Sustainable Building for a Sustainable Future
While civilization might be ending, I detached myself from all the horrific news and went to a sustainable building workshop to learn how to build houses from hay and mud using a method called “Wattle and daub”.
As someone who grew up in a conflict area — with some of my first memories being wearing a gas mask, and sitting in a “safe room”, while alarms go off, or my mom talking on the phone to my dad while missiles fell next to his office — the last few days have been pretty triggering. Not that you need to come from a conflict area to feel scared, distracted, and hopeless when nuclear war is being threatened and hundreds and thousands of people are fleeing a war zone caused by a wannabe dictator who likely didn’t get enough hugs. Between obsessively trying to find accurate data, I managed to detach from my phone and visit a beautiful eco-friendly hostel in Potrero Chico area in Mexico called Finca el Caminante to learn about sustainable building.
The place is run by Edwardo, a long time backpacker who decided to build a backpackers’ paradise that is also based on sustainable practices. Natural water filtration systems, compost toilets, and sustainable buildings built from local materials with green roofs cover the landscape.
The first day we covered theory and practiced building frames from bamboo. We also mixed the mud (clay hay and water) and let it ferment overnight.
The second day was when we got our hands dirty sculpting the mud onto the frame. There is something very playful and fun working with your hands sculpting mud and being around lovely caring people that are trying to improve the world did wonders for my mental health for a few hours.
I really hope I don’t need to use these new learned skills in a post-apocalyptic scenario, but just in case, you know where to find me.