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Community Action at Earthship Building Workshops

People are ditching mortgages and finding community through earthship building

The past few years have seen a dramatic increase in accessible earthship building and sustainable lifestyle workshops across Australia and Internationally. The basic message for participants is empowerment through action and networking which provides the opportunity for communities and individuals to develop skills and community support for building and other types of projects that rely upon voluntary labour — similar to the successful permablitz movement which has taken off across Australia.

Similar to permablitzes, but less structured, are earthship building workshops which have begun to spread across every state in the past few years with a continuing stream of graduates returning to Australia and starting to develop a program of earthship and other alternative building projects which encourage not only a broader acceptance of natural building designs as clever homes in a carbon-strained future, but most importantly, growing community through learning and doing collectively and having people come and participate in building structures on your land so one day you can then go and help them with theirs. As the workshops continue to flourish and are very well attended (each workshop I’ve been a part of has had many more applicants than positions available), the spider-web of networks grows larger and larger and the opportunities for participation and help needed grows in our community such that by just coming along to one workshop will enable someone to get tapped into a growing movement that has started to carry its own steam and generate energy as it spreads and grows across the country.

From our experience, there are no barriers to participation in earthship building, even with the dreaded ‘tyre pounding’ component of builds there have been ample willing hands to do much of the grunt work, though I have watched women of all sizes and ages giving their energy to tyre pounding within their abilities. I like to marvel at the amazing combination of people who have chosen to give up their time to come and help us learn through building, from mechanics to nurses, masseurs and life coaches, IT professionals and students, all coming with an open mind and spirit to learn a new form of building and ultimately way of living. Often the workshops include a range of non-building related workshops incorporated into the daily schedule, with fermenting, weaving, didgeridoo and spontaneous choirs all forming an essential part of people coming and participating with what they have to give and to share.

We have found natural and alternative building workshops are simply a new and inspiring platform for finding community, with people attending coming from the edge of their communities and knowing that there’s something more that they’d like to experience or to add to their lives. If it’s something you’ve been thinking of trying I would recommend taking the time out of your busy schedule, or job, and making the effort to go and try it out. You won’t regret it.

For information on earthship building see

There is a workshop coming up in Adelaide from the 12th-27th of April, 2014, of which you can attend all or part of it depending on your schedule. This project is highly significant as it is the first fully permitted Earthship structure to be built in Australia and will become a B&B for people wishing to come and experience what living in an Earthship would look and feel like.

For cob workshops and opportunities coming up see

For Regenerative Biotecture courses combining building with living and land management see, and for Victorians an exciting program of alternative skills has started this year every month to learn a range of skills across building, eating, making and health. See and jump in!


  1. I have to second Olivers concern.
    I wish you’d known enough about ‘Natural Building’ to not illustrate the article with examples of building including so much non-natural building materials.

    I’ve been on the board of Natural Building Network, I’ve run a training center for Natural Building for 10 years (+ have a degree in Environmental Management)… and you’re really stepping into quicksand with those examples…
    The biggest problem is that the article indirectly aids in ‘branding’ the approach and materials to something which it’s not. And effectively undermining what a bunch of committed good folks have worked a lot on trying to bring clarity about…

    Please, can’t you use natural examples instead?

  2. there is nothing NATURAL about this workshop.
    you guys need to truly get with the program.
    please redefine your workshop.
    thank you!!

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