Monday, 28 September 2009

Garbage Warrior (Movie of the Month)

If I say the word 'Earthship' what immediately comes to mind?

A science fiction geek in a fit of madness, builds an intergalactic meeting place for humans and our extra-terrestrial cousins? If this was your guess, then you get top marks for imaginative ability, but you are way off the mark.

It may sound like something from a Star Trek episode, but is in actual fact the brain child of architect Michael Reynolds: an architect who is pushing the boundaries of design, with one eyes on the future, and another on the diminishing environmental security of our present. An inspirational figure; driven by an assiduous desire to make a practical difference to the global warming dilemma, with a combination of grit, determination, and direct action. Reynolds feels that design is not evolving quickly enough. As a result, is failing to keep up with ecological/environmental concerns.

Unbelievably, Reynolds makes his 'Earthships' which are livable dwellings, out of all matter of household waste, including, beer can walls, and car tire structures. For many, this may sounds like an eco-hippy trip gone too far, but when seen in practice, one can't help admiring him and his team of conscientious naturalists.

The movie was shot by director Oliver Hodge over three years, and follows the life and times of Reynold's and his team as they fight the laws that be for legal recognition just outside of Taos, New Mexico.

The 'Earthships' can in Reynolds own words 'take care of themselves.' By that he means they require no outside power or amenities. Amazingly, sewage, water, electricity, heating and cooling are all taken care of by an ingenious design that makes self-sufficiency a livable reality.

Reynold's vision is shared by a band of merry men and women who came and eventually built their own properties, calling themselves the Greater World Community in 1990. This is now a legal subdivision, but only after Reynolds and the families emerged from several tedious years of bureaucratic hell. Reynold's fight against the powers that be is a dirty and at times, heart-wrenching battle, that he eventually wins.

This is a movie for those who like the underdog. Reynolds is an architectural punk, whose gives two fingers to the system, but at the same time plays the game, and gets what he wants. His style is rather abrasive at times, referring to the bureaucratic 'horseshit' in one moment of frustration, but his sense of urgency and tenacity elicit mountains of admiration, and leave one with a sense that the world needs to change.


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