Joy (cithra) wrote,
Joy
cithra

Earthship Workshop

Over the weekend I attended a workshop on Earthship Biotecture with Michael Reynolds, the founder/inventor/guru of same. He's pretty amazing, and a definite character. I admire him even as I occasionally find him frustrating. His response to the idea of human-excreted medications in the recirculating blackwater systems was a bit glib: don't take meds. Well, that idea works fine on a personal level, maybe. Until you are trying to make, say, hospitals out of the Earthship design... and then you are going to have to find some way to deal with it. (It was personally alienating, as well, because if I didn't take meds, I'd be dead.)

On the whole though I am glad I went. I learned a lot of ancillary information and context from listening to Mr. Reynolds talk. The great thing about the designs is they are truly the product of evolution - of him and the community building ideas into their homes in Taos (or other places around the globe), living in them, and then dealing with the consequences and reworking the designs again. Also materials have been getting cheaper in some cases, and much more efficient - especially the solar panel tech.

The exciting news though is that after following the concepts for the last ten years or so, it seems to me that things are finally starting to gel really well in terms of simplification, and have reached the point where people can take the knowledge and run with it in the field. Working in impoverished areas has allowed them to refine and distill the designs down to some real basics. It has reached the point where I think over the next ten years the ideas will really start to spread, especially in other parts of the world from the US.

Locally I didn't really connect with the Seattle group, sadly. Things were a little disorganized, and a little more chaotic than I have the energy to deal with at the moment. I wish them the best, though, and am happy to know there is a thriving group that is interested in the ideas and trying to incorporate them, getting involved in the city politics and planning processes.

I came home with a ton of notes and scribbled drawings - fortunately I don't have to replicate them for you as the information is all on the earthship.com website. Books on the various designs are either available now (for the Global model) or coming soon (for the Simple Survival model) as well.
Tags: community, housing, trying new things
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