• Image about Michael Reynolds
“I’ve never agreed with conventional building methods,” says Ronald Sciarillo, an Earthship builder in New Mexico. “Using tires, bottles, cans, trees, and recycled materials to build your home for not only a much more affordable price but to also clean up the planet simultaneously is a huge thing for me.”

It’s becoming important to people in other countries as well. Kevan Trott, an Earthship builder in Normandy, France, who has 30 years of professional construction experience, became very interested in sustainable building methods and materials in late 1999. Trott discovered Earthships in 2004, attended a seminar given by Reynolds, and then began to work with him on the planning application for a 16-unit development in Normandy.

“My family decided that this was the way of living for the future, and we invested a significant amount of money and time into building our Earthship here in France,” Trott says. It became one of the first official residential Earthship homes in Europe, and it began Trott’s working relationship with Reynolds, which has grown in the five years since they met to include project-managing Holland’s first Earthship and consulting on a variety of other European projects.

“My boys are indeed getting a fantastic education on living for the future,” states Trott. “As for cons, [there are] very few, if any, for the European market. The basic design needs to be -- and is being -- adapted more to suit the climate. I’d still like to reduce the usage of cement even further, and in new designs, this will be the case as we introduce hempcrete and [find] alternate ways of creating thermal mass. With an exciting project starting in Glasgow next, and with many more to follow in Europe, we have to provide a concept which suits the climate.”

It’s been nearly 40 years since Reynolds first developed his beer-can “brick” in Taos, New Mexico, but his idea of encouraging people to take control of their lives and personal resources and to live through modest means is one that has spread around the world. It may have been a far-out idea in 1970, but in today’s green world, Earthships are more relevant than even Reynolds could have ever imagined they would be. They’re also pretty cool looking.

For more information on Michael Reynolds and Earthships, go to www.earthship.org, www.earthshipseurope.com, and www.garbagewarrior.com.