While I was at Broadwell for a work day, I was given the job of washing a bunch of the compost and food buckets. While I was doing that, Constantine tasked me with thinking about a question to ask Kathy once I was done with that job. The question I was to ask was “You seem to enjoy and have fun making soil and the verma-compost and everything about that. Why?” (That wasn’t exactly the right question and I will address that later.) I found that washing the buckets was “work” and yet it seemed to me that Kathy enjoys her work with that all stuff. So I finished washing those buckets and went in to ask her. I asked and as I had somewhat anticipated, it blew up from a possible simple 5 minute answer to a nice hour and a half conversation mostly about that topic question, starting with her just thinking about it for a minute. Her first main point was that she did not in fact have fun, as I had put it, washing buckets. She went on to say that she did all that (partially) because she hates what we do: People in general don’t know what happens to their waste (of any kind), they just flush it, chuck it or what ever and that sucks. It is of course quite a bit easier to just throw that rotten apple away instead of composting it. The problem is that that apple will go into a landfill and rot with all the other organic materials in that landfill, creating tons of methane, which is a greenhouse gas. Besides that methane problem, it’s simply a waste: to throw away that food instead of turning it into something useful, like compost full of natural nutrients.
Another problem is that we aren’t responsible at all with our resources. We would rather use resource consumptive things like chemical fertilizers instead of good natural compost. Doing what she does is important to our future. She use very little resources to turn the food scraps into usable compost. So Kathy decided, on one part, to provide a community service of composting.
Kathy also said she partially does it because it means she isn’t contributing to the current problem. Besides doing it for herself, she does it for others by taking their organic materials and composts that for them. With her doing that, for herself and others, Kathy helps other to see and understand what and why she’s doing what’s she’s doing. If they learn something from her, and if they do what they learn, that helps them contribute less to the problem as well.
Lastly, she said that overall, she enjoys the ends results for her and the planet, but not so much the work getting there. She enjoys knowing that she is not contributing to the problem, and possibly, making it better. She also enjoys the continual learning that come with her job. Learning about what’s actually happening in the compost and why, what happens to the plants that use it versus chemical fertilizers. But also not just about the compost or whatever, but also the larger impact of the whole project. She enjoys telling people what she has learned and finding and meeting people that understand, both the problem that he is trying to help and what she’s trying to do.
In doing the service that she does, she enjoys the fact that people like what she’s doing for them and for the planet. Besides that, it’s an important thing to do, no matter how small the actual impact will be. So as Kathy said to me, “what’s fun got to do with it?” It’s important and it needs done.