This November, I had the opportunity to travel to New Mexico and study with the Earthships crew.
The internship was a month long opportunity to learn more about the potential for a sustainable lifestyle while living within the thermal mass walls of an Earthship. I was alongside about thirty other interns learning about concepts like thermal mass and passive solar heating with everything from the Water Organizing Module which allows water to travel to planters within the house called “botanical cells” to the cisterns that catch rainfall.
Michael Reynolds and his team of garbage warriors are challenging conventional systems to provide a lifestyle alternative that serves the people living on this planet. Reynolds’ philosophy is based on respecting the earth and its natural systems with his idea of Radically Sustainable Buildings.
In the first week of the internship, I quickly learned that the foundational theory to the earthship is that central utility systems such as power plants or water facilities are unreliable and lock us in to a rigid dependency on an outside provider (such as a municipal government). Decentralized utilities or homes that produce their own utilities save individual homeowners money and reduce the costs on the communities they live in.
Earthships are “self-sufficient living units that are their own systems.” These homes are built from old rubber tires, currently abundant in landfills, and other recycled materials, such as bottles and cans.
Working with the Earthships crew as an intern you can expect to get dirty as the leaders of the building sites give you access to all aspects of building, from plastering and glass cutting to tire pounding and framing. Their guided tours explain all of the inner workings and functions of the Earthship, which proves time and again to be a workable substitute to the orthodox home. And they show you just how beautiful these homes become with all of the basic amenities of your basic home plus custom building throughout including custom bottle walls, tile work, cob walls and more.
The Earthship home integrates a great deal of creativity and imagination, and can include such features as lush greenhouses within the home and even ponds. Taking part in an earthships internship can be a transformative experience on the journey toward meaningful work – and it gives you a chance to meet the guru behind the project himself, Michael Reynolds!
- If you’re fascinated by the ideology behind the project, as I was, watch the Garbage Warriors documentary posted on youtube.
- Check out some of Reynolds’ Earthship books that take you through the process of building your own earthship
- Apply for an internship at http://earthship.com/Learn-More/internships.
- Michael Reynolds will be hosting a workshop in Calgary on July 19, 2014. Find out more here: http://earthship.com/icalrepeat.detail/2014/07/19/34/calgary-earthship-event