Monday, December 29, 2008

Internship Oppurtuntiy in Earthship Construction

(Picture taken from

Exploring (home of the Micheal Reynolds a.k.a. The Garbage Warrior) I discovered that there are one month, un-paid opportunities to work and live with the construction crew at the Greater World Community (shown in film). This looks like an amazing oppurtunitiy to get some hands on experience and to learn from the experts in the field.

Internship Dates are:

Session 1: March 2-27
Session 2: April 6-May 1
Session 3: May 4-29 *
Session 4: June 3-28 *
Session 5: July 6-31
Session 6: August 3-28
Session 7: September 2-27 *
Session 8: October 5-30

Visit their webpage for more information:

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Film Review "Garbage Warrior"

The Garbage Warrior is a treat for anyone interested in sustainable housing or for those who may be looking for inspiration in the realm of policy reform concerning current subdivision laws, building regulations and city code related to eco-village development. Packed with many great quotes and real live examples of how excellent human shelter can be provided with little to no money, tires, dirt, wood and power tools, this film takes the viewer on an amazing journey through experimentation sites in New Mexico, India and a bit of New Orleans towards the end. What is revealed to the audience is a practical and highly effective way of freeing ones self from the conventional housing system that is currently un-sustainable for future generations and from a system that is wasteful in terms of Earths resources and one's perosnal hard earned cash. I highly recommend this flim to anyone on the permaculture path and for any person thinking about building their own house in an rural or eco-village type setting.

(For more information read the following descirption from

What do beer cans, car tires and water bottles have in common? Not much unless you're renegade architect Michael Reynolds, in which case they are tools of choice for producing thermal mass and energy-independent housing. For 30 years New Mexico-based Reynolds and his green disciples have devoted their time to advancing the art of "Earthship Biotecture" by building self-sufficient, off-the-grid communities where design and function converge in eco-harmony. However, these experimental structures that defy state standards create conflict between Reynolds and the authorities, who are backed by big business. Frustrated by antiquated legislation, Reynolds lobbies for the right to create a sustainable living test site. While politicians hum and ha, Mother Nature strikes, leaving communities devastated by tsunamis and hurricanes. Reynolds and his crew seize the opportunity to lend their pioneering skills to those who need it most. Shot over three years and in four countries, Garbage Warrior is a timely portrait of a determined visionary, a hero of the 21st century.

Earthship n. 1. passive solar home made of natural and recycled materials 2. thermal mass construction for temperature stabilization. 3. renewable energy & integrated water systems make the Earthship an off-grid home with little to no utility bills.

Biotecture n. 1. the profession of designing buildings and environments with consideration for their sustainability. 2. A combination of biology and architecture.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Sustainability Incubators

Every major city needs space for the youth to gain access to free information concerning natural building, growing one's own food, rainwater catchment and small scale energy systems, as well as space for youth to practice and experiment with building shelter, growing food, capturing rainwater and installing small scale energy systems. These are the things that compose sustainable living. To live a sustainable lifestyle, all one has to do is find access to land, build a house, plant trees, grow a garden, start a plant nursery, keep bees, capture rainwater and establish ones own energy supply (given one is even needed). Once these skills are understood and mastered, then one can get on with their lives and either earn side cash through various artisan or nature crafting enterprises (or through any number of other side vocations).

Nothing here is that complicated. Study permaculture (free). Intern (free). Find land (can be free). Live. End of story.

Avoid Debt at All Costs

(Image source:

To escape the holds of the old paradigm it is most helpful to avoid the chains that are responsible for containing those who are already living in the old paradigm i.e. DEBT. Debt is the anchor that drags one into the system of work and taxation. Debt is often self-created and in some cases is akin to selling ones soul to the devil for something shiny or of material value. Debt is not always bad, as it is true that debt can be managed correctly and in fact in many cases it can empower those without resources to rise above a lower state of material existence and enter one of a higher existence--however, debt, which is just as often mismanaged and coned onto those who are young or do not know any better, is a major element that dictates a persons freedom to learn, explore, experiment with alternative ways of living and ways of fulfilling physical and spiritual needs.

