Green Citadels. Explore eco-friendly earthships with sustainability pioneers

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Michael Reynolds had a dream. The architect wanted to build completely self-sufficient houses that are part of the environment, rather than a burden on it.

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An ideal home would be made from recycled materials, maintain a comfortable climate, generate sustainable power from renewable sources, treat its sewage, and provide clean potable water, as well as food, for its inhabitants.

He built his first ‘Earthship’ in 1972 almost entirely from empty soda and beer cans and rammed earth. Now he is the prophet of a movement that advocates “radical sustainability.”

Today, a 634-acre subdivision near Taos, New Mexico, dubbed the ‘Greater World Community,’ is dotted with off-grid homes based on his designs. Meanwhile, an Earthship Academy has opened to teach people from all over the world how to build homes and other buildings based on ‘biotecture’ principles.

Earthships are not without controversy. Their designs have fallen foul of the authorities for violating building codes, and some owners have complained their homes have not performed as advertised. Meanwhile, some places have banned off-grid living altogether.

Follow RTD filmmaker Alexey Brazhnikov as he meets Michael Reynolds and visits some of these amazing structures and their owners in the documentary Earthships.

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24 thoughts on “Green Citadels. Explore eco-friendly earthships with sustainability pioneers

  1. I am wondering about the potential hazards to the soil and human health by building with used tires. I heard the word "sustainable" but please allow me to suggest that these cute little earthships are probably not sustainable, as much as we would like to believe in this type of construction, and the mystique of "back to the land/good old days". If one built with bamboo which was growing on the property, or dry laid stone locally sourced I would certainly agreed with the use of this word, but in this case, the use merely prevents us delusional humans from examining our own thought processes.

  2. I bet the grey haired dude drunk all the liquor and beers, so they have endless supply of glass bottles and aluminium cans. And the tyres coming from their car race side gig. Environmental offset. Lol. Awesome video, thanks RT.

  3. I wonder about the seismic resilience of the structures, especially the ones made of cans and cement without (from what i saw) any kind internal "core", just the cement with cans. Cement alone is extremely brittle. Great initiative though.

  4. If in the winter the house heats so well, the opposite must be true for summer. That house must by unbearably hot all summer long since it retains heat so well.

  5. So take the ideas and concepts used by native peoples and use them today. Guess it didnt count until some dumbass white guy told his people that it can be done. At least some of them are evolving, lets see if they can prevent their own destruction.

  6. Not so ''green'' this structures, synthetic rubber tires are very toxic (especially when exposed to the sun`s heat), the cement is not healthy at all, and not so ''green'' to; and plastic bottles…. are biohazard.
    It is understanble their desire to get out of the system, but these homes are not healthy for humans; I don`t understand why they don`t build houses from clay, wood, stones, in this way our forefathers have built, truly healthy and green.

  7. I've been rooting for Earthships for many years now. I wish I could afford to have one built, but I think it is extremely difficult to get the authorization to build one in my neck of the woods, unfortunately.

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