Earthship Village Ecologies

Escape From Economy

Earthship Village Ecologies Bottles

RationaleEarthship Village Ecologies Bottles

Throughout the last forty years Earthship Biotecture has been working toward developing a fully sustainable prototype home that has a zero carbon footprint on the planet. We arrived at this in the early 2000’s and are still perfecting and refining it. We have a building prototype that harvests its own electricity and water; contains and treats its own sewage; and heats and cools itself without fuel and produces a significant amount of food.

The building is built from 45% recycled materials... thus starting the construction of the building with a negative carbon footprint. Discarded materials take the place of new materials that require energy to produce. Also, once used, discarded materials, would have taken energy to dispose of. There is no energy required to reuse existing materials. This further contributes to a negative carbon foot print at the birth of the building.

 

This building costs next to nothing to operate annually and is independent of all municipal utilities. It takes full care of its owners and actually enhances the grounds around it due to the botanical cells which contain, treat and reuse the sewage via biological processes resulting in greenery. This prototype has been evolved by Earthship Biotecture to be priced right in the ball park with conventional buildings of similar quality in all parts of the world.

Earthship Village Ecologies construction

We thought we had arrived with this prototype... but change is the only constant in nature and reality. This results in evolution being a never ending movement.

We now (circa 2008 - 2009) see that a new crisis is at hand as the planet continues to react to the effects of growing numbers of people and other natural and un-natural forces. This new crisis is the crashing economy. Economy is a concept of the developed world through which the sustenance of all people is achieved. Perhaps just the concept itself is a mistake but we are deeply into it on this planet in the developed world.

As the economy crashed in late 2008, we realized that our product - a fully sustainable carbon zero home - is the product of this age; but it must now be delivered to the people of the world in a much more affordable way than conventional homes. It must also be acquired and operate independent of this thing called economy. By its very nature it leans in the direction of being free from the economy in terms of operation but to acquire it is another issue, in most cases still dependent on the economy.

Earthship Village Ecologies construction

Earthship Village Ecologies construction

The individual stand alone Earthship we have been evolving for so long provides individual sustenance. Now we have observed that there is a certain efficiency in small clusters of people sharing some aspects of the sustenance of life rather than each individually having there own methods of sustenance. We have observed many people getting all of the necessities of sustainable living together in their own Earthship only to feel isolated and alone after having achieved sustenance for themselves individually. We have thus observed a social need for people to interact and be near each other and, in fact, help sustain each other.
Earthship Village Ecologies construction

We have also observed (in the developed countries) a barrier between the peoples of the world and an affordable carbon zero/sustainable living circumstance. This barrier is the web of rules, codes, and regulations that were developed for the safety and welfare of the people but that have become obsolete and inapplicable as the earth and the populations have changed in recent years. In effect humanity has been riding a horse for many decades and now we have arrived at a vast sea and we are beginning to realize that the horse is not appropriate to continue our journey on the sea. We need a boat to travel further. The existing regulatory forces push us into trying to make a horse that floats or a boat that looks like a horse. Neither are the correct solution. We need to abandon the concept of horse and think boat - affordable boat. Conventional living concepts, codes and regulations do not even address this new circumstance...the EVE project is an effort to manifest it.

Earthship Village Ecologies roof

 

Mechanism

After years of lobbying, we finally got the Sustainable Development Testing Sites Act passed in New Mexico in 2007. This piece of legislation allows testing of housing and living methods in a day to day living circumstance, with real people, outside the incumbrance of conventional living concepts, codes and regulations. Special race tracks are used to test automobiles safely outside and apart from the public highway system. The EVE project, via the Sustainable Development Testing Sites Act, is a testing place for housing and living methods that is safely outside and apart from the confines of the outdated regulatory system. We have chosen to use two acres of property at the Greater World Sustainable Community in Taos, New Mexico that already has three older Earthships buildings on it.