Cutting straight to the point--one cannot take time off from work to build themselves a cob house over the span of a year and half if one is forced to work full time to pay off debt and/or any other bills associated with the process of living to pay off debt. If one is in debt one cannot take time off from work to learn how to grow food for themselves and their communities. If one is in debt one cannot afford to travel and study from other regions of the country where people are carving out amazing lifestyles that don't depend on money. If one is in debt, one cannot even drop what their doing to follow their own heart amidst a major life change or revelation. How have we let this happen? How have we managed to give away our basic right to travel and seek higher states of being? Where did this debt come from?!

Debt is a man made creation. No where in nature will you find the concept of debt because in nature there is no credit system. Without a credit system, there is no basis to make loans, and without loans, there is no basis to acquire anything that one cannot afford at that given time. In nature, only current wealth, or relative wealth exists ( i.e. wealth that is real and tangible and is not represented by credit). Debt is unnatural and unnecessary for human civilization.

In an ideal world, there is no need for debt. In an ideal world, everything a person needs to survive is available from the land and from the local community. Timber forests and earth for building, food forests for protein, fruit, vegetable and medicine, gardens for eating, ponds for bathing and drinking and community for socializing. In an ideal world, there is no need for a college education. In an ideal world, knowledge is free and available to whomever wishes to work for it. Sure we can still have college for those who actually use their education to advance society, but in reality, many people who go to college don't really advance society other than aiding in perpetuating the preexisting unsustainable patterns that were laid before them!

In closing, all I really want to say is AVOID DEBT AT ALL COSTS. Only buy what you can afford at that given moment, and before you decide to pay someone for knowledge, seek others who will give it to you for free!

What is Babylon?

Image Source: "Tower of Babel"

Babylon is a term used by some to describe a society that is inherently un-sustainable. To some of the Rastafarian way of life, Babylon is used to describe a society that is on a path to destruction due to corruption of government and ignorance of the people when it comes to managing the communities resources. Drawing reference to the Tower of Babel which was built in ancient times as a means to use technology to gain access to the heavens, the word Babylon describes a societies shortsightedness when looking to inappropriate technology to solve spiritual and material short comings.

If you live in a city, most likely you are living in Babylon. Babylon represents the current paradigm--the current linear system of resource extraction and waste generation. The linear system of thought can be seen in just about every major business, be it energy creation or agricultural commodities. Linear systems make business sense in the short term, but in the long term they are a recipe for ecological disaster due to the finite nature of Earth's resources (i.e. coal, oil, top-soil, water, forests, air etc).

Babylon can also be described as a society ruled unfairly by corrupt public officials. In a society where the aim is to keep the population ignorant of what is truly going, your in Babylon. In a society where economic systems are created for the benefit of top 2%, while the majority suffer in debt and poverty, your in Babylon. In a society where ecological and social benefits are waved in order to fill the pockets of large companies and investment bankers, your in Babylon. In a society that can come crashing down with oil shortages and natural disasters, your in Babylon.

The idea is pretty simple, and once one begins to learn what forces really make society move and operate, then one can begin the path of making change and finding what niches in society require policy change and revamping. To live in Babylon is to be dependent upon a system that could fail anytime. To live in Babylon is to live a life in vulnerability and risk. Indeed, Babylon is a profound issue--as issue that must be addressed so that a new paradigm can be created.

