While UFO hunting and hot spring-hopping in Taos, New Mexico last week, we got to spend the night in an Earthship.
For all you non-hippies out there, Earthships are 100% sustainable, off-the-grid mansions made (almost) entirely out of recycled junk. We're talkin' old tires, beer cans, plastic bottles and mud. Admittedly, it doesn't sound all that glamorous at first, but for luxury- and nature- loving free spirits like us, this place is a desert paradise.
A 15 minute drive outside Taos, across the Rio Grande Gorge, the Earthship World Headquarters is the largest "biotecture" community (a.k.a alternative eco-suburb) of its kind on the planet. Set on a sprawling 640 acres, a handful of fully-furnished "demonstration" ships are available year-round for nightly rentals -- but, in the brochure's words, "this is not just a hotel." Well, obviously...
I am sitting in the Earthship Visitor's Center right now, and a man is here to visit. He has a device that measures the CO2 in the air. He says he has never seen a number bellow 400 ppm, unless he is standing at the ocean where the air is very clean. Our Visitor Center measures at 276 ppm, making our air extremely clean he says. There's no CO2 in our VC!
He has been to other eco friendly homes, and measured the air, saying that none have the clean air this building has. He says if the air is not clean it gives people headaches.
Nearly three decades have passed since Michael Reynolds built his first "radically sustainable" Earthship dwellings out of cast-off materials such as tires and beer bottles on the high mesas near Taos, New Mexico. His Earthship mantra, however, remains the same: "Live free." That is, off the grid and without power bills.
Earthships have evolved from simple structures lacking flush toilets into multifloor homes with flat-screen TVs, wi-fi, and greenhouses brimming with crops. And they've gone from fringe to 53,000 Facebook fans as a new generation tunes in to Reynolds's alt-sustainable message. Today, there's also a school, the Earthship Biotecture Academy, which teaches design principles and philosophy.
Still 'crazy' after all these years. In 1993 Michael Reynolds was way ahead of his time. Today, in 2012 Michael Reynolds is still WAY ahead of his time... The following article was published on January 10, 1993 in the New York Times Styles Section as America grapples with ecology and economy.
By PATRICIA LEIGH BROWN
About 15 miles west of Taos, a road with no name tapers off into the flat tableland beneath the Tres Orejas, three small volcanic peaks. Soon the road disappears entirely. All that remains is a thick carpet of snow and a set of coyote tracks pitching toward infinity.
But if you can envision an Alternative Republic here, you don't need a road. Thus, a frigid winter morning recently found Michael Reynolds, a one-man Monkey Wrench gang of architecture, barreling through the snowdrifts, his Dodge pickup swerving every which way, destined for an unsightly pile of tires and dirt, his new Atlantis: downtown Star.
by Tyler Allen (from Outlaw magazine)
Twenty-five years ago. Michael Reynolds assembled progressive architectural prototypes into one seminal idea: Earthships.
Integrating solar, wind, thermal mass, rainwater harvest, gray wa- ter recycling and indoor food production, the Taos, New Mexico - based architect builds homes from re-purposed garbage. The exterior shell and interior walls are made from used tires pounded full of dirt, glass bottles and cans, stacked and mortared together with mud.
Hi my name is (removed for privacy). I stumbled upon a few videos of your earth ships & could not believe there are still people like you on this god forsaken planet. I don't want to sound or be foolish but i would love to join your team. In fact i would devote my life to help you further your work or even to just learn from your brilliance so that i may pass it down to my children. I know you probably get this everyday & cant recruit everyone under the Sun but i would gladly give up my job & this dead end society to explore alternatives ways of living. Its all to obvious the American culture is self imploding & is going no where fast. I am studying how to build an earthship with a dream to actually build one myself. I thank you for your work. you have saved so many lives with this work of yours. your are my hero & i have never said that about anyone ever in my life. thank you so very much for your contribution to humanity.
by David Aubor via http://thesecretlifeofduuvy.wordpress.com
That is the question it seems. Is it time that Australia, with all its abundance of natural resource and limitless creativity, find a space within its red-soil heart for the Earthship concept to call home?. Before we approach this question lets discuss, what is an Earthship?
- Phoenix – The Graceland of Earthships. This was built in response to a high end Earthship attempted by a developer who abandoned understanding of Earth phenomena and the project eventually failed. This building is a fine example of what is possible with high budgets and an accumulative 4 billion years of planetary evolution
‘its not a building, its terrain. we are going to make a nest within the terrain’ Michael Reynolds
...in Taos, New Mexico
‘These are the most sustainable houses I have ever seen, and if these are the most sustainable houses, then this is how I should build.’ That was my first response to seeing Garbage Warrior, a documentary about renegade architect Michael Reynolds and his quest to build truly sustainable homes.
The Earthship is Michael’s answer to the challenge of sustainable housing. Put simply, Earthships are radically sustainable buildings, constructed with recycled materials. They are far from conventional, but they work, extremely well, and that is why Michael has been building them for over 40 years.
It took a lot of planning and logistics to make it happen there... and I heard that all of you showed up enthusiastic and excited!
Thank you Toronto, Canada!!
We would love your feedback! So please feel free to email me anytime with suggestions, ideas, comments, questions, etc...
Jennifer Ventresca | email@example.com
Event Coordinator, Earthship Biotecture