We want to take everything we have learned over the last few decades, incorporate the latest dreams and innovations and demonstrate all of this in a more dense living situation involving twenty-five people. We want to take the Earthship sustainable design principles even further into high performance beyond regulations and economics because, like the horse and boat analogy above, a completely different concept of living is sorely needed on this planet in the early 2000’s.

 

 

Earthship Village Ecologies roof

Recently an engineer who was just introduced to Earthships said " what the world needs now is one billion of these immediately". Our observation now is that even tho we have this home/product available and priced very much in the same ball park as conventional homes; conventional homes (for many reasons) cost way too much. We want to make sustainable housing more affordable than conventional housing. In order to do this we must venture far outside the realm of existing concepts, codes and regulations... thus the EVE project.

In a conventional situation, you can only take the six basic Earthship design principals and systems so far. But within the test site scenario, we will be able to experiment with methods that will stretch and evolve these principals and render them more economical and thus available to more people. Right now, even with the hard earned experimental variances from the state in the Greater World Earthship community... to meet the code requirements for the heating and cooling systems, the electrical system, and the gray and black water systems is ridiculously expensive - i.e., out of reach for many people and very stressful to obtain for others. It is a blessing that we are allowed to even use our systems in this community, but to fit them in to the conventional scenario is wastefully and inappropriately expensive.

Earthship Village Ecologies tower
If there are no limiting, short sited regulations to meet, we could still address all of the recognized issues related to health and safety, but in totally new and different ways that would be much more affordable. Conventional codes and regulations by their very nature are not capable of allowing rapid evolution on a major scale and this rapid evolution is possibly the only way for us get out of the jeopardy we are in on this planet. The developed world has placed itself in a precarious corral that someone or something has to force us out of... the EVE project is that force.

Escape from Economy

In late 2008 and early 2009 the economic crisis on the earth has become so significant that it, however shallow, has begun to overshadow even the climate crisis. The EVE project will address the economy of people living in harmony with the planet and with each other but much more independent of the global economy and thus not near as dependent on it. This village will aim to finance itself. We already make buildings that make their own power, harvest their own water and heat and cool themselves so there will be no utility or infrastructure expense. We’re building with 45% recycled materials so that eliminates some of the cost of new materials. We, Earthship Biotercture, have a growing number of interns coming to learn the methods of Biotecture living. We will use this small army to launch the EVE project. This will result in very affordable housing for these people. The interns that work on EVE will live at EVE. They will be eating food from the planters of the buildings they live in. They will be using water from the sky here. They will be using electricity from the sun and wind. They will be using the toilets here and taking showers and making the plants grow from their waste water. It will be a self-contained system based on the six design principles of the Earthship concept. It will address the issues people need for sustenance. What we are trying to do here is illustrate that...the sustenance of people (shelter, water, energy, sewage, food and comfort) should not be subject to an economy.

The economy is a game. This game should be about nonessential things (motorcycles, computers, televisions). A person feeding their family, staying alive, having shelter... that should not be subject to an economy. We should have truly sustainable villages that provide a life independent of the economy... and what better way to create them than to have a building prototype that doesn’t need any utilities, produces food, is made of recycled materials and is easy enough to build, that unskilled people can do it. The whole EVE concept embodies an education that can be shared around the world. People can come for short or long periods of time, live here super cheap in terms of a rent payment and everything else is provided. They can eat here, they can drink here, they will have all of the basic essentials of life here. We’ll have flat screen tvs and high speed internet which are essential to some . We will have so much of what people need here that they won’t have to take trips in to town as often. We will be providing in our own "insignificant economy", the things that people need, in a green and sustainable way.

As the years went by in the development of the Earthship concept, and more and more global problems were presented by the media, we kept incorporating responses to these problems into the Earthship concept. This is how we developed the six design principles. Well, now there is another problem which has become the sole highway on which all of life is delivered... they call it the economy. We are taking a left turn off of this eroding highway and carving a path out into the mesa and beyond. We are calling this path E.V.E..

