Ben. Just Act! Adventurer since April 3, 2020.
Immediately after Just Act! Ben committed to composting to overcome complacency.
Ben was the first person I took through Just Act!, and at the end of our time together, he figured out that he was going to start composting as a way to move away from the complacency that was holding him back from getting to a dreamy future life. All he had to do was wait for a new roommate to move in so that he could get everyone in the house on board.
Shortly after, he also committed to food prep to reduce plastic waste.
A few days later, he also took a look at his premade Trader Joe’s lunch habit, which was creating a lot of plastic waste. He decided that he was going to try to get away from all that waste and take himself toward a life of eating better by doing food prep.
He got his roomies on board.
When he pitched composting to his roommates, they were not only on board, but got drawn into a full blown conversation about how to make parts of the household better for our earth. He bought the bags, put it in a bucket, and they started composting. With the excitement around the progress also came a bit of exasperation on Ben’s part. It had been so easy, and Ben wishes he had started sooner.
His roomie Elise helped him start food prepping.
Compost fully achieved almost right away, food prep was next. His roommate, Elise, turned out to be a huge help for Ben and for the house, driving a lot of what he called “micro projects” for their shared home. Elise taught Ben how to cook wild rice in the crockpot, bake banana bread, and helped him come up with a system for pre-making wraps for lunch. As a bonus, he was reusing plastic bags from the tortillas, and reusing the foil for the wraps as well.
The whole crew is now dreaming about urban planting.
The crew at Ben’s taking this journey together also installed a veggie box, and have been doing some research to find inspiration for where to go with it. Their latest find for inspiration is the Gangsta Gardener, Ron Finley, who Ben describes as “an amazing human, and fucking hilarious.” They’ve been watching his instructional videos, says he makes gardening seem so easy to do, and got Ben’s house psyched!
Thank You Ben!
Thank you for leaping into the unknown with me. Thank you for being the catalyst for your house to live in a way that is in alignment with our earth. It’s really amazing to see how the power of one action can start such a wild ride! I can’t wait to see what the Gangsta Gardener inspires y’all to create! I’m so stoked that you’re letting me live this adventure vicariously.
4/3/20: Ben’s adventure to compost and food prep started with his desire to help people he loves.
Ben’s adventure to compost and food prep started with his desire to help people he loves.
Originally Posted 4/7/2020
“[The process to identify my earth-healing step] was fun! It was a nice, interesting, and reflective activity. It was a unique experience to think about where I would ideally be, and think backward and identify the solutions that way. I had never done it in that direction.” -Ben
Ben Pontecorvo is a climber, dog lover, current employee of a huge tech company, and a brother of my heart living in Seattle, Washington. When the idea for the Limitless 2020 Earth Day Hope Raiser came across Ben’s radar, he immediately jumped up to help in whatever way he could. It’s the kind of wonderful man Ben is.
But, Ben was worried that his story wasn’t unique enough. He expressed to me that other than avoiding plastic and riding his bike everywhere (two earth-healing actions that are DEFINITELY worth celebrating), he just wasn’t sure he had a story to share. I disagreed and thought he was a perfect choice to help spread hope that we all have the power to do something. We all just need to find it, and do it!
With that conviction, I also happened to be in the process of developing Just Act! Because I love Ben and felt safe that he would not be offended if my process wasn’t time-tested and perfect, I asked him to be my first ever guinea pig. He agreed!
Going through this process with Ben gives me hope that anyone can identify and take action that works for their life. Sometimes all we need is a little help from supportive friends.
Here’s the story of Ben’s journey to take earth-healing steps that could also lead to his best possible future!. -BB
Ben’s story is our seventh story of hope in the Limitless 2020 Earth Day Hope Raiser (like a fundraiser, but for hope)! Join us every day until Earth Day (April 22), as we share 22 hope-inspiring stories of the adventures everyday people across our planet are taking to build a better future on a thriving earth.
Ben started the adventure by dreaming about his awesome future life.
He opened his heart and his mind, and dreamed about what his life would be like in 2025, should things work out for him beyond his wildest dreams. His dream was beautiful. He imagined living in nature next to friends, helping his kids learn how to live by their passions from an early age, and using his digital mapping-derived skills to work for a company contributing to the greater good.
People who saw his life would be like, “Wow, Ben! You’ve come a long way!”
Ben returned to the present to identify what was already taking him to this dream future, and what might be holding him back.
With his dream future in his mind, he came back to the present to identify what he was doing right now that was taking him to that beautiful future (his assets), and what he was doing right now that was holding him back from making it to the future of his heart’s dreams (his barriers).
