Tuesday, February 06, 2007

The Earthship

A colleague came into my office the other day and asked if I had a few moments to discuss something they were pretty sure they wanted to do. I said yes of course.

Turns out that this person wants to build an earthship.

Now, you may not know what an earthship is, but they are houses that

Heat and cool themselves naturally via solar/thermal dynamics...

Collect their own power from the sun and wind...

Harvest their own water from rain and snow melt...

Contain and treat their own sewage on site...

Produce a significant amount of food...

And are constructed using largely the byproducts of modern society;like cans, bottles and tires

This definition comes primarily from a character I met years ago in Taos named Michael Reynolds. At the time, he was building a beer can house for my college roommate. My other college roommate ended up living in one of the earlier passive solar designs that Reynolds built. I'm pretty sure that my old bass guitar amplifier is still there.

I mentioned to my friend that I knew the guy who started that concept and wondered if he was even still alive. Well, he most definitely is. And he has a web site.

Here is what Reynolds says he is doing with his earthships:

We are evolving the way humans live on this planet.

We are redesigning existing methods of living - home by home.

We all are constantly making small, believable steps toward slowing down and ultimately reversing the negative impact of human development on the Earth¹s ability to support plants, animals and humans.

We believe that this must be done in small steps that people can understand and easily act upon.

Regardless of whether the governments, corporations or other "powers that be" cooperate or not, Earthship Biotecture empowers people to make positive changes in their own lives to reduce their personal effect on global warming. "

Reynolds has spent a lifetime doing this, and he should be thanked and honored for his contributions to organic architecture and passive solar design.

But, I don't want to live way out in the country in an earthship. Besides, these are not ships, they are little more than life rafts.

I already live on The Earthship.

And as long as we think we can build our own independence, and not have to deal with everyone else on the our real ship, we are headed down a very slippery slope.

However, I do think that larger, more developed earthships --dense communities that are designed with many of the same principles that Reynolds embraces, will soon become a realistic alternative living strategy to the lack of action we see in the social sphere. My favorite designs for such communities come straight from the area where the earthship was born. But they are not new, they are several thousand years old.

But we cannot disconnect.

We must come together.

On the one Spaceship we have.


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Earthfamily Principles

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