Earth Ships

I know, the name sounds crazy, but get past the visions of crazy space cults, and you'll see that there is some sustenance here.

Almost two years ago, my wife (then gf) headed down with my parents to visit the town they purchased a plot of land in: San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua.  They purchased a beautiful plot of land on the Pacific coast, about 25 miles north of Costa Rica.   Now, up to that point, the only thing I knew about Nicaragua is that there was once some kind of war going on there in my life time and some coffee came from here.

After our 3 hr ride from the capital city of Managua (it's hard to make good time over a continuous stretch of potholes) we got closer to the sleepy port town.  On the way in to town, I was amazed to see the homes the people lived in.  They were little more than concrete bunkers!  They barely had front doors, let alone electricity.  There are power lines that run to San Juan, but only the higher end establishments can afford the spotty electricity (brown outs were frequent).

But just because Nicaragua is basically a third world country, doesn't mean it's citizens on the lower rung can't build green.  The members of Casa Llanta (Tire House) are proving this.

They are employing the locals to help in building their Earth Ships.  Casa Llanta defines Earth Ship as:

1. passive solar home made of natural and recycled materials

2. thermal mass construction for temperature stabilization.

3. renewable energy & integrated water systems make the Earthship an off-grid home with little to no utility bills.

As you can see from the video below, they mean it when they use all available building materials.  And why not?  They make for great building materials, and prevent the materials from building up on the side of the road or heading here.  And while Americans (well, at least those of you reading this blog!) are learning the advantages of green building a century after they have built out their country, Nicaraguans have a fresh start and can start things right.  This way, when they do all have electricity, they wont have to worry about brownouts.

So what does this mean for you?  Think about your daily routine and how much waste is generated around you.  What if that waste was put to better use?  Think about it, and think about how you can act on that.

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