Lizzie Pearl writes for 9 News about her journey to an earthship community just outside of Taos, New Mexico.
Many folks in the autonomous home movement (of which earthship communites are a subset) are driven by a sense of responsibility to treat the planet better, and hey, that’s fine. Better you take your own action than lobbying people with guns to force this planet-saving action on others.
I, however, (while I’m all for treating the planet well) am far more interested in the power of autonomous housing in tilting the balance of power towards individuals and free associations.
Lizzie gives a good description of what is arguably the largest off-grid community on the planet.
|World’s largest ‘off-grid community’ wants planet to join in|
As we drove through the town of Taos, New Mexico out to the “Earthship” community, thoughts were whizzing through my brain.
“Will we be warm enough? Will there be enough hot water? Will we have electricity? Internet?”
….These homes are nestled into the landscape, unassuming and futuristic; a bit like something out of a Mad Max movie, or a Dr Seuss Book.
They’re spread out, dotted over hundreds of acres.
Each one of the 70 homes in this community has been built from materials destined for landfill.
The walls and floor are made from discarded rubber tyres, packed with earth. Old soft drink cans and glass bottles are incorporated into the walls and windows.
……These homes are off-the-grid, “unplugged”. There’s no outside lines bringing power or water to the homes. They’re warm because the sun made them that way. It’s a different kind of warmth. Because, unlike having an open fire or heater, the heat is all through the house. It envelops you, like a cocoon. That night, with no extra covers or electric blanket, it was a toasty 23 degrees, outside temperatures dropped to minus 6 degrees.
Living in an Earthship makes you aware and more appreciative of your environment. You need to learn to work with the elements; when to open the sky lights to let the warmth in…and more importantly, to close it well before the sun goes down. If it’s cloudy, you probably shouldn’t use the hair dryer, the clothes dryer and have all the lights on at once. If there hasn’t been rain for a while, maybe take a shorter shower. Water is used four times throughout the home. Drinking water is filtered from the storage tanks in the berm behind the house; grey water from the shower feeds the garden.
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