Thursday, August 2, 2012
What truly isn't edible is composted and used as fertilizer in the gardens.
I visited in mid-winter, so the gardens weren’t flourishing with veggies, but in the spring, summer and fall they grow a decent amount of produce.
“Poop here, pee outside.”
Recycling is a huge part of what Velatropa does. Everything is re-used.
It's a snake!
I helped them out for the day. We ironed two plastic tarps together to make a covering for the greenhouse.
Buenos Aires has no public recycling program. Trash is brought to landfills, and left to pollute the water table. What does get recycled is picked up by "cartoneros." The unemployed travel around with large carts and pick up plastic, glass, metal, wood, and cardboard. They bring their loads to private recycling companies and exchange it for cash. They also live off of what the city discards, but in a much more roundabout way.
Only on the surface could Velatropa be considered a group of cartoneros. Over 15 years, they've built a community where knowledge, chores, and companionship are shared consciously and sustainably. The idea that people would choose to live like this is completely foreign to some. To me, it makes perfect sense. I'm far from being a communist. However, on a small scale, communities thrive and carry on so much better than those who fend for themselves in poverty. Planned economies are absurd, but depending on and helping your fellow man is something that should be much more common in western civilization. In other cultures, perhaps Mexico, living in larger units is more accepted, but in the United States we dwell on the idea everyone should own their own large, single-family home, buy everything they need from one store, and forget about what they discard as if a garbage truck were a magical vehicle that solved with the first-world's waste epidemic. Communities like Velatropa are at the far end of the spectrum in terms of sustainable living, but they make us stop and think. Are we living it right?
Do I, one person have an impact on the rest of society and our beautiful blue planet? Can I change something if I don't like it? Will I make a difference?