Building homes out of trash
It’s 7:35 AM, Tuesday morning, and my Kesha ring-tone alarm clock encourages me to wake up “feelin’ like P. Diddy.” Just the start I need to get a good surf in before work.
But wait, the beach is closed. Again.
It was mornings like this that encouraged my CSI-like pursuit of an ocean polluting culprit. After acquiring some local water maps from my close friend Google, I was able to trace the pollutants back to the their source, the Tijuana River Valley Estuary. Here in the urbanized canyons of TJ, families are piecing together shantytowns that wash away in the rain. As a result, run-off consisting of tires, trash and human waste pollutes our watershed (Tijuana and San Diego alike).
Question: What do you do first? Treat the symptoms through beach clean-ups, or go to the source and implement long-term housing solutions in TJ?
Answer: “You do both at the same time.”
Those are the words of Steven Wright, co-founder of 4Walls International, an up-and-coming non-profit, training Tijuana families how to build self-sustaining homes out of the very trash that pollutes their own backyards. Constructed primarily out of dirt-packed tires and aluminum cans, these shelters use bio-mass to regulate indoor temperature. This means no heating or cooling costs for the family. But wait, there’s more. These homes are also designed to treat human waste, collect and filter rainwater, and produce a significant amount of food through a built-in greenhouse. Completely independent of public utilities, these miracle dwellings can be built for less than $5,000 a pop.
Steven Wright and his revolutionary non-profit is not only cleaning up our San Diego watershed, but is also providing families with a better future right across our border. They’re turning something nobody wants into something everyone needs. If 4Walls International was a guy, it would be the kind of guy you bring home to meet the parents. 4Walls International is a keeper.
To find out more or to donate to their relief efforts in TJ, click here, or follow them on facebook.