Over winter break, my family and I went to explore Taos, New Mexico. What an amazing amalgamation of Native American history, artistic expression, natural beauty, and forward-thinking sustainability practices! We were fortunate enough to stay in one of the famed Taos Earthships, The Phoenix, an experience that had us all thinking—we can live differently; change is possible. Of course, that is the heart of what we believe in Horizons at CA.
My husband and I have been wanting to visit Taos for many years, but it wasn’t until we moved to Denver that we were actually able to go. We had heard here and there about Earthships, but we didn’t really know what they were about until now. For the past 20+ years, we have been actively involved in finding solutions to our planet’s environmental woes. My husband, Adam, is a sustainability consultant, and I have been working with environmental nonprofits for most of my professional career. We have done our best to consume fewer resources, live more in tune with the Earth and her natural cycles, and teach our daughters the value of walking lightly on our planet. So for us, to have the opportunity to nestle in an Earthship for a few days was like striking gold.
Michael Reynolds, the mastermind behind the Earthship movement and a trained architect, has been concerned with the negative impacts of consumerism for over 50 years. While earning his architectural degree in the late 60s, he began to make dwellings out of beer cans and other discarded items. Over time, he kept experimenting and figuring out ways to use garbage to create living spaces that empowered people to live more sustainably, reduce energy, water and sewage usage, grow their own food, and live a true carbon-neutral lifestyle. Along the way, the architectural establishment rejected his vision and felt that he was too extreme.
In looking at lessons learned from Michael Reynolds’ experiences, the takeaway that I would like to bring to Horizons is that it is important to follow your dreams, think outside the norm, and persevere no matter what people might say. For 50 years, Michael Reynolds kept tinkering and thinking that by embracing our natural systems, using both plants and discarded waste, rather than taking from the Earth, we can change the current destructive course on which we find ourselves. The state of the planet is so bad that if, by 2050, we stay on this consumption-at-all-costs path, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish! There is no question that our current way of life is unsustainable. However, there is hope with people like Michael Reynolds, who create a paradigm shift and show us how to reimagine our future in a positive way. Learn more about Michael Reynolds and his journey and more about Earthships .