Tinker, tailor, eco hero
Larry Fisher, a modern day tinker who works out of the limelight to convert trash into useful goods that he then shares with local community organisations, explains why reusing is even better than recycling.
Born in Fresno in 1949, Fisher grew up taking apart and fixing things. His home-run business in Davis as a repairman of washers and dryers was therefore a natural progression. This work opened his eyes to the way new products were increasingly made with cheap breakable parts and were deliberately manufactured to be difficult to repair.
The turning point for Fisher came, however, when he visited Nicaragua in 1984. “I realised that the perfectly good food supermarkets throw away here would have been equal to or higher quality to the food I bought in markets in Nicaragua.” He decided at that point to no longer buy new things and to commit his time to reusing and recycling what others had thrown away.
Fisher says he feels horrified when he visits the local landfill or looks at what is thrown out in the garbage by big box stores, supermarkets or some households in Davis. “I think we don’t see the full cost of our throwaway society. We don’t see the trout streams that have been totally degraded. We don’t see the machines sifting mud in San Francisco Bay to take the heavy metals out. Clearly someone is laughing all the way to the bank as we throw stuff away and then buy more, but it is not the Earth, it is not our natural environment.”
Fisher also points out that a deliberate policy to reuse and recycle our waste could have very positive benefits for society. Food, often in perfectly good condition, that is thrown out of supermarkets could keep food banks full. Training in recycling waste could create hundreds of thousands of jobs and produce goods that last.
He notes that while recycling is better than throwing stuff out, it is still not as good as reusing products. “Recycling metal still has to be transported, melted down and recreated, all of which have environmental costs.” He brandishes a spade that he made by hand out of old TV aerials and which he frequently distributes to community gardens and housing coops. “This spade could last a lifetime. Compare that with a cheap spade you buy for a few dollars imported from China where you would be lucky if it lasts a few months.”
Noticeably Fisher’s philosophy for tackling climate change is less about new green technologies, but rather about reclaiming ways of living that have been lost in our consumerist society. “My family always lived frugally, but we never lacked for anything. And it wasn’t just my family. If things broke, people fixed them. If you needed something and couldn’t afford it, neighbours would share it with you. I think we will see increasing numbers of people looking to recycle, reuse and share as people become aware of the costs of supposedly ‘cheap’ products.”
In October 2010, Larry Fisher’s commitment to making an environmental and social difference was recognised when he won the Cool Davis Eco Hero Awards.
cooldaviscity Follow 2,048 809
Cool Davis is a coalition of citizens, the City of Davis, and community organizations working to empower our community to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
HUGE WIN! Maine just became the 1st state to pass a law requiring divestment from fossil fuels!
Other states should follow suit and ensure their public funds don’t drive the climate crisis.
Divestment goes Maine-stream - Grist
Maine just became the first state in the nation to pass an actual law requiring divestment of public funds from oil, gas, and coal companies.
The City is opening a cooling center today (Wed.) from 1pm to 8 pm located at the Davis Senior Center at 646 A St. Please use the 7th St entrance to the West multipurpose room. The cooling center will remain open through Sat. (daily hours 1 pm to 8 pm). Masks are required.
Tonight's the night! Please register to join (virtually) the next meeting of the Davis Electric Vehicle Association on Wednesday, June 9 at 6:00 p.m. (PDT).
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining.
Welcome! You are invited to join a meeting: DEVA Meeting June 9, . After registering, you will receive a confirmation email about joining the meeting.
Meeting of DEVA Happens every other month on the 2nd Wednesday at 6:00 pm
"Hallelujah. A day for celebration! I have a great story to share about how “all of us” ... won and killed the bill AB 1139 that wanted to kill rooftop Solar in California." @aztecsolar @RepowerYolo @SolarCitadel #gosolardavis
Grassroots Coalition Rallied to Keep California a Pro-Solar State - Cool Davis
Hallelujah. A day for celebration! I have a great story to share about how “all of us” won yesterday ...