Florian Becquereau, 34, Seattle, WA, USA
What is your goal for Earthship Seattle in the next couple years?
To bring more awareness to Seattle. Just spreading the word about Earthships because 99% of the population doesn’t know anything about Earthships. They don’t know they exist. But then when people learn about it, most of them, at least nine out of ten, think that it’s really cool. That it looks great, or is good for the environment, or it’s good for them. They really like it. They’re like, ‘it makes so much sense’.
Also, the goal is to build an Earthship in Seattle. To have a demonstration Earthship that would be used as a visitor center in Seattle in a permanent place. The way I see it, the city would own it. People from the city could visit it for free and people from the outside could pay five or ten bucks to go inside and experience what it is to be inside an Earthship, learn about it, see some educational materials inside, etc.
Lastly, it would be great to see sustainable communities emerge like eco-villages that are totally sustainable.
So why are you here in the Philippines?
Because it was a disaster relief project… which sounded similar to the experience they had in India like ten years ago. I wanted to experience that because I know that there are people who live in disaster situations and I’ve never been there myself. I thought it’s probably something that you should see. If it exists, you should see it.
Why do you think this Windship model is important?
The ability for this structure to be buried in a way that would be a really organic round shape with no angles so that the wind cannot catch anything.
Why do you think Earthships are important in general?
Earthships are really important because they are a way for people to live in a house that will not burn any fossil fuels. Because it is totally off the grid. And also it gets [people’s lives] into their hands so they don’t have to work as much. They have more time for things that matter more.
It’s not good for the economy. It’s not good for the GDP, but it’s really good to make people own their own life and not consume as much. Most of the jobs in the current economy consume a lot of resources. Most jobs are just about making money and pushing more products to market, but it’s not creating anything meaningful or lasting because they always want to renew the products.
People say this is just hippy stuff. This is just weird hippies and it’s never going to catch on.
Well, hippies had it right. (Chuckling) Hippies planted seeds starting something a long time ago which created a new set of values that lasted until now. They planted seeds that are growing into some trees. I hear two things about hippies. One, is like close to nature, more quiet life, which I think is great. The other part is more like the woo-woo New Age stuff which I am less impressed with. But there’s nothing wrong with hippies.
And this perspective is not just for hippies. It’s for people who don’t want to be vulnerable to the current system anymore. Who don’t want to be tied to a job that they might not like or isn’t meaningful to them. Who don’t want to be tied to utility companies.
If for any reason we don’t have gas anymore… and the trucks can’t deliver food to the stores, after three days the stores are empty. And what do you do then? If there’s a blackout in the whole city like here in the Philippines, and you really need electricity in your house to stay alive, for instance, what do you do? With an Earthship you don’t have these issues.
What do you think we accomplished here in ten days?
We built a demonstration which is good. We built a building that during the next typhoon might help save some people, so that’s good. And even more important, I think, we showed the locals new techniques for building. And my biggest hope is that they can use at least some of these techniques. Even if they cannot do the exact same for financial reasons, they can start building housing here that will survive the upcoming typhoons so they don’t have to rebuild and they don’t have to lose everything the next time there is a big typhoon. Because I’m sure there will be more.
To get involved with Earthship Seattle look for new events at the Earthship Seattle Meetup or on their Facebook Page.
Be sure to catch the rest of series!
- Part One: Michael Reynolds, Creator of Earthship Biotecture
- Part Two: Leo, Olav and Zoe, Windship Volunteers
- Part Three: Hui-Chien and Josh, Windship Volunteers
- Part Four: Florian Becquereau, Founder of Earthship Seattle
- Part Five: John Craig, Christina and Hendry, Windship Volunteers
- Part Six: Andrea Roa Buco, Community Activist and Native of Barangay Batug
- Part Seven: Maria Marasigan, Community Organizer and Earthship Activist