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Self Sustainability in Ecuador  RSS feed

 
                                
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Hey guys, could someone please advice me the best way to get around what I am trying to achieve. Me and my friend are thinking of moving to Ecuador and build ourselves an Earthship. An Earthship that we are planning to build is aimed at being next to a running water stream, so we have constant water supply at all times. We are ready to invest both our time and expenses to make this into reality but we need major guidance for you guys to help us achieve this enormous task.

I will be travelling to Ecuador in next 2 - 3 weeks and will surely be looking for such places with water streams and other essentials. My friend is currently in US learning about Permaculture and Organic Vegetarian farming because we are both Raw Vegans and only depend on plant based diet.

The water stream is essential because it will be our natural source of water that would be both good for us and the plants that we plan to grow near our Earthship.

Our main aim through this is to build a house all by our bare hands and help the local communities learn about self sustainability. The global aim is to travel to as many third world countries as possible and help people make sustainable houses for themselves and their family hence building a global community.

I graduated from Lancaster University, UK with a first in Physics and I have no plans to use my degree in day to day rat race. I have never been this inspired before in my life and if I don't do this then vicious cycles of compulsive bad lifestyle stand before me.

Look forward to hearing from someone with a like minded mentality.

Thank you,
Abz
 
paul wheaton
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bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
 
                        
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First thought is: when you go there, look at the houses that the locals live in.  You could learn a lot from them (beyond housing)- they have customs that have evolved over the past fifteen thousand years of living in that region. 

I am sure with your degree in physics and the help you are bound to find on the internet you will be able to build a beautiful place to live in.
 
ronie dee
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Location: NW MO
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Some countries won't allow foreign people to own land in their countries. So might be a thought to peace corps in the country for a while or visit and learn if it is something you want in real time, b4 giving up yer current citizenship.
 
Kirk Mobert
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Location: Point Arena, Ca
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My first thought is, "why the Earthship"??
I used to be all fired about the idea, then a friend of the family, who is a world class chemist informed me that the tires off-gas toxins. I argued with him, saying that if they were protected from the sun, they wouldn't off-gas. So he took a scrap of old tire, stuck it in a sealed fish tank and checked it. Yep, it off gassed and no matter what he did to cover it, he got toxic conditions.. Also, if you've EVER pounded earth into tires all day, you'll NEVER want to do it again!

Don't get me wrong, I think that Earthship systems design is brilliant! It's just the tires that fail.
Have you thought of using cob instead?? Earthship systems, living interiors, water catchment and ALL the other parts are totally desirable and completely doable in cob.. You can't earth-berm cob, but the stuff us essentially that already.

??
 
                                
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Thanks guys, I am glad for your positive and educational advice, but I think in terms of tires off gassing it is highly unlikely that I am going to worry about that because there is another study that proved that tires stop off gassing after being used for over 25000 miles. So people who have been living in these houses for years have never suffered from any illness that links it to toxins released from off gassing (http://www.earthship.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=21&Itemid=43). Using bog was my other way of building a house but I am less likely to achieve what I want if I try making house out of just bog, it seems more difficult in terms of planning and getting the right shape.

I am a Raw Vegan so stream water from fells in Britain has always been my main source of pure water so I am going to be very careful about that when I look for a place to build an Earthship. Although thanks for the heads up it's one thing that I am slightly more concerned about.

Knowing that the community in Ecuador knows way more than me in terms of Self Sustainability I am sure that with there help this project will lack soul. So yes I am surely going to keep that in mind.

I think if me and my friend invest money in their government then surely we can find a way to get a go ahead with all the technicalities involved with that aspects of the project.

Keep it coming guys I can surely use some more help. Cheers
 
Neal McSpadden
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I'm curious as to why you would be so dependent on the stream. Don't earthship designs include rain catchment into a large cistern? Or are you in the high mountains where there isn't much rain?

Also, unless you get lots of help, building an earthship will take quite a while.
 
                                
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tamo42 wrote:
I'm curious as to why you would be so dependent on the stream. Don't earthship designs include rain catchment into a large cistern? Or are you in the high mountains where there isn't much rain?

Also, unless you get lots of help, building an earthship will take quite a while.


I am currently trying to build a network of couchsurfers in Ecuador who more than willing to help me build the Earthship. But wont know about it till I get there obviously.

The reason we need it next to the stream is because we are planning to have an organic vegetarian farm (We both are Raw Vegans) both outside and inside the Earthship so that we can grow our food also grow enough for the local market too.

Having little experience in Permaculture I believe having a good water supply would help us grow variety of tropical fruits and veg, not sure how right I am. But this is where you guys can help me massively as I have very little idea as how to design and plan the organic farm with respect to the both house and the water stream?

