Our story has been fabulous. We have been thinking about building our own on our ranch in Nebraska so we stayed to see if its what we really want. It is and so much more. We fished in the pond and caught seven fish, all of which but two we threw back. We cooked the two we kept in a banana leaf with a pepper we picked from the garden along with rosemary we picked too. We also made tea from dried Hibiscus flowers and mint found in the garden. We cooked around eight eggs during our stay. All harvested from the chicken coop.
As other nations throughout the world struggle to cut the amount of waste piling up in their landfills and marring the landscape, Sweden is facing an entirely different sort of challenge — they’ve run out of trash. Now they’re forced to import some more.
Swedes, you see, are among the planet’s least wasteful people, on average recycling around 96 percent of the garbage they produce. And with what’s left, they’ve found a way to use, having implemented a world-class waste-to-energy incineration program capable of providing electricity sufficient to power hundreds of thousands of homes.
But their hyper-efficiency has led to a unique problem: a trash shortage that could threaten the energy production capacity.
So, what is Sweden to do? Well, according to Swedish officials, the notoriously tidy nation will begin importing garbage from their neighbor Norway — about 80,000 tons of it annually, in fact, to fulfill their energy needs.
Perhaps the best part of all is that, in solving their problem, Swedes actually stand to profit from this endeavor; the Norwegians are going to pay them to take their waste, proving quite succinctly that one nation’s trash can truly be another’s treasure trove.
“My mission is to empower people to provide for themselves.” – James Fry
This past weekend, Earthship incorporated another permacultural practice into its headquarters’ education facility. The Visitor Center serves to showcase the base fundamentals and principle concepts to the public on a daily basis. There is information, books, an extensive greenhouse, videos, pictures and now, an aquaponics system. From our summer academy session, James Fry took the initiative to share his knowledge and experience building these systems and has given a 2-hour, hands-on class to two academy groups. This time around, he decided to move forward and do an entire workshop building this system start-to-finish with 10 academy students and some staff to ensure that the system would be maintained properly.
The Earthship crew has recently begun a new build in its headquarters’ home state. The clients are working to begin a new life living off the grid by building a 1-bedroom global model Earthship in a small rural town outside of Albuquerque called Estancia. Crewmembers have been called down for different stages in the building process for periods of time spanning 1-4 weeks at a time. There have been two separate monthly groups of interns with representation from all over the United States and other countries such as New Zealand, Brazil, Mexico, Canada and the Czech Republic. This build is scheduled for two months for completion, September-October 2012.
from the Manitoba Earthship Project A friend reminded me recently that our website could use a little updating – and so here I will attempt an update on the highlights from August – September in one post with a promise to improve my posting skills in the future. First let me say that we (Kris & Nicole) have experienced the best and most busy summer of our lives. Building your own Earthship is wild – tons of work, research, planning, debating, checking & double-checking, and crossing of fingers. I would only recommend doing this yourself if everyone who will live in the home is fully committed, on the same page, and ready for some sacrifice.
To build their dream home on a patch of farmland in Southern Ontario, Craig and Connie Cook had to source 1,200 old tires. Packed with dirt, they are the bricks of their “earthship” – an off-the-grid home made of recycled materials, in which the main source of heat is the sun.
Earthships are the brainchild of Michael Reynolds, a New Mexico-based architect and the founder of Earthship Biotecture, a company that designs and builds homes constructed with about 45-per-cent reused materials, including plastic and glass bottles, cans, reclaimed wood, natural plaster and stone, and reclaimed metal from washing machines and refrigerators.
There are dozens of such homes in Canada, where the concept has seen a surge following a 2007 documentary about Reynolds called Garbage Warrior. The movie helped popularize Earthships, which appeal to many for both environmental and economic reasons.
“Earthship Biotecture”: Renegade New Mexico Architect’s Radical Approach to Sustainable Living
New Mexico residents are trying to a break free from Los Alamos’ nuclear legacy by creating more environmentally sound ways of living. At the forefront of this struggle is renegade architect Michael Reynolds, creator of radically sustainable living options through a process called “Earthship Biotecture.” Reynolds’ solar homes are created from natural and recycled materials, including aluminum cans, plastic bottles and used tires. These off-the-grid homes minimize their reliance on public utilities and fossil fuels by harnessing their energy from the sun and wind turbines. In Taos, New Mexico, Reynolds gives us a tour of one of the sustainable-living homes he created.
Well I’ve been lucky enough to be able to revisit Taos this year to get some more hands-on experience, see some old friends, visit with the Academy and try and organise for some workshops in Australia for 2013. I thought Id just give a quick summary of what happened and what I observed this time round.
Well Taos is in full swing in September. There’s builds going on in Estancia and Pataka in New Mexico and finishing the towers and EVE project, with the crew dispersed between them. The Fall Academy are split between working hard on the EVE project and a G2 built in the Greater World community where they are currently installing the solar hot water, solar and water systems. The new classrom in the EVE project seems to make for a more formal learning environment than previous venues and the work is at a pretty high level with the second level of can and bottle work on the front face of the EVE proving to be very challenging (especially as the winds picked up). The Crew have had a busy year with international builds in Czech and coming up in Guatemala and Argentina finishing off a number of different project in 2012. The vaulted dome model which we experimented with in Guatemala seems to be Mike R’s new favourite with a build for a doctor being finished in Vermont recently over the summer which demonstrated its ability to be adapted to a colder climate and with nice finishings.
Had a great day pounding tyres and throwing some mud on Sunday. Had a great team of about 12 helpers – thanks all!
Here is a photo showing the front greenhouse wall (which will eventually be bermed) which swings around 180 degrees in an arc to connect up to the western wing wall. Also installed an oversize pipe in the wall so the plumber can connect up the septic tank with some proper plumbing.
Still awaiting planning approval however the “public notification” period passed uneventfully. This was required due to the planning rules on our “rural environment” zoned block of land. Basically council advertised the project via newspaper and informed the neighbours – there were no objections We keep on rolling.
Earthships are 100% sustainable homes that are both cheap to build and awesome to live in. They offer amenities like no other sustainable building style you have come across. For the reasons that follow, I believe Earthships can actually change the world. See for yourself!