These “Earthship” Homes Help Save the Planet

Jan 24, 2022

Mike Reynolds got more than a few strange looks when he started building houses out of garbage in New Mexico in the 1970s. “They were talking about a freak on the mesa in New Mexico building buildings out of garbage,” he tells The Washington Post. “That was scandalous.” 

Not anymore. 

Now more than 1,000 of the “Earthships” have been built in over 40 countries. They're built from tires, dirt, and garbage.

The green Earthship communities provide a model of self-sufficiency. Residents treat their own waste, collect their own water, and grow their own food. Special solar windows convert sunlight into energy. The windows stop sunlight from passing through the windows in the summer. 

Earthships have drawn great interest among those seeking a green alternative to traditional homes. Climate change has brought extreme weather across the country.  

Reynolds’ firm is based in New Mexico. It runs an academy that teaches people to design their own homes.

Word Smith, who attended the academy, says he wants to build an Earthship to help save the planet. “You have these diplomats going to COP26 and just talking for two weeks, and everyone goes home and does nothing while the Earth burns,” Smith says. “Here, you have people literally building the future.”


Photos from Earthship Biotecture.

Which paragraph provides the most detail about what Earthships are? (Common Core RI.5.5; RI.6.5)
paragraph 2
paragraph 4
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