been getting a lot of requests lately—requests I never anticipated. Can you help me fix my iPhone display? (Indeed I can). Will you show me...

I’ve been getting a lot of requests lately—requests I never anticipated. Can you help me fix my iPhone display? (Indeed I can). Will you show me how to repair my laptop’s trackpad? (Sure—which one?) What’s the best hack for my Nintendo 3DS? (I don’t know, but I can find out).


I’m no MacGyver. But after I announced to the world that I’m a Female Fixoholic back in September, my inbox has been pretty full. Apparently, people think I’m a repair expert. Don’t be fooled: I don’t know how to fix everything. I haven’t jailbroken my phone and I don’t use all my tools in my Pro Tech Toolkit.

But I don’t think that makes or breaks me as a fixoholic. I’m a fixoholic because I learned not to be afraid of fixing. I’m not afraid of getting my hands dirty. I’m not afraid of grabbing a repair manual. I’m a fixoholic because—even when I fail—I’m not afraid to try, try again. Judging by the anxious emails in my inbox, I think that lack of fear is something most people, well, lack. It’s something I like to call Fixophobia.

Fixophobia. (n) a state of mind in which a person or persons do not fix their things due to a deep fear or insecurity.

You see, when I walked out of my apartment complex this morning, I glanced over at the building dumpster. And, sadly, I wasn’t surprised at what I saw. A mirror with a cracked frame. A pillow with a popped stitch. A TV with a missing button. Trash day isn’t until next week and already rejected items fill the container to the brim.

If I’d seen that same dumpster a year ago, I might’ve thought, “Wow, that’s a lot of junk. What a waste.” But now that I’m a fixoholic, I think: The mirror’s still good. I could restitch that pillow in five minutes. I could make a new button with Sugru.

I’ll be fair. Most of us haven’t been trained in the art of plumbing or taken advanced electrical engineering. But overcoming fixophobia isn’t about your level of expertise—it’s about your willingness to try. When we say “I’ll break my warranty,” or “I’m sure I’ll make the problem worse,” we’re metaphorically throwing our hands up in the air. And not only giving up on our right to repair, but kinda saying “screw you” to our ability to repair. If you’re going to throw something out, how much worse could it get?

But now is the time to stop fearing. Now is time to start picking up our drivers, spudgers, and hammers. Because we live in a glorious age with a whole ‘lotta fixer friends eager to help out. Maker Faires grow more and more popular each year—boasting thousands of attendees. Research on our environmental footprints, from companies like Patagonia, are becoming more commonplace. Transparency for electronics manufacturing, like the ethically made Fairphone, is gaining traction. Heck, even iFixit’s newly launched repair pledge illuminates the global scale of repair hunger. Fixoholics—all of them—providing us with a multitude of repair resources.

And yet, my building’s dumpster—one of millions—is consistently full and most consumers still cringe when an object breaks, unhesitatingly throwing the thing out.

So you wanna be the next to defeat fixphobia? Great. I believe in you. Because, like me, you don’t have to know how to fix everything. You just can’t fear fixing anything.

Here’s what you do: Let that mythical repair monster in your mind go. And try to fix something. Look up a guide. Participate in forums. Research some tools. Buy the parts online. Heck, start with a simple DIY search on Pinterest. And before you say, “I’m afraid I can’t”—say, “I’m not afraid to try.”

Articles

The healthcare systems in the United States and the United Kingdom couldn't be more different.

The UK's National Health Service is the largest government-run healthcare system in the world and the US's is largest private sector system.

Almost all essential health services in the UK are free, whereas in America cost can vary wildly based on insurance, co pays and what the hospitals and physicians choose to charge.

A medical bill in the US

One of the largest differences is cost. The average person in the UK spends £2,989 ($3915) per year on healthcare (most of which is collected through taxes), whereas the average American spends around $10,739 a year.

So Americans should obviously be getting better care, right? Well, the average life expectancy in the UK is higher and infant mortality rate is lower than that in the US.

RELATED: The World Health Organization declares war on the out of control price of insulin

Plus, in the U.S., only 84% of people are covered by private insurance, Medicare or Medicaid. Sixteen percent of the population are forced to pay out of pocket.

In the UK, everyone is covered unless they are visiting the country or an undocumented resident.

