DIY, or Do It Yourself is a phrase that came to be of common use around the 50s and originally was used to describe home improvement projects people would complete by themselves without the aid of experts. Currently it has widely overgrown this initial meaning. It is being applied to all sorts of disciplines where people attempt to do projects by themselves aided by the experiences of others that have done it before. This has been greatly aided by the appearance of Internet and several on-line communities that are very willing to share their knowledge with new enthusiasts.
The Whole Earth Catalog was an American counterculture catalog released in the late 60s that aimed exactly "to provide education and "access to tools" so a reader could "find his own inspiration, shape his own environment, and share his adventure with whoever is interested". It's been compared by Steve Jobs as a "paperback version of Google".
Is this relevant for sustainability at all? I believe it is. This ideal of openly sharing information about how to make something at home, empowers people to be agents of the changes they want. May it be in their own life or in a community. DIY pushes us from thought to action. It rips us away from the tv screen to do something useful and rewarding.
You have to invest your time and effort to obtain a desired result, not just your money. That is where DIY projects make us re-appreciate our stuff and lets us re-evaluate how we obtain it.
If a particular DIY project is sustainable or not, it really depends on what it is about. Here are some fascinating DIY sites found round the web that help us be a little bit more sustainable per project we embrace:
- Set up a bike to generate your own electricity:
- Do your own small scale wind generator:
- Grow veggies in your apartment window or reduced spaces:
- Get handy recycling clothes or other fabric related items:
- Classic DIY portal: http://www.popularmechanics.com/
- Just fun to look at some upcycling: www.trunity.net/upcycling/topics
All in all, with Internet you can find people to ask about virtually anything. You just need to know what you want to do. But more importantly, you have to want to get going. No?