Earthships & How They Can Help Us
Discovering positive planetary game changers is always a good thing. It’s a breath of fresh air to realize that our world is actually awash with positive people creating extraordinary things.
Finding solutions to the Big problems and helping our planet and its people in pretty amazing ways.
Social media has played a beneficial role in connecting us with many of these ideas and projects. Occurring right around the globe, from simple third world water filter paper ideas for cleaner drinkable water to the fully electric and relatively affordable everyday cars.
But the game changer I’m going to tell you about here raises the eyebrows with their name alone. Earthships!
It conjures up images of space, the future and planetary connection. Earthships are in fact very much grounded to the fabric of earth. They are made largely of compacted soil and with a pretty ingenious and environmentally helpful twist.
Photograph by Domenico, Karena
These new age human dwellings or ‘homes’ are built by using a rather large percentage of recycled materials, such as used car tyres, glass bottles and tin cans. The choice of materials however is not simply to ‘fill in the gaps’ or to act as support for the modern nest. The tyres, used ‘on-mass’ and compacted with soil using sledge-hammers, actually hold the thermal heat of the sun within them. Recharging through the daytime and releasing it slowly through the evening and nighttime.
Through hot periods, special vents draw in the cooler air from the shaded ground outside. These vents are kept closed in the colder times of the year.
Thermal Heating & Cooling is just one of six incredible key principles of Earthships which have already begun to shift our historic ideas of how homes are built.
Photograph by Azmi Smith
Here is the core list of why Earthships are Earthships.
They are all defined by the following 6 Principles.
Thermal/ Solar Heating & Cooling
So if our Sun is a giant beautiful power generator, among other things 🙂 And if the Earth is an amazing thermal stabilizer. Then the principle of the Heating and Cooling requirements of any Earthship is really just trying to use both these aspects in the most optimal and effective ways.
By their design, Earthships make the best use of both, the Sun and the Earth to harness as much of the energy as possible and store it. So that you don’t have to dig into your pocket. Earthships find the balance, so that we humans can dwell in a comfortable temperature whether it is hot or cold, night or day. Fantastic right!
Solar & Wind Electricity
As most Earthships are located entirely Off-Grid, the use of solar panels and wind power generators are an uncomplicated solution to meeting household electrical needs. Energy is stored in large car batteries and passed onto the POM – Power Organizing Module where it can be distributed around the home to meet all the essential needs.
Photograph by Teratornis
Contained Sewage Treatment
Greywater, which is most of the water from a household that is uncontaminated with fecal matter, is recycled throughout the home. It is not for drinking but there are lots of other useful things that this greywater can be used for. Such as watering the plants within the house, which filters the water and then goes on, to flush of toilets.
After that the water goes outside to a solar incubator and is then distributed to water the plants outside. In the process it is giving them also a nutrient boost.
Built with Natural & Recycled Materials
Tyres make up a large part of the structure of the Earthship building. But other materials are also essential for the design. You will often find tin cans and coloured glass bottles integrated into the walls with compacted earth. Usually finished with a thick layer of plastered adobe (a mix of earth and other natural matter.)
Wood is also often used for framing the roofs, and the large glass panels are required to make the principles of the design work effectively.
Water Harvesting & Recycling
Earthships are designed to collect water from the local environment without the need of a centralized source. Water is harvested from rain, condensation and snow, then filtered and cleaned through the WOM – Water Organizing Module, to be ready for use.
A core concept of Earthships is that water from the sinks and bathtub is cleaned by the plants in the interior of the home. After that it is passed on and used to flush the toilets. This way all water is completely recycled.
In the general structure an Earthship is half of a greenhouse. The plants are useful for oxygen, food and cleaning waste water. It makes a lot of senses to incorporate them into the building. If you’re also a plant lover, then the energy and aesthetic of having lovely rich green and healthy plants living and breathing in close quarters to us, is just a magical bonus to their practical benefits.
Plants are also grown outside using the solar processed recycled water runoff from the home.
Graphic by – Amzi Smith
Earthships are not a ‘brand new’ idea. They are currently about a forty five years evolution from when their chief creator Michael Reynolds began using recycled materials to build houses. He, along with his friends and colleagues at Earthship Biotecture over the years have experimented, practiced, learned and refined their designs all over the world. They have really honed-in on some of the better ways to configure and establish the buildings, to make them work most effectively.
The following 10 minute video offers an awesome concise overview of some of the Earthship principles in action. Here you will see a real life project of an Earthship being build from the ground up by a community of people…
Featured Image by Dominic Alves
So there you have a bite sized introduction to Earthships and a self-explanatory insight into how these incredible buildings are changing the way we humans are building Our future.
Have a quick look at some of the many inspirational photographs of Earthships around the world that already exist. There are no limits to their beauty and their practical relevance to our modern world is hard to surpass.
So let the seed be sown of the idea that you could be out there one day soon with your feet on the soil and your hands in the earth, sculpting your own dream home. Knowing that when you’re finished, it will feed and shelter you for a lifetime. So that you don’t have to depend on a fragile economic system to support you.
Just let the Earth and Sun support you instead.
Thank you for reading our blog post. I hope that you found it useful and with a bit of luck, creatively inspiring too. If so, please Like and Share it widely to awaken more consciousness around the world.
To your success and happiness.
Sebastian is a creative and innovative artist and designer and a new age entrepreneur of our exploding digital age. He is a caring father of his twin daughters Atiya and Caira and loving husband to Beata. He is adept in core digital skills, photography and digital creativity. He is a practitioner of daily Yoga, meditation and inner development and is passionate about learning diverse life skills and transformational personal improvement practices. He has spent many years developing a unique series of active sensory dynamic chairs to contribute to the evolution of the human sitting experience. He is passionate for nature, life and all that which inspires the human spirit to lift up to glorious heights and unite people in Our global enduring quest to sustain this beautiful world for us all to share.