Saturday, September 20, 2008

Theological Musings on Today's Green Thing

Paul at Soupablog has a good posting about Very Small Houses. I've been involved in similar thinking. Most of the houses I've been researching recently have been Micro-houses.

This is from Tumbleweed Tiny House Company. The concept is simple -- literally. Simple living. Few possessions. Small footprint.

Part of the impetus for my Log Cabin is based on these principles. I want something sustainable, enduring, simple, clean and what is called now-a-days "green."

In my reading around about small, sustainable housing, I have found that people are building housing out of ISO shipping containers. They are almost indestructable and abundant. Standard shipping containers have been around since the end of WWII but they really began to be used by all the world in the 1960's. They can be used several times before they are discarded or (as is more the case today) they are discarded in destinations that have nothing to ship back. In the USA, there are around 700,000 shipping containers that are abandoned each year. That's a lot. Of course, they can be melted down for the steel or they can be used for basic storage, but they are very well suited for other purposes. There are military uses. There are commercial uses. There is a hotel in London that is being built completely out of shipping containers for the next Olympics. They are being used as student housing. And you build houses that are practically hurricane proof out of them. Here's Bob Vila in Florida.

Below is a dwelling (complete posting found here) that was 9 years in the making but cost about $15,000 to build. It is based on two ISO20 shipping containers.

We are a consumer society. We consume at such a great rate that we have problems with supply and demand, and with disposal of the resulting debris. This rampant consumption of the Earth's resources -- it cannot be what God intended. We are to be stewards of this world so that each generation can rejoice in creation and see God's handiwork, not destroyers of the world so that the next generation is consumed themselves by picking up the trash.

To take "trash" of this scale and to make habitation of it -- what a redemptive act. The fact that these containers can be outfitted before the fact and then shipped off to where they are needed -- that is beautiful. To think that we can make these into little houses that can be filled to the brim with supplies and then send them to disaster areas -- how wonderful.

Now to be frank, I probably will not be able to use shipping containers for my cabin. I'm looking at property that is off very rough dirt roads. I don't know that you can get a tractor trailer into spots like that. But the concept is so very appealing. I love the fact that you can tell in this last picture that they are indeed a shipping containers. To see to bones of the structure makes it more beautiful. To see the old scars and chips in the paint -- the patina of the container -- makes the containers somehow more attractive in my eyes.

Like seeing the scars and the chips in the paint of an old wise soul.

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