I moved here to the Bay Area four and half years ago from Albuquerque, New Mexico. While the Bay Area is lovely and an amazing place to be, I miss the desert terribly. The thing I miss the most is the fact that ‘Burque boasts an average of 300 days of sunshine per year and the fact that New Mexico is one of the main hubs of communities of Earthships.
Earthships are made of recycled materials (including tires, glass bottles, aluminum cans and myriad other reclaimed materials), built into the side of a hill with a south facing wall of windows. The homes are usually “u” shaped, with the tires rammed full of earth serving as the main support structure for the walls. The houses utilize grey/black water systems, a main cistern, interior gardens, solar/thermal dynamic that heat and cool the houses naturally, solar and wind power allowing folks to live “off the grid.” One of the coolest things about these homes is that they are not a luxury that can only be enjoyed by the wealthy – these homes are comparatively affordable by their very nature, relying heavily on recyclables and principles of sustainability.
I particularly enjoy the informative blog by a woman named Kirsten who has built her own Earthship, but also works with Biotecture to bring Earthships to the rest of the globe. Biotecture is a pretty impressive organization, in that one of their initiatives was to bring Earthship biotecture knowledge to climate ravaged places like South East Asia after the tsunami and New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Because of the severe devastation, coupled with the lack of assistance from inept government agencies, Biotecture brought to both places not only affordable alternatives for rebuilding, but offered communities the opportunity to recycle the vast amounts of trash strewn throughout the areas for building living structures.
One day, my dream is to move back to the desert and build a home that not only fulfills my personal dreams, but serves to protect and preserve this beautiful planet.