23 September 2007

Building Earthships for our Eco-Deaf community!

By Summer Crider

Can you imagine a dream home being created from other people's trash? Yep, it's possible.

I took a workshop at the University related to creating a vision for the future, and I had to create a powerpoint that would convince the board to give me a grant for my dream project. I will give the same presentation to you on this blogsite.
Here begins my idea:

You know how many children of today are obsessed with video games, hooked on watching TV, and getting themselves attached with technology gadgets- before we know it, babies would be born their tiny ears implanted with white iPod headphones, calluses on their tiny thumbs from Playstation's wee-PSPs, and eyes magnetized by the glare of television screen. Richard Louv (2005) says these kind of children have what he calls a Nature Deficit Disorder. We don't want that to happen to our children, do we?
So I got the idea of creating an ecologically-focused summer camp for the children of the sign language community- and that camp functions in an Earthship*.
*If you're not yet familiar with what an earthship is, it's not a space ship or anything sci-fi (although it should be, that is, if we decide to move to another planet, but alas, I digress)

Basically, an Earthship is an sustainable housing method that uses all natural resources for functioning as a home. The main frame is usually built from old tires, glass bottles, and recycleable materials. There are solar panels installed on the roofs to provide light and energy, rainwater is collected and stored in a cistern, and basically, there are no public utilities required (of course, if we decide to detach ourselves from internet cable). It costs under 60,000 dollars altogether to build this and it's usually built by an community of people who believe in this concept.

The community would consists of staff members who are involved in the children's camp... each "Earthship" would be a cabin. The children would learn its functions, understand how the building heat and cool themselves all the while utilizing the discarded materials of our society. They could also learn how the the Earthship cabin produces its own energy, water, sewage management, bio-diesel, and the children would also learn how to grow their own food in a garden adajecent to the cabin.
This is really a great example of a non-destructive existence that removes stress from the lives of people and the planet.
It would be a great ecological camp experience for them, wouldnt it?

I imagine back in the 1960's when my own father had gathered his hippie friends and began to build his cypress dream home on the shore of a lake- because of what he and his friends did, I was fortunate to be raised among alligators, raccoons, otters, deer, and wriggle my toes in the nutrient rich muck. This could be our dream home for our children, and we all can contribute to making this Eco-deaf community!

1 comment:

  1. Hello, I am a philosophy student at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, and I am minoring in sustainability studies. I have been studying the earthships, as well as varied sustainable building and farming techniques for about five years now, one of which I spent living in the Taos mountains and attending the UNM campus up there.(the most sustainable college campus in the country) My father has been a real estate agent for over 37 years, owns his own business ,Thomson Real Estate, and has been a land developer in the past. Several years ago, he acquired a forty acre tract of land in a township south of Albuquerque called Tome. This land has been basically developed except for infrastructure and homes. There is space for forty-plus homesites, leveled and graveled roads, and electricity, with two wells. We are planning to build a sustainable community of earthship-like traditional southwestern-style homes. These homes will be more affordable than purchasing an earthship brand new, but with all the same sustainability features. Instead of ever having a bill, upon moving in to one of our homes at the Rio Del Oro subdivision, a family will actually receive funds back from the electricity company from the draw off the solar panels. Rain water will be caught off of the entire roof surface, and this water will be collected into a cistern, which then has an overflow to a community cistern. So well water is just a backup, just as nature intended. The community cistern will then feed into a community greenhouse and garden space. This feature will provide for some facilitated community interaction, as well as supplying a subsidiary food source. The labor intensive aspect of the homes will be dealt with by utilizing volunteer laborers, who can easily be sourced and supervised by a licensed contractor. These volunteers will be paid directly in knowledge and understanding of how the process works. A similar deal is worked out at Earthship Biotecture, except they actually charge their volunteers $250.00 for a month long workshop. I am getting very close to being ready to break ground on our first model-home, which is being designed by the Henry architects in Taos, NM, Who already design most of the earthships up there. Really what I need at this point is some financial backing. It would cost easily under $150,000.00 to complete the first home, and begin work on the community designs. I can offer a minimum 8% return on investment annually, until paid in full. What I can also offer is the opportunity to finance the remaining homes, which could become incredibly lucrative. I plan on having the model home paid off within a couple of years, however the other residents will most likely have longer term loans, and we may need to adjust their interest rates accordingly. I just got my real estate license five months ago, and have had some success so far, but this is really what I want to do. . . We are going to make this happen. Please let me know if you are interested in becoming involved, or if you know anyone who would be. -John Thomson