When I was a teenager, I would daydream about my perfect home; a dug-out hillside with earth floors and tree roots coming through the ceiling. I’d capture rainwater, make a window out of wood that I found lying around, and I would grow my own food, living as close as humanly possible in touch with the Earth.
At that time, around 1994, I thought that I was the only person, ever, to have come up with an idea like that, and I reveled in the though, despite being told repeatedly that it was just a hippie dream.
Well, turns out I actually wasn’t the only one to think up an abode of this genre. Welcome to the Earthship. No, it isn’t a ship made out of earth, and no, it isn’t a spaceship made to boldly explore where no one has gone before. It’s an innovative type of home, typically built of recycled and reclaimed material, where the household itself functions like an ecosystem. The ecological footprint is minimal to nonexistent, and most of them are completely off the grid, using solar panels and wood stoves for heating, and semi-artistic designs for temperature regulation. Some use composting toilets, or just a plain outhouses in friendly year-round climates.
They started out in New Mexico – a warm, dry climate optimized for harvesting sunlight with photovoltaic cells and using the materials immediately available in the surrounding environment. Mike Reynolds, an architect, built the first earthship in the late 1970s. People thought he was nuts, but turns out he was really on to something.
Check out this short documentary on The Potter’s House to learn how they’re living the dream life, away from the rat-race. In lieu of a conclusion, I’ll let the houses speak for themselves. Feat your eyes on the diversity of homes – all built by hand with recycled materials in various locations around the world.
We have recycled bottles making for beautiful homes, earthships with amazing greenhouses giving a tropical feel, tires compacted with soil to obey the law of thermodynamics – absorbing and distributing heat where it is in needed in the house! Now who wouldn’t want to live in a home like that? No mortgage, complete creative control, and Hydro Quebec doesn’t get a cent further from you. Indeed, a dream come true.