When we speak of paradigm shifts, we speak of completely changing the way we look at the world for our needs. A transition from global thinking to local thinking is paradigm shift. A transition from combustion for locomotion to compression is a paradigm shift. A transition from importing food to exporting food is a paradigm shift. Paradigm shifts are often hard to understand and are almost always met with opposition. To ask a man whose salary depends upon one way of thinking, to change and think in a different way that would take away his paycheck, of course one will object to change. To ask a person whose reality is composed of current social trends and understandings to change, to completely reform ways of consumption and traveling, of course one will be met with resistance because life is hard enough just trying to fit in, let alone adapting and forming new identies and connections. Indeed, change is tough. Life is inherently in constant motion and to resist this motion is to resist some of the most fundamental patterns of nature.

What is Permaculture?

Permaculture is a design philosophy that emphasizes the use of nature's patterns and principles to create human settlements that are integrated into on-site resources by stacking and connecting functions. It is a practical, ethical and to some, spiritual approach towards working with nature and reducing resource impact. Permaculture is an umbrella--an overarching framework that connects many of the disciplines necessary for sustainable living. Topics of study and application can fall into the following categories: small farm design, village-scale energy systems, cob building, straw bale construction, water catchment, grey water plumbing and landscaping, rain gardens, composting toilets, perennial food systems, aquaponics, herbalism, alternative healing, homebirth, homeschooling, community revitalizing and local enconomy. To some, permaculture is a way of life and a career choice to use one's time and energy to create and restore productive eco-systems. Some use permaculture principles to create eco-communities in 3rd world countries, some use permaculture principles to design homes and communities, some design principles in horticulture related enterprises, some find work in teaching, urban gardening, sustainability centers......and the list can go on and on. Any one can be a permaculturalist. To be a permaculturalist is to actively create and design abundance into one's home and community. A permaculturalist is always a student of nature and of native wisdom, constantly renewing themselves and working with others to create and share abundance.

In my opinion, I think Iowa's ecologically minded need to unite under the permaculture umbrella. There needs to be a united collection of people who seriously understand what it takes to grow food, provide all or most of the communities energy, fuel, shelter, restore habitat, bio-diversity as well as many other ecological needs.

In the Spring of 2009, a series of permaculture related classes will available in either Fairfield or Iowa City. Updates will posted on this blog and other sources soon to be posted.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Birthing of the Blog

Photo left: Bill and Dorothy Beal, an Iowa couple in there mid-eighties, helping to make cob for their son and his wife.

To create social change ideas and dialogue must be available to the masses and people need to have access to tangible opportunities to learn and experience ways of living that challenge the existing paradigm. Sustainable Living challenges the existing paradigm. Today, almost all of man's activities result in either the destruction or depletion of natural resources. Earth is a living being composed of many fluid processes that create our habitat as we know and understand it today. The habitat of man is already changing along coastal regions and through the melting of the polar ice cap steady changes are occurring within Earth's complex wind patterns with projections looking grim for many on Earth. Climate changes are occurring and are projected to worsen if radical change does not occur. Even if radical human change does occur climate change will still most likely occur to some extent and will most likely effect those living around the world who are already struggling to survive due to a lack of natural resources.

Oil reserves are decreasing while world powers fight and organize for their wanted shares. International Organizations and Corporations are getting rich through controlling our energy infrastructure and padding the pockets of those so called "leaders" in Washington who were elected to serve the people. The Federal Monetary system is corrupt and is creating money out of thin air and passing the debt on to all who earn and live by the dollar. People are overworked, secluded from community, our "food" is grown from genetically modified seeds controlled by corporations who want to control the entire food system, "food" is packaged, preserved and altered to withstand shipping and shelving time, plastic is microwaved, waste is created and at the end of the day you are left feeling sick, tired, broke and obligated to work for someone other than yourself just so you can continue on with your life as you know it.


In this blog I will share ideas, applications and resources for all Iowan's ranging from the youth of tomorrow to the elderly of today. My mission will be to disseminate information and to inspire others to imagine, create and educate sustainable living ideas, concepts and practices. Through my travels, connections and daily experiences I will share what I know and direct others to learn more. The internet is full of information and I will help you find what you need.


Brother Kyle