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31.10.2012 Text: william de worde // Pix: pr


Michael Reynolds was raised in a baptist family with no gambling, no joking and no dancing, so at the moment he could decide for himself he ran away to explore life on his own.

After his studies he remembered his dad’s passion for keeping everything imaginable in the basement of his house for future use as ‘all this is too precious to be thrown away’, as his dad used to say, and started to think differently about building houses. So he came up with the idea of building a house from scratch out of recycled materials. In the movie ‘GARBAGE WARRIOR you can explore yourself how to build an Earth Ship and i promise you, it will change your way of thinking about a home. At the end of this article you will find the link to the movie.

Michael is a true warrior, one that is mostly needed those days. His work is so spectacular and obvious in the same way, it is incredible that his work is not more  known, especially in Europe. His work is all about recycling materials that have the perfect requirements to serve as construction materials for the houses he builds – they are called ‘Earthships’. He started his work back in the late 70’s after finishing what he called ‘the most boring studies ever’ as in his opinion architecture is so totally wrong from the very basics up to the most visionary, still being stuck in laws and regulations that are the same since World War One… ‘The houses built are nothing else but constructions made to make you sick, dependent and therefore unhappy.’ The houses he builds do require a certain initial investment as most of it is recycled but you need some technical equipment like solar panels, water pumps and a lot of wood, glass and metals (some of them you can find recycling but not all of them), but after the initial investment you will never ever pay a cent again for heating, cooling, energy or water, as all this is provided by the house itself! In a fully equipped Earthship you even grow your own food, so theoretically there is no need to leave your house if you don’t want to. Imagine hydroponic tomatoes, citrus trees, bananas and other heat-loving vegies and fruits all year round, while birds and bugs fly around them in a totally intact and harmonic environment that is your home.

Here is roughly what a Earth Ship is build of:

He says ‘At the moment you realize you have your own power, you grow your own food and store your own water and the building around you is completely self-sustainable – that is the moment you know you are totally free, you own your life.’ About the human ability of changing our way of living he says ‘if a tree can enhance life imagine what people could do. We could make the earth sing instead of pouring down shit through her rivers and toxic waste under her skin.’

After 15 years of experimentally building houses and learning from the mistakes he did in the process in a valley near Nevada called ‘Tao’ the state of New Mexico tried to stop him by taking away his license as an architect. He then had to go through the whole system with all its hidden traps and bullshitting laws to try to make them understand that their way of building houses was still stuck in the first world war’s rules… At the time he got through all the entities to make an effort in creating a test areal for testing new ideas of housing he was stopped by the same people that got their hands on all the financing of traditional house building because they were frightened that he would take away their income and the bill was denied. Game over, he thought.

Then the Tsunami hit India and history was rewritten. He answered a call for help from the Andaman islands that heard about him and his way of creating houses out of garbage and wanted him to come over and see what he could do for them. By showing them how to build a house out of plastic or glass bottles, tires and mud they were completely overwhelmed by seeing they can be completely self sustainable without the need of anything or anybody from outside. It was not like in America where he had to beg to be able to construct and fight laws and stubborn politics but he found people with shining eyes thanking him for ever to save their lives and raise their standard of living to a level previously unknown.

Then hurricane Kathrina hit the United States and he tried again to bring through his bill in the House of Representatives of New Mexico as he said ‘if the Government can not help the people in need because there is no money and infrastructure left after the wipe out by the storm then give the people the chance to do it by themselves with what is laying around them!’ But again he failed due to the fear of politicians to legalize something that they can not control or make money out of it. What a freaking nightmare! If they don’t want to hear about the problem then why would they like to hear about the solution…

But there was light at the end of the tunnel as the government finally found out about his work on the Andaman Islands and invited him to present his bill again and trying to get back his license as an architect – and finally he made it – the test site was accepted and his license was given back to him. ‘It is not too late yet for us to change the way we live on a global scale, but we have to be damned fast if we want to preserve our planet for our grand grand children in a state where it is worth living.

In the following we give you a few links to his spectacular work, once you are on youtube you will find lots more videos about him and his work:

full length movie ‘THE GARBAGE WARRIOR’

from the ground up – Earthship Biotecture

Earthship Seminar part one here.

Earthship Seminar part two here.

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