Sunday, 31 May 2009


“Basically we’re making a vessel, we call it, that deals with shelter, of course, energy, food, water and air. Almost like on Walden Pond – those were the things Thoreau said people needed. Well, we need them, but we need them without nuclear power plants, we need them without power lines, and we need them without destroying the earth’s aquifiers. We need to provide them in each unit that we build. And that’s the idea we’re dealing with here. And so we’re providing food, shelter, power and sewage treatment, all in one unit.”

Mike Reynolds, the architect who designed the Earthship, quoted in Chris Turner’s exellent ‘The Geography of Hope’.

Yesterday I was out trekking on Bowen Island, which is a small island off the coast of Vancouver. Amazingly beautiful and chilled. Lovely.

The sun was shining, the breeze light, birds singing, huge trees providing shade.

The bountifulness of the environment surrounding me reminded me of something Mike Reynolds (quoted above) said about when he first started making earthships. He was talking about harnessing wind power, solar power, collecting rain falling on the roof, and using thermal mass in the walls to keep the house cool in summer and warm in winter so you don’t need heating or air conditioning.

He said that he realised that, with all this freely available power all around, we are sitting on a goldmine. All we need to do is harness it.

It’s funny how people think of oil and natural gas as being really precious, but ignore the wind and the sun. Building huge coal plants and nuclear plants while ignoring what is right in front of our noses – everything we need is available in our immediate environment. A house needs no power lines going in, no sewage pipes going out. It can regulate its own temperature, provide its own electricity and collect its own water.

Incredible that we are still using that old, dirty, expensive stuff that is owned by a few companies holding the entire world to ransom. People fight wars over it! Astounding!

Anyway, my life in the city is going fine. I am happy. The older I get and the more I move on, the clearer it is to me that one's experience is largely mind-made. Wherever you are, your mind projects itself onto the world and that is fundamentally what you experience. Still, if I was in a war zone, I would move...

Went to a zen group last week which was fun. Lots of meditation and a drink of tea. (Jasmine tea, not proper tea. I like jasmine tea but when someone tells me there’s going to be tea after the sit I’m expecting tea, you know? Anyway, moving on...)

A very cool independent record store (there are so few of them left) has agreed to stock my album. So if you’re in Canada and you want a copy, buy one from me! But if you’d rather get one from a record shop, go to Recat Records.

Got a nice email, as I do from time to time, from someone who had read one of my articles and is living off grid. It’s great to hear other people’s stories. One guy sent me an email explaining how to make felt (for yurt lining) out of local sheeps wool. Actually the area where I live in Spain is mostly goats, and I have vegan leanings (though not the strength of will for 100% compliance), so I shall stick with using blankets, but nice to hear anyway. Another guy got in touch who was living in one of those funky yellow American school buses. There are many interesting people in the world, tucked away among the trees, up mountains, and in the remote places of the world.

I am very behind on emails but do enjoy hearing from people and do get back eventually, so feel free to drop me a line and share your story.

The other interesting news is I have decided to include a book with the next album. It will be about my time on the mountain, where most of the songs were written. Working title for the album is ‘Wild’, though I do tend to change my mind on these things. I originally thought of ‘Wild ‘Un; Or, Life in the Yurt’ might be good, but I have a tendency to turn everything into a joke and ruin the vibe, so, probably will just leave that as a private chuckle between us.

Hasta luego


PS The pics were ones I took yesterday of and on Bowen Island. Nice huh.

No comments: