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Green Citadels

Explore the advantages & oddities of eco-friendly earthships with sustainability pioneers

Michael Reynolds had a dream. The architect wanted to build completely self-sufficient houses that are part of the environment, rather than a burden on it. An ideal home would be made from recycled materials, maintain a comfortable climate, generate sustainable power from renewable sources, treat its sewage, and provide clean potable water, as well as food, for its inhabitants.

He built his first ‘Earthship’ in 1972 almost entirely from empty soda and beer cans and rammed earth. Now he is the prophet of a movement that advocates “radical sustainability.”

Today, a 634-acre subdivision near Taos, New Mexico, dubbed the ‘Greater World Community,’ is dotted with off-grid homes based on his designs. Meanwhile, an Earthship Academy has opened to teach people from all over the world how to build homes and other buildings based on ‘biotecture’ principles.

Earthships are not without controversy. Their designs have fallen foul of the authorities for violating building codes, and some owners have complained their homes have not performed as advertised. Meanwhile, some places have banned off-grid living altogether.

Follow RTD filmmaker Alexey Brazhnikov as he meets Michael Reynolds and visits some of these amazing structures and their owners in the documentary Green Citadels.

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