Prescription drugs can cost Americans an arm and a leg, but in the UK, prescriptions or either free or capped at £8.60 ($11.27).

via Wikimedia Commons

The one drawback to the NHS system is responsiveness. In the UK people tend to wait longer for inessential surgeries, doctor's appointments, and in emergency rooms. Whereas, the US is ranked as the most responsive country in the world.

RELATED: Alarmingly high insulin prices are forcing Americans to flock to Canada to buy the drug

The New York Times printed a fair evaluation of the UK's system:

The service is known for its simplicity: It is free at the point of use to anyone who needs it. Paperwork is minimal, and most patients never see a bill. … No one needs to delay medical treatment until he or she can afford it, and virtually everyone is covered. …

According to data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the United States spent 17.2 percent of its economic output on health care in 2016, compared with 9.7 percent in Britain. Yet Britain has a higher life expectancy at birth and lower infant mortality.

Citizens in each country have an interesting perspective on each other's healthcare systems. UK citizens think it's inhumane for Americans have to pay through the nose when they're sick or injured. While Americans are skeptical of socialist medicine.

A reporter from Politics Joe hit the streets of London and asked everyday people what they think Americans pay for healthcare and they were completely shocked.

Health

Bans on plastic bags and straws can only go so far. Using disposable products, like grabbing a plastic fork when you're on the go, can be incredibly convenient. But these items also contribute to our growing plastic problem.

Fortunately, you can cut down on the amount of waste you produce by cutting down on disposable products. And even more fortunately, there are sustainable (and cute) replacements that won't damage the environment.

Coconut bowls


Cocostation

Who says sustainable can't also be stylish? These cute coconut bowls were handmade using reclaimed coconuts, making each piece one of a kind. Not only are they organic and biodegradable, but they're also durable, in case your dinner parties tend to get out of hand. The matching ebony wood spoons were polished with the same coconut oil as the bowls.

Cocostation Set of 2 Vietnamese Coconut Bowls and Spoons, $14.99; at Amazon

Solar powered phone charger

Dizaul

Why spend time looking around for an outlet when you can just harness the power of the sun? This solar powered phone charger will make sure your phone never dies as long as you can bask in the sun's rays. As an added bonus, this charger was made using eco-friendly silicone rubber. It's win-win all around.

Dizaul Solar Charger, 5000mAh Portable Solar Power Bank, $19.95; at Amazon, $19.95; at Amazon

Herb garden kit

Planter Pro

Put some green in your life with this herb planter. The kit comes with everything you need to get a garden growing, including a moisture meter that helps you determine if your herbs are getting the right amount of food to flourish. All the seeds included are certified to be non-GMO and non-hybrids, meaning you can have fresh, organic herbs right at your fingertips.

Planter Pro's Herb Garden Cedar Planter, $39.00; at Amazonedar Planter, $39.00; at Amazon

Reusable Keurig cups

K & J

Keurig cups are convenient, but they also create a ton of plastic waste. These Keurig-compatible plastic cups are an easy way to cut down on the amount of trash you create without cutting down on your caffeine. Additionally, you won't have to keep on buying K Cups, which means you'll be saving money and the environment.

K&J Reusable Filter Cups, $8.95 for a set of 4,; at Amazon

Low-flow shower head

Speakman

Low-flow water fixtures can cut down your water consumption, which saves you money while also saving one of the Earth's resources. This shower head was designed with a lighter flow in mind, which means you'll be able to cut down on water usage without feeling like you're cutting down on your shower.

Speakman Low Flow Shower Head, $14.58; at Amazon

Bamboo safety razor

Zomchi

Instead of throwing away a disposable razor every time you shave, invest in an eco-friendly, reusable one. This unisex shaver isn't just sustainable, it's also sharp-looking, which means it would make a great gift for the holidays.

Zomchi Safety Razor, $16.99; at Amazon

The Planet
Instagram / Leonardo DiCaprio

This August, the world watched as the Amazon burned. There were 30,901 individual fires that lapped at the largest rainforest in the world. While fires can occur in the dry season due to natural factors, like lightning strikes, it is believed that the widespread fires were started by loggers and farmers to clear land. Brazil's president, Jair Bolsonaro, cites a different cause: the actor Leonardo DiCaprio.

DiCaprio wasn't accused of hanging out in the rainforest with a box of matches, however President Bolsonaro did accuse the actor of funding nonprofit organizations that allegedly set fires to raise donations.

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The Planet