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Non-Profit Hoping To Bring 'Earthship' To Philadelphia

By Kim Glovas

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - A new non-profit in Philadelphia, with an eye on reducing the city's carbon footprint, is hoping an event in February will help spread the word and maybe reduce some eyesores in the urban landscape.

If you say "Earthship" to someone the idea conjured up is of spaceships or something other worldly. But Rashida Ali-Campbell, with Earthship Philadelphia, says it is really a home made of found materials including tires, plastic bottles and flattened aluminum cans. The tires, packed with dirt, acts as the building's foundation.

Ali-Campbell says she first realized how much Earthships were needed in Philadelphia after watching the documentary "Garbage Warrior." It is about Michael Reynolds, the man who invented the Earthship 40 years ago. Reynolds came up with the idea for three reasons: shelter, sanitation and clean water. Ali-Campbell says trashed vacant lots, filled with tires, are a prime spot.

"Right now, we're looking for one vacant lot to build on. We have an engineer that is stamping up plans as we speak," Ali-Campbell said. "If we could have just one of these vacant lots we could transform this city."

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She says building one locally would help set an example for sustainable living, especially for a low-income neighborhood.

"We have the plans for a two-bedroom demonstration home. The home would serve as a school and it will be called the "Earthship Academy." It would be a school where people could learn how to build the house," Ali-Campbell explains.

Reynolds will be in Philadelphia on April 17th for a three-day event at the Friends Meeting House at 4th and Arch Streets.

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