This is the story of how eco-architect Michael Reynolds came to invent and build Earthships and Earthship communities. If you’ve never seen an Earthship, check out some pics here.
Earthships are off-grid, near zero footprint homes that use garbage redirected from landfills for much of their raw material. An Earthship can use hundreds of car tires and thousands of aluminum cans and glass bottles. They are often built with internal greenhouse type areas for plants and even ponds for basic aquaculture. Earthships store water during the rainy season and recycle with greywater systems during the year. For off-grid many are decked out with wind power, solar power and geothermal cooling. In one of the videos on Youtube a half-built Earthship is about 90 degrees inside, while outside the desert winter air is around 10 degrees.
Garbage Warrior starts with the beginnings of Reynolds’ work and the early inspiration and innovations that lead to a loosely reproducible sustainable building method with reclaimed material and salvage. The middle act highlights trouble with city code enforcement and a period where his business was shut down, clients filed lawsuits against him and he voluntarily surrendered his New Mexico architecture and construction licenses. Reynolds turns this unwelcome event into an opportunity for statewide change by introducing legislation to allow experimental building methods, a daunting process through which he struggles for many years.
Oh and for everyone who killed their cable and saved big bucks, Garbage Warrior is available on Netflix – but not streaming, so you’ll have two wait a day or so to get it in the mail. Or visit the homepage for the Garbage Warrior documentary and buy a copy, also a great gift idea.
There is a Garbage Warrior Facebook group and an Earthship Twitter feed. This great Wiki article shows how the internal systems are designed, from layout to water recycling and active solar heating. And one of my favorites, John Kejr’s Taos Earthship real estate page.
This film is a “10” on the OhMyFrigginGoshoMeter. Grab some non-GMO popcorn and a home brew, turn down your thermostat and wrap up in your favorite blanket with someone you love. Garbage Warrior is a very inspiring film.