Micheal Reynolds is a true visionary of a sustainable way forward for humanity, housed in buildings that use throwaway materials and don’t need external power or sewage systems. ‘Food, Energy, and Sewage’ is his mantra, and getting them or getting rid of them without reliance on the National Grid system is his pre-occupation.
Thankfully, Reynolds, the ‘Garbage Warrior’ has been brought to the screen in an illuminating film of this title by Oliver Hodge, screened tonight at the Jerusalem Cinematheque. I’m just back from it, and fired up. I urge everyone to see this film, whether you are motivated to build a home in Israel’s Negev Desert out of plastic bottles and/or old tyres (the Earthship), or just want to see someone act on their gut feeling and fly out to the Andaman Islands in the wake of the Tsunami, with his crew of 7 equally passionate builders, and built houses for the devastated Islanders.In response to Hurricane Katrina, which flattened New Orleans and much of the land around it, Reynolds and crew leapt into action and built houses out of raw materials for victims there too. Reynolds is a true hero who talks the talk and delivers the goods.The film has lots of humour: Reynolds is a self-confessed hippy, who, according to his wife, attracts “crackpots” (who seem to be a fiercely loyal and talented bunch). His long gray hair and lolloping gait, warm and open face and ‘Easy Rider’ attitude, endear him to the viewer quickly, and his passion for the earth and humanity shine through from the opening credits. His own reference to Noah, shunned for building a boat in a dry desert, seem to have many resonances to his own life – experimenting with solar gain and thermal mass in many hit or miss houses and communities scattered through thousands of acres of land deep in the New Mexico desert.There is a low trough in the film, which Reynolds plunges right into, in his attempt to get a law passed in the New Mexico/Taos State legislature, allowing such experimental and sustainable buildings to be made. Endless shots of him roaming through the State Council Building looking for support from the Council members (many of whom are shown to be either filibusters or just plain sleeping on the job), just is a waste of this hero’s time, and shows the sad, slow passage of the body politic. Director Hodge cleverly navigates through this, his camera glued to Reynolds, yet discreetly supporting him all the way.In the light of recent GreenProphet posts, such as (Green Prophet post on Communes), let’s use the vision and raw talent of this man to be inspired and carve out a real, sustainable future, turning our trash into walls and roofs to house us all. With effort, we can………………………………….Further info, including film trailer, at: www.garbagewarrior.comEarthship: How to Build Your Own (Earthship)