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Anarchists in Taos

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A few months ago, I did a post on off-the-grid holiday homes. All across the world affluent vacationers are flocking to up-scale cabins that boast self-sufficient energy systems. So, beyond enjoying a normal, luxury get-away, clients can claim some valuable moral clout as well. 

One of the most prominent gridless vacation hubs, you may remember, is located in Taos, New Mexico. Architect Michael Reynolds set up his Earthship Biotecture firm there over 30 years ago and has been at the forefront of the industry ever since. Made largely out of recycled trash, like tin cans and car tires, Reynold’s creations are strikingly beautiful, albeit in an unconventional way. However, they’re also functional. The houses are solar powered for the most part, boast comprehensive water capture and filter systems, and are cooled and heated through thermal dynamics. And, while many associate off-the-grid living with a spartan lifestyle, the earthships offer plenty of modern amenities, from flat-screen tvs to high-speed wi-fi. Thanks to such luxuries, the company can demand quite steep fees: Some of the airbnb's go for as much as $245 a night.

Well, the bizarre housing site is back in the news this week, appearing on roadtrippers.com. The article is much longer than any of the ones I’d read before, and it provides some interesting new insights into Earthship Biotecture. It turns out the NM location isn’t just for tourists, there’s also a whole community of permanent residents.  According to Adam Baisley, an onsite staff member, most residents fit a certain profile: ‘““The majority of people here, I’ve found, are in some way, shape, or form voluntary anarchists,” Baisley says. “Not the kind throwing Molotov cocktails—the people here are really friendly, they just don’t want to be forced to participate in systems that they see as corrupt or amoral.”’

Although it may seem odd that so many anarchists should be able to afford Biotecture homes, they’re not all so expensive. The most bear bones option goes for just $2,000! Even I’d get approved for that loan.

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