Instead of writing another article on sunscreen alternatives, I’d like to share with you a long held personal obsession of mine. In fact, it was a critical pivot towards establishing roots right here in Regina after our move from B.C. Ready for it? EARTHSHIPS!! What does it have to with naturopathic medicine specifically? Nothing! What does it have to do with sustainable living and synching ourselves with the rhythms of the universe? Everything!! (haha, what’s an article worth reading if not for a little hyperbole? Lol)
Anyhoo, I first encountered Mike Reynolds (the architect behind the Earthship concept) while I was reading Calgary journalist, Chris Turner’s book “The Geography of Hope” around the time my daughter was born just under 12 years ago. His lament about the state of the planet to which his newborn daughter was born prompted him to raise a ton of money and embark on a mission to find sustainable technologies adequate enough to save the earth from ourselves. He wanted to challenge the notion that we need some radical new overhaul of civilization in order to halt and heal from Climate Change. What he discovered was that there are indeed multiple examples of exactly those technologies all over the world: from tree houses in Thailand to a net zero island off the coast of Holland to Mike Reynolds’ Earthships in New Mexico. The sum total of these, he feels, is enough to at least slow down Gaia’s decline and leaves the reader with the questions of “ok, well, if the technology is out there why isn’t it being used en masse to thwart what now seems inevitable?”. The question isn’t new but it’s certainly more urgent now than ever before. With an exploding population, a tipping point is getting harder to reach with respect to mounting a global effort to pivot towards environmental stewardship. Harder but NOT impossible.
So here, let me give you the low down on Earthships. A passive solar earth shelter made mostly of recycled tires rammed with earth to form 3 sides of your foundation, it leaves the fourth side a solid glass wall angled to maximize sun exposure in the winter and minimize it in the summer. Inspiration for the design comes from meeting 6 human needs:
- Energy: Thermal and/or solar heating and cooling, solar and wind electricity
- Garbage management: Reuse and recycling built into construction and daily living
- Sewage treatment: Self-contained sewage treatment and water recycling
- Shelter: Building with natural and recycled materials
- Clean Water: Water harvesting and long-term storage
- Food: In-home organic food production capability
Pretty neat huh? Earthships are intended to be “off-the-grid-ready” homes. You can apply to be wired into municipal power/water and sewer systems but it is not necessary. Construction materials are either recycled or upcycled and built to create thermal mass and natural cross ventilation to regulate indoor temperature. You can grow your own food and recycle your water (from rain) 400%!! But here, don’t take my word for it, Mr. Mike is FAR better at explaining this amazing concept. Feast your eyes!!