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Think twice before tossing out that flat tire -- it could be the cornerstone of your new home.
PHOTOGRAPHS BY JESSE CHEHAK

The eternal cliché of one man’s trash being another man’s treasure has reached its ultimate form in Earthships, the manmade homes that are the brainchild of Michael Reynolds. Composed of about 45 percent recycled materials; powered from solar, wind, and photovoltaic sources; and disconnected from the mainstream energy grid and public services, Earthships are becoming an important -- and many argue, vital -- new type of housing for a planet with an exploding population and dwindling natural resources. They have even been highlighted on CBS and CNN.

“Here’s a group of individuals who have empowered themselves in a fairly unique way,” declares Oliver Hodge, director of the documentary film Garbage Warrior, which chronicles the exploits of Reynolds and his Earthships team. “They’re making radical changes to their own lives and other people’s without the help of government organizations or corporations. They’re using leftovers [in their] design and innovation to survive off-grid.”