Experiencing A Pocket Of Freedom In The Southwest

matt wignall earthship photography 01 Experiencing A Pocket Of Freedom In The Southwest Photographer : Matt Wignall

Neil Harrison and I have started a 3 year project to document the sociology, topography, and recent history of the USA. We will hit every state as we travel in a diesel converted LandCruiser with a tent system built into the roof rack.  We have started a website (futureroadmaps.tumblr.com) and twitter account in the event that anyone is interested in following the project.  The eventual goal is a coffee table book and accompanying exhibits that make up our contemporary survey of American life.  We are on the first week of trip 1. 

The Earthship is by far the most genius piece of architecture we have ever seen

The Southwest

Now i’m pleased to introduce you to the Earthship. This pictured is one of the earliest Earthships designed. We stayed here for 3 days.  It sits in a very tough environment and is now getting a bit of an overhaul on the outside adobe on account of 15 years of neglect. Pretty impressive that a few cracks are all it has sustained.  A regular house would have collapsed at 8000 feet with snowy winters and heat wave summers.  Every thing in it is built from old tires and mud, the roof is a rain water catch, and the water is held in the large drum and then used for the dishes and toilet.  It is as off of the grid as you can get, solar, gray water etc.  In the below and above shots from Neil’s digi you can see the tires under the adobe styling.

The Earthship is by far the most genius piece of architecture we have ever seen.  It is absolute integration with its environment, it is recycling at its best, it needs no heating or cooling other than an occasional fire in the snowy season.  It is beautiful and comfortable, off the grid, and probably the most environmental and affordable housing on the planet; and we are not allowed to live in one.  On the Earthship website they have a section that lists America’s “pockets of freedom”.  There are very few places where we have the freedom to live environmentally by living in an Earthship.  Nowhere in California are you permitted to build an Earthship even though they are a proven environmental mainstay in the mountains and deserts of New Mexico.  The reason?  Well it’s the same reason I’m not allowed to drive my veggie converted Mercedes Diesel but I do anyway. 

matt wignall earthship photography 02 Experiencing A Pocket Of Freedom In The Southwest
matt wignall earthship photography 03 Experiencing A Pocket Of Freedom In The Southwest

The government, both local and federal, is opposed to any environmentalism that is not controlled and taxed by them.  Their greatest fear is that we as a society get smart, and begin to grow our own food, and provide our own heating and electricity, and fuel.  Sure the Obamas have a nice organic garden, but Obama’s head of the department of agriculture was one of the main lobbyists for Monsanto, and is waging a silent war against organic and independent farming.  My governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, is fighting tooth and nail to pass his global warming initiative, yet I will be fined if they catch me running my cars on veggie oil as I do, and I will be imprisoned if I build an Earthship on my own land in California, the state where I was born.  It is time we wake up people.  Our politicians are on the side of taxes, money, and power, not the environment.

matt wignall earthship photography 04 Experiencing A Pocket Of Freedom In The Southwest



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