Why an Earthship?

When I mention I want to build an Earthship, usually this question is one of the first to come out: Why an Earthship?

There are a lot of reasons for wanting a sustainable house and I could rattle of a list of ten or more without batting an eye.  However I was recently rewatching a TED talk by Bill McDonough from 2005 and at one part he was talking about trees and had this to say:

“Imagine this design assignment. Design something that makes oxygen, sequesters carbon, fixes nitrogen, distills water, accrues solar energy as fuel, makes complex sugars and food, creates micro climates, changes colours with the seasons and self replicates.”

Let’s take a look at that list.

Makes oxygen, sequesters carbon and fixes nitrogen: CHECK
Earthships have plants as an essential part of their function so you get all of those benefits.

Distills water: CHECK
Earthships capture water from the sky and then filters it for use. The plants also act as a grey water filter.

Accrues solar energy as a fuel: CHECK
Earthships make use of solar panels (and sometimes wind) to run the electrical systems of the house.

Makes complex sugars and food: CHECK
Along with being grey water filters, one of the main points of having the plants is to grow food.

Creates micro climates: CHECK
There has been more than one case where the exterior botanical cells of an Earthship have spawned dramatic floral abundance that has attracted more than one creature to stop by, if not take up residence. Many of these examples have occurred in the middle of the desert as well.

Changes colours with the seasons: Not automatically, so no check there.
You could paint your house a different colour every season, but that might be pushing it a bit.

Self-replicates: Again, no check here.

Still 7 of 9, that’s not a bad score. Add on to this little to no utility bills, freedom from the problems of being connected to a grid, internal handling of sewage and a home that takes care of of its occupants, rather than the occupants having to take care of the home.

Ding! We have a winner. When it comes down to it, Earthships just make a whole lot of sense. If none of the above reasons do it for you, then being able to grow your own bananas (I live in Canada, we don’t have native bananas) is totally worth it 🙂

Where to begin

How about at the beginning.

Sometime around 2003 I was in my living room and we had the TV on.  This is interesting in itself because we’ve never had cable, but back then you could still pull in a few channels with what we referred to as the “rabbit ears”.  We caught the end of a program that was on TVO (TV Ontario for those who aren’t familiar).

I don’t know what the program was called, I just remember we saw maybe the last 3 minutes of it and they were showing a house that was being built using tires and pop cans.  They mentioned things like needing no furnace due to solar passive heating and a few other features, but they never said what the type of house was called.

Back in 2003, the internet was not what it is today, in 2014.  It took me over an hour of search after search, but eventually I found it: that house was an Earthship.

Since then, I have bought books, watched videos and basically tried to keep up with all of the recent developments on Earthships.  These days there is quite a lot of information about Earthships on the net.

However, I have decided to take this one step further.  I have signed up for the Earthship Academy down in Taos, New Mexico, where they were first invented and build by a man named Michael Reynolds.  So, on March 8th, I will fly down to Albuquerque, NM and then make my way over to Taos the next day.  Starting on the morning of March 10th, 2014, I will be immersed in everything Earthships six days a week, for four weeks.  I am greatly looking forward to it.

This blog will serve many purposes.  I will use it to keep track of my progress through the academy.  I will also use it to track my progress when I take on the challenge of building my own, as I have been wanting one for quite some time now.  I may also use it to expound on various life related issues which may or may not have a direct link to Earthships.

Needless to say, this is the start of a new voyage.  Welcome aboard.

Dave Wilson

A blog about earthships and life

Vickie Knob~Books and Stuff

A humble writer pecking out stories one word at a time. Reaching deep down to show love one person at a time.

Lynx Thoughts

Kannik's Stream of Consciousness

The Katbox...

Little rounded extrusions of thought, lightly coated in the clumping litter of reality.

Sailing The Earth

A blog about earthships and life