I’m sitting here writing this article surrounded by 35 people, here to build Australia’s first council-approved Earthship in the Adelaide Hills — a home made largely out of recycled car tyres, cans, bottles and dirt. Among these people are travellers, architects, comedians, town planners, university students, artists, musicians, business owners and a handful of builders.
Most of them have never built a thing in their life and are picking up power tools for the first time. They’ve struggled through consecutive 40°C plus days, with big winds carrying the sounds of nearby bush fire warning sirens. It’s quite the change from sitting at an air conditioned desk for a day job. They are constantly challenged and taken out of their comfort zone, but ask any one of them about their experience and they’ll tell you that community building has changed their lives.
Natural building workshops are taking off in Australia
In just the past six months alone there have been over 20 community workshops building natural homes using earthship, earthbag, strawbale, cob, light earth and bamboo methods. Not to mention numerous small-scale community projects. Typically 20-30 participants are led through the theory and practice of natural building, fed lovingly crafted organic meals and exposed to talks or demonstrations on building, permaculture, fermentation, natural health, alternative energy and much more.
People are empowered by the knowledge that they can build their own home, without the need for a mortgage, using natural or reclaimed materials and traditional building methods. They’re inspired by the knowledge of guest speakers and other participants. Everyone has something incredibly valuable to share.
But there are many other reasons community building is changing their lives.
10% of natural building workshops are about actual building
As we’ve facilitated more and more natural building workshops we’ve come to realise so much of it is not to do with the building itself.
People are connecting with nature; breathing fresh air, gazing at the stars, being drawn into the magic of campfire conversation, working with natural materials to build a home, cooling off in natural swimming holes, surrounded by trees, animals, insects and the infinite beauty of nature — realising the beauty of simple living and developing an even greater respect for their environment.
People are connecting with other people; dropping their guards, listening, empathising, learning, being inspired, laughing, crying, opening their minds and hearts to endless possibilities, becoming close family in a very short space of time, looking after each other. People are realising we are all one, subject to the same fears and anxieties that can hold us back from realising our potential and realising there is a way out of this thinking.
People are connecting with themselves; exploring who they are and what they want in life, bringing out their creativity, following their passions, becoming healthy and doing things that they believe in, realising that they can create the world that they’ve always wanted, right now.
Every workshop is potent in its power to heal people individually and connect people collectively. These workshops are vessels for changing ourselves and the world.
Harness this energy and we’ll be unstoppable
Increasingly workshops are being crafted to create spaces encouraging people to connect with nature, other people and themselves — pressure-free environments that people can be comfortable in to explore themselves, work with others and showcase their creativity and passions. Workshops are becoming more holistic to encourage people to take the leap into alternative living and getting away from reliance on an unstable system.
People in these environments thrive. They are healing, they are developing compassion and they are doing what they are passionate about. Imagine a community of people thriving as one like this. Imagine a town, a region, imagine the world.
Thriving people working together as one can completely change the world that we live in — directly through their love for what they do and indirectly through the inspiration they give other people.
Where to next?
We can all live the most amazing lives we can imagine. We just have to allow ourselves to believe it and make it happen.
Already these Earthshippers are spreading the message to friends and family, inspiring and instigating change. This is just the start of a maturing movement, sharing ideas and resources, creating openly accessible templates for what we do. This natural evolution means the movement is only going to get bigger and bigger.
Get involved in a natural building workshop near you:
- Agari Permaculture Farm (VIC) https://agarifarm.org
- Australian Hemp Masonry Company (NSW) https://www.hempmasonry.com
- Australian Rural Education Centre (NSW) https://www.arec.com.au
- CERES Community Environment Park (VIC) https://ceres.org.au
- Creative Collective (VIC) https://creativecollectives.org
- Earth Building Association of Australia (NSW) https://www.ebaa.asn.au
- Earthship Australia (VIC) https://earthshipaustralia.org.au
- The Food Forest (SA) https://www.foodforest.com.au
- Ghost Gum Permaculture Farm (QLD) https://www.ghostgumfarm.com.au
- Henderson Clayworks (VIC) https://www.facebook.com/HendersonClayworks
- Integrated Biotecture (NSW) https://www.integratedbiotecture.com
- Levity Foundation (NSW) https://www.levityfoundation.com
- Living Architecture Centre (VIC) https://www.livingarchitecturecentre.com
- Milkwood Permaculture Farm (NSW) https://milkwood.net
- OzEarth (TAS) https://www.ozearth.org
- Strawtec (NSW) https://www.strawtec.com.au/
- Terraeden Biotecture (NSW) https://terraeden.org
Please let us know if we’ve missed anyone!