One of the amazing things about having written the book from the point of view of writing “for my peeps” is that, I somehow actually touch the hearts of some of my peeps with this work! I love getting notes from people after they have finessed their ideas! It’s fun for me to take a break from my practice to help someone out or see what shifted for them!
A few days ago, I got one of the questions I get pretty regularly about the Academy-type programs, and I thought I might share my thoughts on it here, in case it could help more people.
Q: “Should I go to one of the Earthship Academy-type programs (now offered by several builders), go to the original EA, or choose another path to achieve my new ideal home? Is the Earthship a viable idea for the future? Where would I best spend my time and money?”
A: "While I have personally moved past the earthship idea, I encourage people who are passionate about it to go to the original Earthship Academy course. Michael’s got a decent program for what he offers, and you can learn a lot about his particular brand of sustainability, and enjoy a unique view into Taos if you have the time and money and desire. The only “problem” with his course is that it really prepares you to only do things his way. But that’s okay if you LOVE the ES idea! His team is the best in the world at what they do!
Now, that said… I had every intention on doing a second edition of the book, with WAY more information from builders around the world, and so far I am stuck - it came down to my not really wanting to invest more time in the idea. I lost interest in the first book halfway through, if I am totally honest… the research made it clear that the idea isn’t all it is cracked up to be - that’s why it became a book about designing your own home rather than focusing on salvaging the earthship ideal. The part of me that wants people to have homes they love, that are affordable, and built to last generations… wants more. That’s why I am moving, much as the original Earthship Europe crew has, towards a permaculture-based natural home integrated into it’s unique landscape. They have partnered with Oliver Swann of NaturalHomes.org and created a new concept called Permahome. They also have listings of natural building workshops you can go to around the world!!
As far as the future of earthships go, I think it’s like the (Bucky) Fuller dome… there will always be someone who wants to work with the idea.
If it was me, and I had enough money to do something big and brave and had the time and could go anywhere I wanted, I would spend it:
- Learning cob building with Architect/Builder Ianto Evans and Michael Smith! (OMG both building GENIUSES!) at Cob Cottage Company in Oregon: https://www.cobcottage.com/apprentice
- and THEN I’d go workshop with Robert LaPorte and Paula-Baker LaPorte at EcoNest: https://www.econesthomes.com/natural-building-workshops/overview/econest-intensive/ Their workshops are amazing… they even include mindfulness training!
I just think cob building, combined with timberframing and light-clay-straw construction, will be the future for those of us who are more naturally-inclined but want something lower maintenance. I think you could learn everything you ever needed to know, and adapt to changing ideas… like hempcrete… really easily with those tools in your metaphorical tool-belt. Plus, they are INCREDIBLE people… the kind you end up friends with for the rest of your life… doing solid, well-built design that will last FOREVER and whose ideas empower people to do it many, many ways, with nearly any budget."
I hope that this is helpful!
I’m cheering for you! <3