Please keep the updates coming I really enjoying this thread now.
 
                        
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I do think you are right about getting a property with a spring on it.  It will only help (unless you find yourself in an area that is regularly flooded, which I assume you are going to try to avoid ).  Have you heard of helpx.net ?  This could be another source for you to find temporary help with your project- you could put up a posting that says "Hi, for two weeks during "x" time period we would love to have 5-10 people out here pounding tires and eating great raw food in Ecuador, thank you!"  I imagine there would be travellers contacting you.
 
                                
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kazron wrote:
I do think you are right about getting a property with a spring on it.  It will only help (unless you find yourself in an area that is regularly flooded, which I assume you are going to try to avoid ).  Have you heard of helpx.net ?  This could be another source for you to find temporary help with your project- you could put up a posting that says "Hi, for two weeks during "x" time period we would love to have 5-10 people out here pounding tires and eating great raw food in Ecuador, thank you!"  I imagine there would be travellers contacting you.


Kazron I am so delighted to hear such an amazing response thanks. Will have a look at the website now. Cheers
 
                        
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I can say also that many people are into the idea of damming up streams/springs to create ponds.  This gives you yet another micro-environment to play with in designing your lifestyle (water storage, micro-hydro electric, aquaculture, tilapia, water-hungry horticulture).  My father just had a pond re-dammed on his property in KY (he is fixated on raising beef so there is a pipe through the dam to what will be a float-valved "stock tank" for the cattle to access.  In the pond hopefully will be bluegill, channel catfish, and bass, as well as water lillies.  I had hoped to put in bamboo but as I'm not certain I will live here he does not want the responsibility of introducing bamboo (you have to install it in containers or be committed to cutting the roots short each year unless you are willing to let it expand continually).  The rest will come on their own for the stopped up water- deer, fowl, amphibians, reptile.  Of course, you're no omnivore so maybe these things are not as interesting to you.  Someone on here references a guy named sepp holzer regularly who is quite the practitioner of a kind of aquaculture.  I'm no expert- that's just another name I can drop that maybe you'd be interested in.  I think you've a good idea by heading to that area for numerous reasons, water abundance being right up there in importance.

Good luck!
 
                                
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Thanks again Kazron, we were actually thinking of damming the stream but we rather thought to channel the water into a small pond and make a natural swimming pool (http://www.pond-doctor-dave.com/swimming-ponds.html). But there are loads of things a stream could be useful for. But I am not sure where abouts would I get a clean source of water as I ave heard that some places the streams are contaminated.

Has anyone ever been to Ecuador? If yes then please let us know where can we find this desired space. Cheers
 
Gary Stuart
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Location: Wakefield, Quebec, zone 3b/4a CAN
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You may want to contact the folks at Black Sheep Inn. Their website is pretty damn good too.

I wish I had been interested in sustainability when I travelled through Ecuador a few years ago because I would certainly have paid them a visit.
 
Rita Vail
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Location: Northwest
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I imagine you know about Raw Food World. Are you going to their gathering next month? Check out their newsletters and TV show. Angela and Matt Monarch are in Ecuador. It is legal to buy land there and not so hard to get a residency visa. I would caution you to engage with local people and think through the consequences of everything for your neighbors. If you dam a stream, who is going to have less water downstream?

In the mountains the streams can get very violent, so pay attention to the high water marks and move even higher still, since that country is getting a lot of ex-pats, and therefore development and therefore some deforestation because of clearing for building and farming and  firewood. Locals are mostly farmers, too. There is more runoff all the time, and faster. They have a rainy season and a dry season. Like most places.

Also think about the volcanoes and earthquakes. One whole town in Columbia got swallowed up in a few weeks time, little by little. Amazing.  It was on a steep hillside. Study geology. Also Spanish.

It seems to me that Ecuador is like Mendocino County in the 70s. I might even end up there myself to stretch the social security check and dodge the pollution. However, the politics will likely change. One biodynamic farmer mentions getting robbed at gunpoint, so security is always a consideration. They may think of it as redistribution of wealth. Often there is resentment when change happens so fast and they can't buy affordable land themselves because the yuppies are gobbling it up. I also feel that it is not right to flee the mess up here and go somewhere else pristine and thereby make it less pristine.

Just some food for thought.
 
                                
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RitaSparrow wrote:
I imagine you know about Raw Food World. Are you going to their gathering next month? Check out their newsletters and TV show. Angela and Matt Monarch are in Ecuador. It is legal to buy land there and not so hard to get a residency visa. I would caution you to engage with local people and think through the consequences of everything for your neighbors. If you dam a stream, who is going to have less water downstream?

