Help me learn how to build Earthships

Help me learn how to build OUR Earthship, and I’ll pay it forward by building LOTS of Earthships.

Dear Facebook friends and family, pull up a chair and imagine we’re at a bar or coffee shop – either is fine with me, I’m just much more comfortable having this kind of a conversation in a more personal setting. If when we’re done you feel like the cause is worthy, my intentions are true and your time well spent, maybe you’d consider helping me by picking up just a small portion of the tab that will get this journey started.

So I'm really going to do it – I'm going to school to learn how to build Earthships. I guess the first question I should answer is - what the hell is an Earthship, right? Well, rather than me talk your ear off about how they work and how cool they are, why don’t I get us a couple drinks while you pull this up on your phone - it gives a good overview of Earthships.

Earthship Living - The Weather Channel

Pretty amazing, huh? I think so. Earthships are definitely catching on and popping up around the world. Ashley and I have always wanted to build our own home, something we can leave to the boys someday, and I can’t think of a better home than one that provides for all their basic needs, no strings or power lines attached, zero carbon added. Besides that, when you see the interiors – I mean, these are really nice, modern homes that are just a blank canvas for a creative design. We’re not too fond of high-desert terrain, so instead of New Mexico, we’re looking at Washington State, east of the Cascade Mountains and out of the Seattle rain belt. Don’t get me wrong, we love Seattle, but my knees just won’t have it. More like this:

But building our own Earthship is really just the first step in the larger plan. See, after telling just a few friends what we were thinking, we discovered we’re not alone in wanting to do something like this. To be honest, in just putting it out there, I already have three interested parties who want me to build them an Earthship, and one of them is willing to buy a whole bunch of land in Washington to develop in exchange for building his Earthship on a few acres of it. Now, that’s without any type of sales pitch. Pardon my French but clearly, this ship sells itself. So, operating on the "If you build it... they will come," philosophy, the plan isn’t to just build one Earthship, the plan is to build a whole fleet of Earthships. And to do that, I need to go to ship building school.

So, I guess the next question, is why? Why shift gears at this point in my life and head off the beaten path? Well, first of all, it’s not just an adventure, it’s a good business venture – just surfing around the internet and seeing all the Earthship groups popping up all over the world and the press they are starting to get, there’s no doubt they are in demand, and that’s only going to increase as energy costs continue to rise and the planet continues to heat up. Now, I understand that Earthships aren’t for everyone, and careers, locations, and lifestyles don’t make them a perfect fit for all. I understand that Earthships alone aren’t going to save the world, and we can’t all just knock down our homes and rebuild. But that’s not the point, nor the purpose.

See for me, the why is simple. I have two sons, ages one and five-years old, and they’re going to be on this planet for a long time. As a parent, I dread the thought that they will look at me someday and say, Dad, why didn’t you do anything? And, since I’m not a scientist, or a politician, or a billionaire who can influence elections and pay for an army of lobbyists, or even a particularly successful writer – I had to ask myself, what CAN I do?

Well… I can build stuff. My Dad taught me that. And he taught me about solar power, and how to grow a garden. What can I do? Hell, I can build Earthships, that’s what I can do – and I can write about it and try to spread the word. Because for every family that moves out of an energy dependent, highly inefficient home into a zero carbon, radically sustainable Earthship that I build, that will keep an average of 20 tons of CO2 per year out of the atmosphere, (according to a Harvard Study I looked up). A drop in the bucket, sure, but multiply that times 80 years and a bunch of Earthships and maybe that starts to make a dent. And for every family that moves out of an energy sucking home into a self sustaining Earthship, that’s another poke in the eye to the oil, gas and coal companies, proving – we don’t need you or your CO2. And the more people that move into Earthships, the more of their friends will find out about them and see that we don’t have to destroy the planet in the name of progress and profit, there are other alternatives, and they work.

Why do I want to go to school and learn build how to build Earthships? So someday I can look at my boys and say, I did what I could do.

The first part of this journey starts with me in an old pick-up truck driving to Taos, New Mexico so I can learn how to build all types of Earthships, hands on, from the guy who invented them, Michael Reynolds. I’ve been accepted to the Earthship Academy for the Oct/Nov four week session, it’s a condensed version of what is normally a six week course. Same course, just more intense. I’m afraid I’m going to get my ass kicked like an old man going through boot camp, but I’m still full time dad at home, so the shorter session means less child care. Ultimately, compared to the knowledge, skills and contacts I’ll take away with me, I think the cost of the tuition, housing (I’ll be staying in an Earthship!) travel and living expenses is pretty reasonable.

I was really hoping I wasn’t going to have to go this route, asking you to help chip in. But after being pleasantly surprised by the reactions of just the few people we’ve told, we decided this might be a good way to put our intentions out there in the world and see if any one else thinks this sounds like a good idea. Any contribution you can afford would be a huge help and keep us from going into the red before we’re even able to get started moving forward. Along with the exciting rewards I've described, anyone who lends a hand will have their name etched in the cement of our Earthship so that we never forget who to thank for supporting us when we first started out.

Thanks so much for hangin' out, and my apologies for monopolizing the conversation. (But if you want to hear more, or have any questions, don't hesitate to ask me.)


In case you haven't seen enough:

This is a great video that's all about the Academy and what I'm going to be learning...

Another overview from the Weather Channel:
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Steve Fardys 
Crestline, CA
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