I was going to be at Casa Pampa for four weeks. To be honest, I was a little nervous. I wasn’t sure what to expect. We’re taught in school and through facebook and youtube ways to be more environmentally conscious. To be fair I was more versed in what it means to be eco-friendly than most people.

So why was I nervous? Well for a while I had kept my distance from adapting an eco-conscious lifestyle, dancing on the fringe. I was the type to like the post and follow them, but never one to actively share the message or even adapt the habits for that matter.

It seemed like a job for somebody else, like the government, to implement these practices, such as organic composting. I wanted to not think about having to throw away my trash like I currently did. This was my mistake, this passive mindset that casually accepted that was most popular was the most easy.

That nervousness went away the moment I arrived at Casa Pampa. There was first the warmth, the sort that reminded me of going back home. Although I was the youngest of the four volunteers and the only one from the States, never once did I feel like an outsider.

This can be attributed to two things that are both tied to Casa Pampa’s environmental mission.

1. When you are united by a common mission and share in the work needed to achieve that you grow close and care about each other. It isn’t about what makes us different, but what makes us the same.

2. Specifically caring about the planet and being eco-conscious transforms the sort of person you are. You care more about everything. When you start to love every little leaf and insect it becomes easier to love other people.

This introduction came to define my time here and has also come to be further marked by discovery and learning. This is primarily in concern to organic waste and how poorly we manage it. We’ve seemed to forgotten the lessons given to us by the planet, lessons that have worked for millions of years. These lessons are decomposition and its role in the cycle of life.

While my stay has been too short to see my own waste become fertilizer, I have seen the beauty of the process up close. I’ve felt the warmth my waste gave off. It was incredible and not to mention much more simple than the way I handled my waste in Los Angeles. Sorting out my waste makes it much easier to manage and not as much as a hassle. My trashcan isn’t constantly full because I’m reusing over half of it. I’m very excited to return to my home a better person, one who cares more about the planet, and when you care more about the planet you care more about humanity.

One thing I will miss is the consistent waves just steps away from my bedroom. Waking up and knowing that there are waves waiting to be surfed is certainly a privilege that I have taken complete advantage of while staying here. Till next time Casa Pampa.

 

-Billy Ward