He focused on the one thing from both lists screaming at him the loudest, and found himself at a barrier. It was time to take a look at his complacency.
Ben took some time to contemplate how to take an action for the earth that would make the barrier of complacency fade away in the process.
Ben identified that Seattle has a composting program, and he could probably start using it as a way to do something good for the earth and step away from some of his complacency at the same time. With that one action in his sights, he needed to figure out what to do to get started.
Ben decided that his very first step toward summiting “compost mountain” was to get his roommates on board.
Since Ben is living with two other people, he recognized that his decision to compost was a group decision and that he’d need to get all the people in his home to participate.
With his first step in mind, Ben contemplated past successes to find strategies that would lead him to success in taking this action.
Ben thought about the time that he finished Even Steven – a pretty difficult climb based on his skill level – by deciding to put in full effort, overcoming personal doubt, and letting the words of supportive friends bolster his confidence!
Ben took up Becca’s offer to be his supportive friend, and set a deadline to check in.
In order to motivate himself into action, Ben set a realistic deadline to take his very first step. He had one roommate moving out, so he’d wait until the next roommate came into the picture to strike up the conversation about composting. Ben took Becca up on her offer to check in, and they set a date for one week from their initial conversation. And just like that, Ben knew exactly where he was going next.
Even though he had identified a first step, Ben’s thought process didn’t end at the initial conversation.
After the initial process, Ben kept reflecting on the complacency that holds him back from his beautiful future. He realized that another thing he’d become complacent about is buying Trader Joe’s pre-made or partially pre-made meals (which use a ton of plastic sometimes). He realized that this was an equal amount of complacency as the composting thing he’d thought of on the spot.
He thought he could probably plan better and make similar food using less plastic, and saving more money. He recognized that the reason why he didn’t was because it was just easier and because all his friends were buying the pre-made meals too.
A week later, Ben took his first step toward composting … and more.
Over a text conversation, Ben invited his two roommates to start composting with him – and they were both totally on board. It was actually pretty easy, and as it turns out they also wanted to do what was right for our earth. Unexpectedly, the conversation between the roommates turned into more than just a conversation about compost and people started throwing out other strategies for turning their shared home into an engine for earth-healing action. They played with ideas like reusable resealable bags and beeswax paper instead of disposable ziploc-style plastic bags and plastic wrap.
Ben relayed all this information to Becca at their check-in, in addition to the small and mighty victory of buying the compostable bags that would help the roomies separate their organic waste from waste going to the landfill. Ben had become the catalyst not just for himself to take action, but for two other people to step into action as well.
Ben was satisfied that he had taken the step, but disappointed in himself that he hadn’t taken it sooner.
Upon reflecting on how easy it had been to buy the bags and ask him roommates to compost, Ben found himself asking, “Why didn’t I do this earlier?” He related to Becca that going through the process of taking the step made him really want to try more things because this one was easy, and other things probable would be too.
Ben knew all it would take to keep going on this journey would be holding himself to a slightly higher standard.
With a little prompting from Becca, Ben identified that he was capable of a higher standard, but it always seemed like it happened when he was around other people who are really good at something. He reflected that who he was around was a big factor in the way he did things. He thought about rock climbing where when he was around people who were stronger climbers than him, he tended to climb better because he knew he had to be on his “A” game.
Ben and Becca discussed his next step to tackle the Trader Joe’s problem through meal prep and a little help from friends further along on their journey.
The next action still tugging at Ben was the Trader Joe’s plastic problem. He was trying to buy bigger packages of food and making small meals out of it (like buying bread and making sandwiches himself, for example), but he had a deep intuition that meal prep was going to be a big part of the solution.
Ben and Becca discussed some possible first steps to get Ben to the top of “food prep mountain.” They also reflected on ways food prep gets Ben to his beautiful future life. At the end, thinking about how Ben succeeds at holding himself to a higher standard, Becca offered to be the community that Ben needed to keep going.
Becca offered to text Ben and ask, “How’s it going?!” and “What are you going to do next?!” every two weeks until Ben didn’t need her help anymore.
With a laugh, he agreed to continue his journey to the kind of everyday earth healing that also puts him on a path to his beautiful future life.
Thank you Ben!!
Thank you for being the first brave soul to test Just Act! Thank you for giving yourself permission to dream about a beautiful future. Thank you for taking the actions that are going to get there. Thank you for letting Becca in so she can encourage your way forward!!