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The case for making our homes out of trash – tradition and culture be damned

Built in and around the town of Taos in New Mexico, the oddball collection of off-the-grid houses known as ‘Earthships’, made from natural and recycled materials, might at first glance look like a gimmick aimed at idealistic hippies or survivalists prepping for doomsday. However, Michael Reynolds, the inventor of these unusual homes, emphases their liveability and practicality, believing that people will choose to live sustainably only when they see it as a viable, cost-effective alternative. Finding inspiration in the ‘Beer Can House’ in Houston, Texas, completed in 1972, Reynolds started building his own structures from recycled materials shortly after. Today, Taos’s ‘Greater World Earthship Community’ features about 65 completed Earthships, each harnessing sunlight for heat as well as sewage and greywater for plant fertiliser. An offshoot of The Adaptors podcast series, Meet the Earthship is an intriguing look at the possibilities of living just outside the norms of tradition and culture.

Directors: Flora Lichtman, Katherine Wells

Website: Sweet Fern Productions

10 February 2017

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