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Casa Pueblo

by Francisco G. Gómez

Casa Pueblo is a project of community self management with the commitment to value and protect natural resources, both cultural and human. It was born in 1980 when the government of Puerto Rico wanted to initiate mining exploitation of silver, gold and copper on 17 sites. The mining would have caused an ecological and social catastrophe on 36,000 acres of land in the municipalities of Adjuntas, Utuado, Lares and Jayuya. The founding members who began the struggle and continued on are Tinti Deyá Díaz, Alexis Massol González , working with an exemplary group of volunteers.

As part of the group’s evolution, in 1985 through their own efforts, they acquired a large old house, transforming it into the organization’s headquarters and an independent community cultural center. It has slowly been restored through their own efforts, developing into a meeting and exhibition hall, library, handmade/handcrafted shop, hall of antiquities, hydroponic system, butterfly sanctuary , all operating on solar energy.

The name of the cultural center , Workshop of Art and Culture, so captured the people’s interest that the organization became known as Casa Pueblo.” Translated from Casa Pueblo’s website

I’m still learning about all the wonderful things that Casa Pueblo is doing besides, the butterfly sanctuary, solar powered movie theater and radio station, ecological forest learning center, music school, coffee growing and so many other projects underway.

Of all the many innovative and remarkable projects Casa Pueblo has undertaken in their long tenure doing sustainable/renewable work, the “Posterriqueño” is by far my favorite. The word means “Puertorican Lamp Post.” The lamp was designed by engineers from the University of Puerto Rico at the Mayagüez campus several years ago.

The purpose of the design was to improve the system of lighting on the island. The lamp’s technology is based on the L.E.D. (Light Emitting Diode) and promises a 55% reduction in energy consumption. This reduction could represent a savings of 63 million dollars, if not more, a year for the island.  And where a conventional lamp only lasts from 3 to 5 years, the Posterriqueño would have a 20 year life span.

Here is an in depth article by Elma Beatriz Rosado, writer for “La Respuesta – A Magazine to (Re)Imagine the Boricua Diaspora,” about the Posterriqueño.

Will the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico see the benefits of this cost effective and far superior innovation in lighting for the island; it’s been a while now since its inauguration. The fact that Puerto Rico was in financial crises before hurricane María hit in September of 2017, with a debt of 73 billion plus, should have answered that question positively. Of course, the realities of money, corruption and divided politics overshadow the logic of implementing the Posterriqueño islandwide, I dare say internationally, but only time will tell.

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