a continuation of Two roads diverged in a wood…
So evening came, and to my own surprise, I went to Sadhana Forest. We were a little late for the introductory tour of Sadhana Forest, but in time for Garbage Warrior. Sadhana Forest is an incredible place, and will be the subject of another article. For now it will suffice to say that I had never before, or have never again, watched a movie in a thatched roof hall with the screen projector running on solar and bicycle energy and the rain pleasantly falling outside.
It was April 2005. Mike Reynolds had lost his Architecture license due to the unconventional nature of his work. He and his crew responded to an urgent call of help from the tsunami hit Andaman Islands. It had been a while since the tsunami had struck, and people felt more than just food and medicines was required now. The need of the hour was shelter, sanitation and water. Within a fortnight, Mike and his crew taught the local people how they could build sustainable houses to meet their requirements of shelter, sanitation and water.
Mike Reynolds graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 1969. Soon, he was disillusioned by the profession of Architecture. He felt it had nothing to do with the planet, and barely had anything to do with people and what they needed. He was a severe critic of the amount of waste building design created.
The Thumb House, which Mike built in 1972, used beer cans wired together into “bricks”, which were mortared together and then plastered over. His own house, the first one he called an Earthship, was built using dirt beaten into tyres. It did not require heating even when the temperature was -30° F.
A proponent of radically sustainable living, Mike created housing which internalized sewage and water, generated electricity, had a greenhouse to grow food and required no heating or cooling at any time of the year. He called this practice Earthship Biotecture.
Garbage Warrior is a celebration of the work of Mike Reynolds. It is a story of his journey from being declared an outcast to being a part of the system. It is a story of how one man with courage and conviction changed a system that did not want to change. A must watch for anyone who has ever thought about change, and for anyone who hasn’t.
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