Why not Earthships for remote reserves

Is it time to start thinking outside the box when it comes to easing the load from the shoulders of Onkwehonwe families living in isolation in the northern regions especially? Here is a relatively inexpensive and long-term solution to many of the problems facing reserves today. Why not build whole communities of self-sufficient, long lasting Earthships?

The government’s traditional method of throwing up a few poorly constructed basic wooden frame homes, wipe off their hands and wait for the crisis to return in another dozen years isn’t working. Here are just some of the advantages of an Earthship solution.

If Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s $8.4 billion of new money into reserve infrastructures is to be best spent, communities of Earthships make the most sense of any.

Local unskilled labour can be trained in about half an hour, according to Michael Reynolds, creator of Earthship homes. Each home would take about three weeks to complete. One such home was built in 1970 and is still up and running efficiently 45 years later. The latest in simple eco-technology that recycles rainwater for drinking, cleaning, cooking and even flush toilets, creates enough wind power electricity to operate the home, disposes of waste water in the most ecological way, allows for a small family inside a garden to grow produce, requires no focal fuel to heat or cool each home and is almost impervious to bad weather. What’s more, a homeowner can live completely off the grid. An earthship will also last many years longer than a cheaply build conventional wood frame house.

According to the Earthship Biotecture website, “An important part of the Six Nations project, will be the knowledge transfer that the team will be providing to members of the Six Nations community that will be participating in the build to acquire the skills to then be able to replicate the building in the future.”

In fact, what about building an Earthship community at Kononhstaton? As building materials goes, there is never a shortage of old tires no one seems to know what to do with, as well as aluminum cans and plastic bottles. How about that? Clean up the environment and build efficient, energy saving homes completely off the grid. Genius!

Maybe it’s time for a complete paradigm shift when it comes to homebuilding and energy collection. It’s not as crazy as it may look. We can’t go on doing things the way we are used to doing them.

But here’s the rub. Because of the unconventional building materials used in Earthships and structural design, getting a standard building permit would be impossible if the building restrictions and standards laws in place today remain unchanged. Is that really a big deal for a large family living in a unacceptable conditions? Desperate times, as they say, create desperate measures and maybe lightening up on the building code in some cases would be the wisest and most efficient thing to do in the long run.

Regarding the home being built for Francine Doxtator and her family, there will be $20,000 in hard costs, which is to be covered through donations and fundraisers.

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