For those not familiar with Earthship housing, these structures represent the epitome of sustainable design and construction. No part of sustainable living has been ignored in this ingenious building. They can be built in any part of the world, in any climate and still provide electricity, potable water, contained sewage treatment and sustainable food production.
It has been our dream for quite sometime to do an internship with Mr. Reynolds, but we have used "life getting in the way" as our excuse for putting it off. Well, no more excuses! We are GOING TO DO THIS- we leave Calgary for New York on August, 8th- we just need ask for a little help from our family, friends and community to make this work.
For those of you who do not know us personally, allow us to introduce ourselves:
I am a 39yr old Carpenter who shares a construction and renovation company with my partner Celina. I am presently based in my home town of Calgary Alberta, but work all across western Canada wherever my unique list of services are most needed. I have worn many hats in my life, from truck driver to stock trader, rancher to carpenter. I have been a father and a husband and now that my daughters are on their own adventures it is time for me to follow my dreams. Last year I put everything I owned into storage, converted a part of my work truck into a living space and hit the road. I visited several intentional communities around Alberta and BC and learned first-hand what worked for them and what didn't. I am so dedicated to the idea of building a Earthship community in the rural Calgary area, that I have chosen to not get a home again until it is an Earthship house that I have built, as part of a community of people who are just as awesome as us.
I am passionate about our environment, growing my own food and I love making all things from scratch- anything from cooking and baking to making candles and wine. Up until a year ago I was the sole proprietor of a cleaning company for 5 years. Now I work side by with Preston building and renovating homes using my own unique skill set, and adding new skills every day. I have always been a hard worker and really enjoy physical work as opposed to working behind a desk. I am a master practitioner of Psychosomatic Therapy, a level two Reiki therapist and a student of Quantum Numerology.
There are many experiences that have helped to mold me and change my life perception and direction. One such event was back in Feb 2011- there was a fire that burnt down my home where my son and I were renting. No one was hurt, but because I had procrastinated in changing my insurance over I lost over 90% of my belongings, including all my work equipment, plants and our precious cat Bella. As they say “a bend in a road isn’t the end unless I fail to make the turn.”
I find myself thinking about our place as humans on this planet and how for the last ten thousand years, ever since we stopped being hunter-gatherers and started being settled agriculturalists, we havetakeneverything from the Earth. We’ve taken the topsoil, we’ve taken the forests, we dump our waste wherever we want- just as a child would. And we expect nature to clean up- just as a mother cleans up. As children we lived in a world of abundance, and that’s how the world should be, as our planet is abundant. But due to the greed of the few and the blindness of the many we have lost touch with the natural order of things. That’s how we act because we are ignorant of the ways of the world. We did not understand how it all works.
Scientists say we have reached the threshold of what our planet can recover from. We have to cut back on all our fossil fuel use, and find ways to farm and forest differently in order to absorb the carbon back into the soils and the forests. With the creation of zero carbon homes we have the ability to create the necessary change. There is great need to have new vision of our future and to coexist with nature better than we have before. I am a true optimist and I see this as an opportunity to make a difference to myself, my family, our community, and the world.
We are the first generation where the children are actually going to have a worse life, ecologically and materially speaking, than we had, because of environmental damage, scarcity, and over-taxation, unless we look at this crisis as an opportunity to change things. Creating Earthship housing and a sustainable community is how Preston and I would like to contribute to future generations and the survival of our planet.
EARTHSHIP INTERNSHIP INFORMATION
In August 2012, we will be attending a hands-on internship in Freeville, New York with Micheal Reynolds, inventor of Earthship Biotecture (http://earthship.com/). We will be working on the second phase of construction of an actual Earthship home with Michael, his crew, and a group of students. This second phase of construction will focus on water systems, power systems, gardens and exterior finishing.
Although there are other sustainable homes being built in Canada and other courses/internships to choose from, we felt that as the inventor of this method, with 40 years of research and development of self-sufficient housing under his belt, it would be most ideal to learn right from the source, from Mr. Reynolds himself.
Where do you come in, you might ask? The answer is: COMMUNITY!
We know in our hearts that it is part of our purpose to be co-creators of an intentional community, and this is the mission we have set upon returning from this internship.
When we return from the Earthship internship in the fall and winter of 2012, we will host a series of presentations to provide you more information on Earthship housing, what we learned, and to draw a group of co-creators together who are intererested in starting a dialogue to create an Earthship community in the rural Calgary area. By spring we hope to have enough people on board to acquire a sizable piece of farmable land west of the city where we can begin construction of a completely off-the-grid, self-sufficient, organic community. For the price of a conventional Calgary home, people can live in a home that takes care of the people inside, has no power, water, or sewer bills, where food is grown not only around your home but inside it too. Living in a zero-carbon home means living the way everyone will need to live if we want to coexist with this wonderful planet.
WHAT WE NEED & WHAT YOU GET
The challenge we face is that this trip will take about a month and a half. A month and a half where we are working on our internship on the other side of the continent, to which we must drive and take everything we need to survive (bed, kitchen, ect), while still having to maintain our residence in Calgary and pay all our bills. We have calculated this trip will require just over $9000 by the time we get back to Calgary. We are working very hard renovating several homes at this time and believe we can pull together about $5-6000 before our departure date of August 8th. You may ask why we don’t have savings put away? Which is fair as we have done quite well this year. In February, while renovating a home in Saskatchewan the motor in my work truck went, and with it all our profits and savings. So we are now scrambling in this final month before our trip, and appealing to you, our friends, family and people of our community for help make this dream come to fruition.
We are not used to asking for charity and plan to return this gift in as many ways as we can! Firstly, anyone who contributes to this campaign will be invited to our presentation night when we return so we can share our excitement about Earthship housing and what we learned at the internship. And we will also describe how we (all of us!) can get started in building an Earthship community together, and how we have envisioned it being affordable to almost anyone.
Secondly, we will be offering some perks for various donation levels, mostly in the form of gift certificates to everyone that donates over $50. These gift certificates are redeemable for our time in providing valuable services for you, dollar for dollar. We are contractors with an extensive skill base- everything from renovations and professional cleaning to automotive maintenance to Yurt rental. If you have a project in mind or want to give someone a great gift, please consider helping us out and in return you will receive the greatest gift anyone can give, time.
By contributing to this project you are helping us acquire the last piece of a large puzzle we have been working on for many years, including developing an extensive proposal for a zero carbon self-sustaining community somewhere outside Calgary, Alberta. We want this community to be about healing, teaching, global outreach, eco-tourism, permaculture and utilizes all the talents that the various members bring into the mix.
Even if being part of an intentional community is not of interest to you, this knowledge can be used on a home by home basis, either in the construction of a new home or the retrofit of an existing home.
Zero carbon homes in the form of Mike Reynolds Earthships are the most earth friendly solution I have ever come across and if we can save the earth and bring lasting sustainability to as many people as we can in our lifetime, then we believe we have done our part if we have made a difference not only for ourselves, but for generations to come.
OTHER WAYS YOU CAN HELP
Spread the word, share this with everyone in every way you can, and when we get back come participate in the spreading of this knowledge.