Throughout the last fifty years, Earthship Biotecture has been working toward developing a fully sustainable prototype home that has a zero carbon footprint on the planet. We arrived at this in the early 2000’s and are still perfecting and refining it. We have a building prototype that harvests its own electricity and water; contains and treats its own sewage; heats and cools itself without fuel and produces a significant amount of food.
The building is built from 45% recycled materials.. thus starting the construction of the building with a negative carbon footprint. Discarded materials take the place of new materials that require energy to produce. Also, once used, discarded materials, would have taken energy to dispose of. There is no energy required the reuse of existing materials. This further contributes to a negative carbon foot print at the birth of the building. This building costs next to nothing to operate annually and its independent of all municipal utilities. It takes full care of its owners and actually enhances the grounds around it due to the botanical cells which contain, treat and reuse the sewage via biological processes resulting in greenery.
After years of lobbying, we finally got the Sustainable Development Testing Sites Act passed in New Mexico in 2007. This piece of legislation allows testing of housing and living methods in a day to day living circumstance, with real people, outside the incumbrance of conventional living concepts, codes and regulations. Special race tracks are used to test automobiles safely outside and apart from the public highway system. The EVE project (via the Sustainable Development Testing Sites Act) is a testing place for housing and living methods that is safely outside and apart from the confines of the outdated regulatory system. We chose to use two acres of property at the Greater World Sustainable Community in Taos, New Mexico that already has three older Earthship buildings on it. We wanted to take everything we have learned over the last few decades, incorporate the latest dreams and innovations and demonstrate all of this in a more dense living situation involving twenty-five or more people. We wanted to take the Earthship sustainable design principles even further into high performance beyond regulations and economics because, like the horse and boat analogy before, a completely different concept of living is sorely needed on this planet in the early 2000’s.
We have since found that anywhere in the developed world a project like this is still subject to the changing of politics and regimes. The locations of EVE projects therefore need to be in remote locations around the planet far and free from developed world politics, regimes, economies and other evolutionary encumbrances. We are choosing these locations and launching EVE projects globally with this in mind.
Recently an engineer who was just introduced to Earthships said “what the world needs now is one billion of these immediately”. Our observation now is that even though we have this home/product available and priced very much in the same ball park as conventional homes; conventional homes (for many reasons) cost way too much. We want to make sustainable housing/living more affordable than conventional housing/living. In order to do this we must venture far outside the realm of existing concepts, codes and regulations… thus the EVE project.
In a conventional situation, you can only take the six basic Earthship design principals and systems so far. But within the test site scenario, we will be able to experiment with methods that will stretch and evolve these principals and render them more economical and thus available to more people. Right now, even with the hard earned experimental variances from the state of New Mexico in the Greater World Earthship community… to meet the code requirements for the heating and cooling systems, the electrical system, and the gray and black water systems is ridiculously expensive – i.e., out of reach for many people and very stressful to obtain for others. It is a blessing that we are allowed to even use our systems in this “one of a kind” community, but to fit them in to the conventional scenario is wastefully and inappropriately expensive. If there are no limiting, short sited regulations to meet, we could still address all of the recognized issues related to health and safety, but in totally new and different ways that would be much more affordable. Conventional codes and regulations by their very nature are not capable of allowing rapid evolution on a major scale and this rapid evolution is possibly the only way for us get out of the jeopardy we are in on this planet. The developed world has placed itself in a precarious corral that someone or something has to force us out of… the EVE project is that force.
ESCAPE FROM ECONOMY:
In late 2008 and early 2009 the economic crisis on the earth had become so significant that it, however shallow, had begun to overshadow even the climate crisis. The EVE projects will address the circumstance of people living in harmony with the planet and with each other but we will be much more independent of the global economy and thus not near as dependent on it. These villages will aim to finance themselves. We already make buildings that make their own power, harvest their own water and heat and cool themselves so there will be no utility or infrastructure expense. We’re building with 45% recycled materials so that eliminates some of the cost of new materials. We, Earthship Biotecture, have a growing number of interns coming to learn the methods of Biotecture living. We will use this small army to launch the EVE projects. This will result in very affordable housing for these people. The interns that work on EVE projects will live in EVE projects. They will be eating food from the planters of the buildings they live in. They will be using water from the sky there. They will be using electricity from the sun and wind. They will be using the toilets there and taking showers and making the plants grow from their own waste water. EVE projects will be self-contained systems based on the six design principles of the Earthship concept.
1- COMFORTABLE SHELTER WITHOUT NEED FOR FUEL
2- WATER FROM THE SKY
3- CONTAINED ON SITE SEWAGE TREATMENT
4- ENERGY FROM SUN AND WIND
5- REPURPOSING OF GARBAGE
6- FOOD PRODUCTION
EVE projects will address the issues people need for sustenance. What we are trying to do here is illustrate that…the sustenance of people (shelter, water, energy, sewage, food and comfort) should not be subject to an economy.
The economy is a game. This game should be about nonessential things (motorcycles, gadgets, televisions). A person feeding their family, staying alive, having shelter… this should not be subject to an economy.
We should have truly sustainable villages that provide a life independent of the economy… and what better way to create them than to have a building prototype that doesn’t need any utilities, produces food, is made of recycled materials and is easy enough to build, that unskilled people can do it. The whole EVE concept embodies an education that can be shared around the world. People can come for short or long periods of time, live in EVE villages super cheap in terms of a rent payment and everything else is provided. They can eat there, they can drink there, they will have all of the basic essentials of life there. We can have flat screen TVs and high speed internet which are essential to some . We can have enough of what people think they need in EVE villages that they won’t want to leave. We will be providing in our own “insignificant economy”, the things that people need, in a logical and sustainable way.
