The Weekend Australian - Review - - Tv -


( M)


Hop­scotch ( 86 min­utes) $ 29.95 AT the beginning of this re­mark­able film about mav­er­ick ar­chi­tect Michael Reynolds, who has spent 35 years in the desert of New Mex­ico tin­ker­ing with rad­i­cally sus­tain­able hous­ing, he says: If hu­man­ity takes the planet down the tubes, I’m dead. I’m just try­ing to save my ass.’’ Of course he’s talk­ing about the en­vi­ron­ment. But his blue­prints for houses that cre­ate their own wa­ter, heat them­selves, and grow their own food could be more than just a rad­i­cal gree­nie’s so­lu­tion to the big bad in­dus­trial world. If the global econ­omy keeps up its dy­ing swan act we may need so­lu­tions such as those pro­posed by Reynolds far sooner even than he imag­ined. Far re­moved from the up­tight, sanc­ti­mo­nious en­vi­ron­men­tal war­riors we all have shoved down our throats at their ev­ery op­por­tu­nity, Reynolds is kind of lov­able, in the way hip­pies who move to the bush to grow their own food of­ten are. But Reynolds is no half-ed­u­cated, Leary-es­que drop-out. Highly qual­i­fied, he came to the con­clu­sion early that most mod­ern ar­chi­tec­ture had lit­tle to do with the en­vi­ron­ment and even less to do with the real needs of peo­ple. Show­ing us around his lat­est self-built house, he says: We’re sit­ting on 6000 gal­lons [ 27,000 litres] of wa­ter, food grow­ing, sewage in­ter­nalised, 21 de­grees, year round. A fam­ily of four could to­tally sur­vive here without even go­ing to the store.’’ Per­haps the most use­ful DVD you’ll see as our un­cer­tain fu­ture looms.

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