Home Documentaries Garbage Warrior

Garbage Warrior

E-mail Print PDF

About Garbage Warrior

Garbage WarriorWhat do beer cans, car tires and water bottles have in common? Not much unless you’re renegade architect Michael Reynolds, in which case they are tools of choice for producing thermal mass and energy-independent housing. For 30 years New Mexico-based Reynolds and his green disciples have devoted their time to advancing the art of “Earthship Biotecture” by building self-sufficient, off-the-grid communities where design and function converge in eco-harmony. However, these experimental structures that defy state standards create conflict between Reynolds and the authorities, who are backed by big business. Frustrated by antiquated legislation, Reynolds lobbies for the right to create a sustainable living test site. While politicians hum and ha, Mother Nature strikes, leaving communities devastated by tsunamis and hurricanes. Reynolds and his crew seize the opportunity to lend their pioneering skills to those who need it most. Shot over three years and in four countries, Garbage Warrior is a timely portrait of a determined visionary, a hero of the 21st century.

Earthship n. 1. passive solar home made of natural and recycled materials 2. thermal mass construction for temperature stabilization. 3. renewable energy & integrated water systems make the Earthship an off-grid home with little to no utility bills.

Biotecture n. 1. the profession of designing buildings and environments with consideration for their sustainability. 2. A combination of biology and architecture.


The inspiration behind GARBAGE WARRIOR

After leaving school I trained as a product designer at Central St Martins School Of Art in London. For the next 12 years I worked in the feature film industry as a prop and model designer, and then moved on to head the department. This involved much creative work designing, drafting and building one-off props and model sets for films such as Star Wars, James Bond, Tombraider, and Judge Dredd. As head of department, I drafted in crews of up to 50 skilled artists and makers to satisfy the ongoing demands of directors such as Tim Burton and George Lucas. For me the glamour of working on such movies was always countered with the impossible task of being able to safely dispose of the films’ toxic waste after wrap, or an unsettling guilt from chartering huge cargo planes to deliver hundreds of tonnes of sets and props to locations such as the middle of the Tunisian desert. I became increasingly aware of the negative impact that the high budget feature film industry had on the environment, and I wanted to find an area of film-making that was ultimately more productive.  

Earthship Earthship

My concerns for the environment had been triggered during my first years in London back in 1990, during my second year at college, after reading a ten-page article in the Independent magazine which highlighted burgeoning man-made environmental crisis around the globe.

I was then inspired to write my college thesis on people’s changing states of consciousness before and during the industrial revolution. During this time I was inspired by Fritjof Capra’s book ‘The Turning Point’, and Carl Jung’s study of Alchemy.

I met Mike Reynolds in May 2003, when he and his crew arrived in the UK on a two-week visit to build a prototype Earthship house in my home town, Brighton. I was inspired by Mike’s apocalyptic view of the future, and by the urgent means by which he and his crew were preparing for it.



Choose Language