Image credit: Fugue State Films
From a $50,000 portable recycled house to a tiny green egg house for Chinese students, TreeHugger has already offered plenty of posts that prove that green living doesn't have to mean high-end LEED certified luxury. Rollo, from Knoxville, Tennessee, is another such example. On 7 acres of land he's built homes for him and his friends using recycled pallet wood, reclaimed trailers, and living tree limbs. Despite the fact, he says, that some people see him as a "hillbilly slumlord"—he's convinced we might all soon be living like him. "Once Upon a Time in Knoxville" is a documentary that was shot using recycled and second-hand filming gear during two visits to Rollo's farm—one in 2001, and another in 2007. The film was apparently made with zero budget by UK-based Fugue State Films, and has since been shown at numerous film festivals to critical acclaim. (Anyone wanting to help win the movie a broader audience can help raise finances for a proper launch via Once Upon a Time in Knoxville's fund raising site at IndieGogo.)
Rollo, who claims to have invented a new genre of architecture he calls "Appalachian Gothic", is definitely not what you would call a mainstream advocate for sustainable living. In fact, in my experience when you present stories about folks like Rollo, some environmentalists react negatively—arguing that it plays into the stereotype of the green movement as being "anti-progress" or regressive.
I must admit I disagree. Whether or not Rollo and his friends are right in arguing that a lower-tech, lower consumption lifestyle is inevitable, I think these DIY pioneers teach us a lot about resilience, resource use and adaptability. Not to mention personal freedom and the right to choose your own lifestyle.
More on DIY Homes and Low-Tech Green Living
Chinese Student Lives in Tiny Green Egg House
$50,000 portable recycled house">A $50,000 Portable Recycled Home
Tiny Homes: The Next Little Thing
Touring an Infamous Roundhouse: The Journey Visits a Once Illegal Dwelling (Video)