One man’s trash is another man’s… home

Maybe you thought reinforced steel or structural concrete were the most revolutionary building materials. Not so, according to Michael Reynolds:  architect, recycling hero, designer of the Earthship and now the “Garbage Warrior,” title of a new film by Oliver Hodge. Earthships are sustainable homes crafted from recycled tires, bottles, cans—turns out, fill those things with dirt and they harden into foundation-safe materials. Long-haired, the years of sun etched into lines on his face, Reynolds is feisty as he ever has been in his 35-year career.

“I don’t care about anything except the planet,” Reynolds says, and Lord knows he’s traversed it trying to implant his message in myriad places. Properly trained as an architect, he’s managed to unlearn much of the knowledge he attained in school, and to ignore building codes that he found had no bearing on the earth-hewn homes he made. The story goes that he was forced to withdraw his New Mexico architecture license to keep building Earthships—a compromise reached with the state, since his homes broke so many codes.

Perhaps now, with a perk of interest in green building and sustainable living, Reynold’s revolutionary concept—today’s waste can be tomorrow’s home—will get a fair shake. And even if you’re not ready to build one yourself, you can test it out by staying in one: For $135, you can rent The Phoenix, The Studio or The Hut, and watch construction in action.

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"I learned about earthships from a friend and since then have been trying to talk my wife into it. Finally, we watched the Garbage Warrior documentary and she was sold."

"I just got done watching the documentary Garbage Warrior. I commend you on your relentless pursuit of getting your ideas to come to fruition. I think the part of the movie that struck me the most and had me yelling at the TV, was when you were trying to open the eyes of the legislature. It is a sad but true reality of having to jump through the hoops of society to get anything changed or done. I agree that it stops the momentum of ideas and innovation. I am a high school special education science teacher and would love to show this video in my classroom."

"Well its 4.00am, been awake all night so far after watching Mikes DVD Garbage warrior. no it wasnt that bad that it kept me awake LOL.. just caused me to start thinking very seriously about the what you guys are trying to do, and what we should be doing up here in Canada."

"Garbage Warrior is very inspiring, and all the work of your community is so amazing. I really would appreciate the opportunity to be part of a constuction project."

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