Global Model for a Good virus:
I am hoping that we can do this on multiple formats throughout the world and that it will make such a statement that global regions like, Australia, Asia, Europe and the Americas will look at this possibility... neighboring, sustainable, independent villages that constitute a town or a city.

It’s not about making anybody rich. It is not about tax dollars. It’s about the sustenance of people. If governments all over the world subsidized methods of people taking care of themselves in carbon zero village formats instead of subsidizing wars over resources; then we walk out of jeopardy and into a long lasting peace on earth. Currently, since sustenance depends on economy, we have people all over the world who are starving; don’t have enough water; have no shelter; and live in constant stress and misery. This effects the global ambiance. Now it’s even happening in the US. Homelessness is more severe than ever. There are tent cities. Just desperate people, like any one of us, who used to have a life. Then all of the sudden they lost their jobs and their mortgage and consequently their life.

Life should not float on an economy. Life should have its own wings.

E.V.E. can provide those wings to all peoples.

So every step of this EVE project is about learning to live without dependence on any other systems... political, economic or utility. The village is the system. It can be replicated and grouped with other similar villages to become a town. This can happen on a larger scale with many villages becoming a city. Then it can happen on a country or a global scale but it starts with sustainable villages that provide for themselves via the Earthship concepts that have already proven themselves to be able to stand alone. E.V.E. is a petri dish for development of a good virus.

We are talking about eliminating the stress of living on the people and the planet. If countries make their first priority providing people with the knowledge of how to provide for themselves in a village circumstance, then the people's livelihood will not be subject to the ups and downs of an economy. All the thinking and energy goes towards evolving the village toward the care of people and planet. The Native Americans taught their children how to survive on the Earth. The E.V.E. project will present to people the knowledge of how to survive in a situation that does not depend on the economy, politics or fossil fuels.

Reduction of CO2 Footprint :
Another issue that is coming in to play in conventional building these days quite a bit is freight; the shipping of materials from China to the US or from Taiwan to the US or even Oregon to New Mexico is being viewed as an energy waste and a CO2 impact. We should be building with materials that are all from within one hundred miles of the place they are used regardless of whether they be manufactured materials or recycled materials.

The same is true for food. It is ridiculous to buy food grown hundreds of miles away. That is, again, an energy waste and a CO2 impact. We can grow everything in the Earthship homes that you can grow anywhere in any tropical climate. That eliminates freight. E.V.E. will eliminate the giant carbon footprint of a banana from South America or a building product from across the country. We will harvest all kinds of food from E.V.E. and building products from the near by town of Taos, New Mexico. You take our EVE grown banana and put it right next to a grocery store banana that came from South America and you have a giant carbon footprint on one banana and no carbon footprint on the other. The same is true of a building product. The village produces what it needs and maybe trades with other villages near by. The strength is in the independence from centralized utilities and food production. There will be an inherent "insignificant economy" that is woven in to the natural phenomena that already exist on the Earth.

So the E.V.E. project is about all of these things, power, water, sewage, food, recycled materials and... the resulting insignificant economy. The EVE project is a way to live that is more like what I would call direct living... direct soft impact living. It puts people in a position that they can relate to the economy as if it were a swimming pool that they can dive into for a swim if they want to, but when they want to get out, their life is out of the swimming pool and remote from it and not dependent on it. Swimming in the economy is a game, it’s a recreation, it should not be the thing between us and life. That is a big part of what the EVE project is all about... evolution beyond economics made possible through a living vessel that provides all of the essentials and has no carbon foot print.

E.V.E. ... this cluster of twenty-five people living on two acres will be a seething, intense hive of human activity that will be on display to some extent. It’s not going to be luxurious, but it will be magnetic in terms of pulling in energy from congruent quadrants of logical thinking. “Live simply so that others may simply live.” The less you have, the less you have got to lose.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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