As the years have gone by in the development of the Earthship concept, and more and more global problems have been presented by the media, we have kept incorporating responses to these problems into the Earthship concept. This is how we developed the six design principles. Now there is another problem which has become the sole highway on which all of life is delivered… they call it the economy. We are taking a left turn off of this eroding highway and carving a path out into the future and beyond. We are calling this path E.V.E..
GLOBAL MODEL FOR A GOOD VIRUS:
I am hoping that we can do this on multiple formats throughout the world and that it will make such a statement that global regions like, Australia, Asia, Europe and the Americas will look at this possibility… neighboring, sustainable, independent villages that constitute a town or a city.
It’s not about making anybody rich. It is not about tax dollars. It’s about the sustenance of people. If governments all over the world subsidized methods of people taking care of themselves in carbon zero village formats instead of subsidizing wars over resources; then we walk out of jeopardy and into a long lasting peace on earth. Currently, since sustenance depends on economy, we have people all over the world who are starving; don’t have enough water; have no shelter; and live in constant stress and misery. This effects the global ambiance. Now it’s even happening in the US. Homelessness is more severe than ever. There are tent cities. Just desperate people, like any one of us, who used to have a life. Then all of the sudden they lost their jobs and their mortgage and consequently their life.
Life should not float on an economy. Life should have its own wings.
E.V.E. can provide those wings to all peoples.
So every step of this EVE projects is about learning to live without dependence on any other systems… political, economic or utility. The village is the system. It can be replicated and grouped with other similar villages to become a town. This can happen on a larger scale with many villages becoming a city. Then it can happen on a country or a global scale but it starts with sustainable villages that provide for themselves via the Earthship concepts that have already proven themselves to be able to stand alone. E.V.E. is a petri dish for development of a good virus.
We are talking about eliminating the stress of living on the people and the planet. If countries make their first priority providing people with the knowledge of how to provide for themselves in a village circumstance, then the people’s livelihood will not be subject to the ups and downs of an economy. All the thinking and energy goes towards evolving the village toward the care of people and planet. The Native Americans taught their children how to survive on the Earth. The E.V.E. project will present to people the knowledge of how to survive in a situation that does not depend on the economy, politics or fossil fuels.
REDUCTION OF CO2 FOOTPRINT :
Another issue that is coming in to play in conventional building these days quite a bit is freight; the shipping of materials from China to the US or from Taiwan to the US or even Oregon to New Mexico is being viewed as an energy waste and a CO2 impact. We should be building with materials that are all from within one hundred miles of the place they are used regardless of whether they be manufactured materials or recycled/repurposed materials.
The same is true for food. It is ridiculous to buy food grown hundreds of miles away. That is, again, an energy waste and a CO2 impact. We can grow everything in the Earthship homes that you can grow anywhere in any tropical climate. That eliminates freight. E.V.E. will eliminate the giant carbon footprint of a banana from another continent or a building product from across the country. We will harvest all kinds of foods from E.V.E. projects and gather building products from the “garbage” of near by towns and cities. You take our EVE grown food product and put it right next to the same item that came from thousands of miles away in your local grocery store and you have no carbon footprint on one and a giant carbon footprint on the other. The same is true of a building product. The village produces what it needs and maybe trades with other villages near by. The strength is in the independence from centralized utilities and food production. There will be an inherent “insignificant economy” that is woven in to the natural phenomena that already exist on the Earth.
So the E.V.E. project is about all of these things, power, water, sewage, food, recycled materials and… the resulting insignificant economy. The EVE project is a way to live that is more like what I would call direct living… direct soft impact living. It puts people in a position that they can relate to the economy as if it were a swimming pool that they can dive into for a swim if they want to, but when they want to get out, their life is out of the swimming pool and remote from it and not dependent on it.
Swimming in the economy is a game, it’s a recreation, it should not be the thing between us and life. That is a big part of what the EVE project is all about… evolution beyond economics made possible through a living vessel that provides all of the essentials and has no carbon foot print.
E.V.E. … this cluster of a colonies of people living on remote lands will be seething, intense hives of human activity that will be on display to some extent. It’s not going to be luxurious in the conventional sense, but it will be magnetic in terms of pulling in energy from congruent quadrants of logical thinking.
“Living simply so that others may simply live.”
The less we have, the less we have to maintain. This leaves us time to find truth.
The EVE colonies will be not unlike manned space stations positioned around the remote and unpopulated regions of the Earth. They will allow exploration, development and experimentation toward a fully different approach to life on this planet for the purpose of finding out where we, the conscious ones, the intelligent ones, the ones who have placed ourselves higher and more worthy than all the other creatures, have gone astray with regard to how to maintain existence on the Earth.
Are consciousness and intelligence traps that led us away from nature itself? Can we really be conscious as a single being without being conscious of all that lives? Can we really be intelligent beings without being aware of the intelligence that created all beings? Is this our problem… the fact that we have placed ourselves “separate and above” instead of “equal and a part of” and thus isolating our pathetic mini consciousness into little more than a pus filled pimple aware of itself while not even aware of the face it is on? Is it not the Earth but rather humanity instead that needs healing? Can we find the humility to be healed; to find the truth? The search for this truth is the purpose of…
Earthship Village Ecologies.