Jon Gosch

Novelist, Journalist and Freelance Editor

Leo, Olav and Zoe – Windship Volunteers

Windship Interview Series: Part Two

Leo Bienkowski-Gibbs, 30, Victoria, Canada

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Leo Bienkowski-Gibbs | Photo by Federica Miglio

What is it you think we accomplished here?

We moved around a lot of dirt and materials. (Laughing) One of the things we did is get a lot of people stoked.

What do you think the effect has been on the volunteers?

I won’t name names but one guy said this was the most profound experience of his life. And he’s had a very rich life. It shows what people can do when they’re committed to a certain project around certain values. You can actually accomplish an amazing amount. When we showed up here it was just flat grass, and now we have something that almost looks like a castle. You could probably throw hand grenades at that thing and it would still be standing.

Why were you drawn to Earthships in the first place?

Because I want to be free. I don’t want to work forty years for a leaky house that takes monthly bills. That’s just modern slavery to me.

Olav Jenssen, 51, Norway

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Olav Jenssen | Photo by Federica Miglio

Why did you decide to come here?

I’ve been interested in Earthships for quite a long time. Ten years or something. Me and my friends in Norway are thinking about starting a sustainable community in Sweden maybe. I thought I’d come here and learn about Earthship building. I came to help out after the typhoon. I have a very good feeling. It’s a short time we’re here but I think we created some waves with this building.

For the locals and for the volunteers?

Absolutely. It creates so much consciousness about collecting the trash and making it beautiful in the building. Like the locals said yesterday, it will be like a tourist attraction.

Zoe Schepisi, 35, Melbourne, Australia

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Zoe Schepisi | Photo by Federica Miglio

Why are you here?

Because I have the time and the energy and the love to come and help. We’ve got time to give back and the people really need it. Jump in and do whatever you can.

Why are you drawn to Earthships?

Because we pull out too many resources from the ground and it all becomes landfill. Use what’s here and use what’s in nature. Let’s use what’s around us and stop expending energy.

What do you think we accomplished in the last ten days?

I think we’ve created a beautiful building, quite elaborate for the area, but a beautiful building nonetheless. We’ve created connections with the locals, and inspiration, and we’ve learned from them as much as they’ve learned from us. And made a great bunch of friends from all around the world.

When these volunteers go back to their privileged countries, what are the lessons you hope that they’ll take back and share with their friends?

To live more simply. Enjoy every day cause you never know when it’s your last. Enjoy friends and family around you. And hopefully a thing or two about living sustainably and symbiotically with the environment.

 

Be sure to catch the rest of series!

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