From time to time, conversation at thump touches on a special project, travel with purpose, or plans to pursue something that keeps a personal dream alive. From time to time, we’ll share these conversations with you to inspire you to keep your dreams alive!
Conversation 1: Ashley & Briana Volunteer with Earthship Biotecture, Alternative, Sustainable Home Building
Following is Ashley’s recollections about her journey with Briana:
A couple of years back on a beautiful summer evening, Briana and I lazed about in a puddle of ideas of how we could bring about positive and active change to our community and earth. Upon this eve, the concept of earthships was brought to our attention.
The title for these remarkable structures in itself was enough to draw in our interest and leave us with a hunger to know more. For those that are not familiar, an earthship is a completely independent and globally oriented dwelling unit, composed of materials that are indigenous to the entire planet; using byproducts of our modern society such as cans, bottles, and tires. The model of an earthship has been designed over the past 40 years to reduce planetary impact and increase our connection to it. The design of these homes is to be mostly self sustainable, heating and cooling themselves using thermal and solar dynamics, collecting there own power from the sun and wind, containing and treating their own sewage on site, producing food with a front end south facing greenhouse, and harvesting their own water from rain and snow melt.
When I returned from India in 2008, I decided to apply for an internship with the company Earthship Biotecture (as well as did hundreds of other people), but instead I was presented with a beautiful volunteer opportunity in Montana.
Fast forward to the summer of 2009, and Briana and I were Earthship bound. We started our trip to Miles City, Montana filled with renewed purpose and a strong desire to soak up as much knowledge as possible about these beautiful structures. Three states later we arrived in Miles City a tad bit delirious and just in time for the sun to disappear, and our bodies to rest among the grass and soothing sounds of crickets chirping. The next morning we set out for the job site and got to work.
The earthship team (a gaggle of amazing and inspiring people) had been in Miles city for two months and were in the final stages of the structures completion. To be able to learn about the ins and outs of one option of sustainable building, and to get our hands dirty while putting in some sweat and laugh time, was a dream come true for Briana and I. While we were sanding and carefully crafting mud walls, a pilot for a proposed series to air on Discovery channel was being filmed, providing us with the opportunity of a three-on-one interview with the brains behind the operation, Mike Reynolds.
Like kids in a candy store we were sure to ask question upon question, solidifying our belief in these structures as a personally empowering way to change one’s life and reduce personal effect on global warming. A week of hard work was not nearly enough for the both of us, but given life timing it was all we had, and our gratitude for the experience holds strong to this day.
The goal for this adventure was to expose ourselves to an out-of-the-box concept and to further our knowledge and awareness, while acquiring a new skill set that can be applied directly in our personal lives and towards the positive growth of our community. With the understanding that we had only just begun to learn about and experience the benefits of these dwellings, we parted ways with the earthship team and headed out for a homestead in North Dakota to enjoy the simplicity of farm life before making our way home to beautiful Oregon.
What we will do with our newly gained experience still remains to be determined. Nonetheless, we move forward inspired, having added to our tool belts, further feeding into our desire to cultivate ways to live a sustainable life, that not only is minimal impact but can also give back to a world that provides us with so many amazing blessings.