In the mountains the streams can get very violent, so pay attention to the high water marks and move even higher still, since that country is getting a lot of ex-pats, and therefore development and therefore some deforestation because of clearing for building and farming and  firewood. Locals are mostly farmers, too. There is more runoff all the time, and faster. They have a rainy season and a dry season. Like most places.

Also think about the volcanoes and earthquakes. One whole town in Columbia got swallowed up in a few weeks time, little by little. Amazing.  It was on a steep hillside. Study geology. Also Spanish.

It seems to me that Ecuador is like Mendocino County in the 70s. I might even end up there myself to stretch the social security check and dodge the pollution. However, the politics will likely change. One biodynamic farmer mentions getting robbed at gunpoint, so security is always a consideration. They may think of it as redistribution of wealth. Often there is resentment when change happens so fast and they can't buy affordable land themselves because the yuppies are gobbling it up. I also feel that it is not right to flee the mess up here and go somewhere else pristine and thereby make it less pristine.

Just some food for thought.


Thanks for your really helpful advice Rita. I have been speaking to Angela recently but both Matt and Angela are unable to provide me with any help as they only know the good and bad about Vilacabamba. They asked if I was going to there gathering in May but I don't think I am the kinda Raw Vegan that would fit it with them, they are very extreme when it comes to food. My friend is in Tree of Life Rejuvenation at the moment and he is experiencing this in a major way. I am not criticizing it's just that I am not as involved in Raw foods as there are, if you know what I mean.

I am not going to Dam the water I am planning of building this Earthship next to so that I can use the running water for electricity too. It's just a thought I am still working on the fact that is a water stream really necessary or will we be able to grow food outside in large scale?

Yes about the Volcanoes I am going to make sure I am far from them. After much thought I am thinking of building the Earthship near in Guayaquil, but would like to hear from you guys if thats a good choice or not. My mind is still open to suggestions.

By building an Earthship I think I am probably going to do a favour to the environment than ruin that beautiful country. I can't do it where I live because there are just too many hurdles to get over in this country plus I am not a citizen here in the UK

You might ask why I am not doing this in India (my home country), it's because the situation is getting much the same over there. The price of buying a piece of land India has increased and the government is getting very picky on little things (you practically get harassed if you are doing something that is not normal). Don't get me wrong I love my country but I don't like the government there.

Thanks
 
Rita Vail
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Location: Northwest
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I suggest you go to Matt and Angela's gathering anyway. Many people will be there who are not so extreme. There will be people from all over Ecuador and the world there who can give you many tips. Last year it was a small, unstructured gathering. I have seen many of their Ecuadorian friends on their crazy TV show and it is a loving, helpful bunch. Matt carries everything to extremes, which makes him entertaining to watch, but I don't try to imitate him at all. I actually eat all raw sometimes. Other times I eat more macrobiotic.  Other times I eat whatever is growing, or affordable, or served. Food is survival and enjoyment to me. It is not religion or a business.

I wish I could go. Maybe next year. It is because of the people I have seen interviewed on their show as much as the land. Both are very beautiful.

I suggest you go there, look around all over and see where you end up, because you will meet others and learn things you can't find out about without being there. The same is true of what you end up building. That depends on what materials are available and the cost. Look for blogs of people there.
 
                                
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RitaSparrow wrote:
I suggest you go to Matt and Angela's gathering anyway. Many people will be there who are not so extreme. There will be people from all over Ecuador and the world there who can give you many tips. Last year it was a small, unstructured gathering. I have seen many of their Ecuadorian friends on their crazy TV show and it is a loving, helpful bunch. Matt carries everything to extremes, which makes him entertaining to watch, but I don't try to imitate him at all. I actually eat all raw sometimes. Other times I eat more macrobiotic.  Other times I eat whatever is growing, or affordable, or served. Food is survival and enjoyment to me. It is not religion or a business.

I wish I could go. Maybe next year. It is because of the people I have seen interviewed on their show as much as the land. Both are very beautiful.

I suggest you go there, look around all over and see where you end up, because you will meet others and learn things you can't find out about without being there. The same is true of what you end up building. That depends on what materials are available and the cost. Look for blogs of people there.


Thanks Rita if I have everything organised by then, I will surely go and visit them. Thanks for your lovely advice. Cheers
 
Rita Vail
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Location: Northwest
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FatGuySlim
I am giving you my list here to enjoy. Have fun dreaming:

sacredsuenos.wordpress.com  - not near anything!
rawinecuador.grouply.com
3malliance.org
rumiwilco.com
biodynamics.com
neverlandfarm.org    - near Loja
organiccallas.com    - near Quito
http://riomuchacho.com ; - near the coastal rainforest
http://growbd.org
 
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