An Earthship is a type of passive solar house that is made of both natural and upcycled materials such as earth-packed tires, pioneered by architect Michael Reynolds.

An Earthship addresses six principles or human needs[1]:

  1. Thermal/solar heating and cooling
  2. solar and wind electricity
  3. self-contained sewage treatment
  4. building with natural and recycled materials
  5. water harvesting and long term storage
  6. some internal food production capability

Earthship structures are intended to be “off-the-grid-ready” homes, with minimal reliance on public utilities and fossil fuels. They are constructed to use available natural resources, especially energy from the sun and rain water.

  • They are designed with thermal mass construction and natural cross-ventilation to regulate indoor temperature.
  • The designs are intentionally uncomplicated and mainly single-story, so that people with little building knowledge can construct them

 

The Hidden Life of Trees What They Feel, How They Communicate: Discoveries From A Secret World by Peter Wohlleben (Black Inc.) has sold 450,000 copies around the world. Wohlleben, a forester in Germany, tells stories of how trees nurture and talk to each other and he backs up his years of observations with results from recent scientific studies.

He writes how trees are like human families and communities with tree parents living together with their children with whom they communicate, support, share nutrients and warn each other of impending dangers.

In the forward to the book Tim Flannery comments: “We read in fairy tales of trees with human faces; trees that can talk, and sometimes walk. This enchanted forest is the kind of world, I feel sure, that Peter Wohlleben inhabits. His deep understanding of the lives of trees, reached through decades of careful observation and study, reveal a world so astonishing that, if you read his book, I believe that forests will become magical places for you, too.”

Read an extract of The Hidden Life of Trees below.

TREE SCHOOL

Thirst is harder for trees to endure than hunger, because they can satisfy their hunger whenever they want. Like a baker who always has enough bread, a tree can satisfy a rumbling stomach right away using photosynthesis. But even the best baker cannot bake without water, and the same goes for a tree: without moisture, food production stops.

A mature beech tree can send more than 130 gallons of water a day coursing through its branches and leaves, and this is what it does as long as it can draw enough water up from below. However, the moisture in the soil would soon run out if the tree were to do that every day in summer. In the warmer seasons, it doesn’t rain nearly enough to replenish water levels in the desiccated soil. Therefore, the tree stockpiles water in winter.

In winter, there’s more than enough rain, and the tree is not consuming water, because almost all plants take a break from growing at that time of year. Together with belowground accumulation of spring showers, the stockpiled water usually lasts until the onset of summer. But in many years, water then gets scarce. After a couple of weeks of high temperatures and no rain, forests usually begin to suffer. The most severely affected trees are those that grow in soils where moisture is usually particularly abundant. These trees don’t know the meaning of restraint and are lavish in their water use, and it is usually the largest and most vigorous trees that pay the price for this behavior.

In the forest I manage, the stricken trees are usually spruce, which burst not at every seam but certainly along their trunks. If the ground has dried out and the needles high up in the crown are still demanding water, at some point, the tension in the drying wood simply becomes too much for the tree to bear. It crackles and pops, and a tear about 3 feet long opens in its bark. This tear penetrates deep into the tissue and severely injures the tree. Fungal spores immediately take advantage of the tear to invade the innermost parts of the tree, where they begin their destructive work. In the years to come, the spruce will try to repair the wound, but the tear keeps reopening. From some distance away, you can see a black channel streaked with pitch that bears witness to this painful process.

 

Read the full PDF or Go to DailyReview for a preview

 

The word Walipini, derived from the Aymaran language and an indigenous Bolivian tribe, is translated as “a place of warmth” and is an earth sheltered cold frame or transparent-roofed enclosure.

roots of walipini

This underground greenhouse was created for the cold regions of South America to maintain food production year round, but is now being adopted by gardeners of all skill levels across the world. Most say that Walipinis should be at least 8’ by 12’ in size, but many people build even larger. Searching online you can find all types of plans and blueprints on how to design your underground greenhouse.

earth shelter Walipini

The temperature six to eight feet below the surface fluctuates from 50 up to 70 degrees Fahrenheit! If you are in an especially cold climate you would want to lay the inside of your walipini with stone, earth bags of lava rocks, or any dense material able to store heat. A lot of heat energy is required to change the temperature of high density materials like concrete, bricks and tiles, they are therefore said to have high thermal mass causing the walls act as a battery and release heat to keep the crops warm at night or on days with little to no sun.

wal

Reasons to Build a Walipini:

Cost effective: The materials to build a greenhouse are estimated to cost between a couple thousand dollars up to $12,000 to $25,000 to complete, yet the walipini will cost merely $300 with some designs.

Pests: An underground greenhouse has a huge advantage because it is almost impossible for pests to get on your produce compared to your typical greenhouse.  A typical greenhouse will protect plants from the cold and strong winds but it doesn’t protect them from damaging insects.

Minimal up keep: Seeing as the walipini is sheltered by the earth the materials will not wear as quickly. On a typical greenhouse maintenance is done pretty regularly and at least once annually, on a walipini only an angled roof is exposed to the elements which makes it much less necessary for routine maintenance.

Although walipinis require minimal effort to maintain, it is important to be thorough with waterproofing, draining and ventilating your underground greenhouse sanctuary. Be knowledgeable about the water table and be sure to build your greenhouse at least five feet above it otherwise it could lead to disaster. But if you keep all of this in mind, there should be nothing stopping you from growing luscious greens, fruits, and veggies year round no matter the temperature!

Check out this video to learn more:

 

The Women and Entheogens Conference is the brainchild of psychonaught Kai Wingo. Continuing Kai’s legacy we will continue with her vision in 2017 and beyond. The Conference will push the envelope into new and novel ideas. This year’s theme will be Psychedelics in Birth and Pregnancy from Conception through Life. We will explore the concept of utilizing entheogens for fertility, pregnancy and breastfeeding. Come be part of the new paradigm and continue our beloved Kai’s work with Women and Entheogens.  Also learn more info at Detroitpsychedelics.com

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