First Earth: Uncompromising Ecological Architecture Video

first earthFirst Earth is a documentary about the movement towards a massive paradigm shift for shelter -- building healthy houses in the old ways, out of the very earth itself, and living together like in the old days, by recreating villages. It is a sprawling film, shot on location from the West Coast to West Africa.

An audiovisual manifesto filmed over the course of 4 years and 4 continents, FIRST EARTH makes the case that earthen homes are the healthiest housing in the world; and that since it still takes a village to raise a healthy child, it is incumbent upon us to transform our suburban sprawl into eco-villages, a new North American dream.

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How to Get Rid of Mold in Your Basement or Crawlspace

SANY0020-1You'll know it when you smell it: that damp, musty smell that reminds you of a medieval dungeon, and an earthy scent much like the dirt, deep in the forest, underneath a layer of rotting leaves.

You'll probably recognize it: colonies of invading fungi, growing in ever-spreading clusters of white, black, brown, or even gray, yellow or green. When mold rears its ugly, smelly head in your basement, it's only a matter of time before it spreads and claims the rest of your home for its own.

Don't let it. Get rid of the mold – and take steps to make sure it stays away.

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Earth lodge

earth_lodge_11An earth lodge is a semi-subterranean shelter/dwelling covered partially or completely with earth, best known from the Native American cultures of the Great Plains and Eastern Woodlands. Most earth lodges are circular in construction with a dome-like roof, often with a central or slightly offset smoke hole at the apex of the dome.

Earth lodges are well-known from the more sedentary tribes of the Plains, such as the Hidatsa, Mandan, and Arikara, but they have also been identified archaeologically among sites of the Mississippian culture in the Eastern United States.

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Hank's Earth Lodge

earthlodge-sectionDuring the excavations, we spent a lot of time pondering the question, "How was Hank''s house built?" We were able to figure out some things while we were digging, like the pattern of the posts along the walls, but other facts remained elusive until long after the excavation was over. It was not until the analysis phase that many of the important details, such as what types of trees and grass used in construction, became known. When all of the archeological data are considered together, we can reconstruct the story of how Hank''s house was built with a fair degree of accuracy. While we cannot be sure of the exact sequence of events, the overall picture of what had to be done to build such a house is clear.

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Old Tires in your New Garden

freshpotatoesThere are mountains of old tires out there. Americans keep on rolling and tires keep on wearing out. Every year there is almost one scrap tire created for every man, woman, and child in the United States. In 2001 alone, Americans discarded nearly 281 million tires, weighing some 5.7 million tons. All of those old treads can provide a lot of good growing space, and we're just the folks to put them to use.

There is no appreciable risk in using recycled tires in the vegetable garden. While it is a fact that rubber tires do contain minute amounts of certain heavy metals, the compounds are tightly bonded within the actual rubber compound and do not leach into the soil. One of the ingredients in the rubber recipe is zinc. Zinc, in fact, is an essential plant element.

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