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A new solution to off-grid living is making its way towards the Florida Keys.
As his geodesic houseboat meanders south along Florida’s Intracoastal Waterway, Roger Drowne — inventor of the Earth Ball,  and self-nominated candidate for President of Earth — is promoting his platform:
End war.
Clean the planet.
Paint all government buildings rainbow colors.
Apparently unopposed in the at-large President of Earth race, the 69-year-old artist set out from Wilmington, N.C., in his quirky watercraft last November.
“I’ve solved the housing problem,” Drowne proclaimed, as he docked behind the Miami Herald building on Wednesday, eager to detail the environmental advantages of his peat moss-based composting toilet and rainwater-collection buckets.
“I want to show the younger generation that there are other ways to live . . . It’s a lifestyle choice.”
He’s headed for Key West, where he hopes to connect with people who want to build more Earth Balls: a low-cost, off-the-grid, dome-like housing option that he adapted for the water.
The Earth Ball is 12 feet in diameter, made of 32 fiberglass-coated plywood panels: 20 hexagons, 12 pentagons, some that flip up to become windows. It sits atop a raft, trails a dinghy, cost $1,000, and is properly licensed by the state of Florida.
“Very sturdy,” Drowne said, even in rainstorms. “People come up to me all the time. They don’t know what to make of it.”
Propelled by a 9.9 horsepower, four-stroke Honda outboard motor — the carbon footprint of which Drowne regrets — it features a foam-mattress bunk, a camp stove, a car battery-powered laptop, hula-hoop-and-duct-tape peace symbols, rooftop seating, lots of candles, and a modest larder of peanut butter, salsa, and sliced whole wheat.
Drowne, from Boston, worked for an MIT-affiliated electronics firm in Cambridge, Mass., and  vents his anger about how some folks choose to live.
“They’re fenced in, in their multimillion-dollar properties, with their prim-and-proper grass. They don’t grow vegetables. They don’t share their 100-room houses with homeless people. They’re sick! They’re insane!”

As his geodesic houseboat meanders south along the Intracoastal Waterway, Roger Drowne — candidate for President of Earth — is promoting his platform:
End war.
Clean the planet.
Paint all government buildings rainbow colors.
Apparently unopposed in the at-large President of Earth race, the 69-year-old artist set out from Wilmington, N.C., in his quirky watercraft last November.

“I’ve solved the housing problem,” Drowne proclaimed, as he docked behind The Miami Herald building on Wednesday, eager to detail the environmental advantages of his peat moss-based composting toilet and rainwater-collection buckets.“I want to show the younger generation that there are other ways to live . . . It’s a lifestyle choice.”He’s headed for Key West, where he hopes to connect with people who want to build more Earth Balls: a low-cost, off-the-grid, dome-like housing option that he adapted for the water.The Earth Ball is 12 feet in diameter, made of 32 fiberglass-coated plywood panels: 20 hexagons, 12 pentagons, some that flip up to become windows. It sits atop a raft, trails a dinghy, cost $1,000, and is properly licensed by the state of Florida.“Very sturdy,” Drowne said, even in rainstorms. “People come up to me all the time. They don’t know what to make of it.”Propelled by a 9.9 horsepower, four-stroke Honda outboard motor — the carbon footprint of which Drowne regrets — it features a foam-mattress bunk, a camp stove, a car battery-powered laptop, hula-hoop-and-duct-tape peace symbols, rooftop seating, lots of candles, and a modest larder of peanut butter, salsa, and sliced whole wheat.Drowne, from Boston, worked for an MIT-affiliated electronics firm in Cambridge, Mass., and  vents his anger about how some folks choose to live.
“They’re fenced in, in their multimillion-dollar properties, with their prim-and-proper grass. They don’t grow vegetables. They don’t share their 100-room houses with homeless people. They’re sick! They’re insane!”

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6 Responses to “Earth Balls”

  1. Bob Littleton

    Need to build it bigger, say llike 80 ft dia., with floors to hold storage batteries from solar panels in north end under the aircraft grade clear plexaglass. batteries stored at south end; laver of floor for food storage, living, and communications via ham radios. Call me so we can brian storm this idea.
    321-704-9991.
    email- rdl38017 at gmail.com

    Reply
  2. Jim

    I do think the idea of living in a small home does make lots of sense. I like the dome shape over the sphere. However making small inexpensive homes like these are not the solution.
    Until people stop indisriminate breeding, our problems will continue.

    Reply
  3. Len

    change the shape a bit… spend the same money… use a smaller engine, go faster, go farther on the same amount of fuel…. maybe have more room to live too. All in all, looks like a gimik to me. The idea is valid and so is the shape … for a one off if that is the shape you want, but not as a template for the homeless… in my opinion.

    Reply
  4. Rob

    I really understand his frustration, but people like this make me wonder if they have really thought this through as a societal solution. For example, he is really NOT off-grid. He needs to get inputs from somewhere. Someone has to grow the food, ship the food, cook the food. He really hasn’t come up with an ‘off-grid’ solution, what he has come up with is an idea/solution for inexpensive housing, nothing more.

    Reply
  5. john cleaver

    Very cool!!

    Reply
  6. Patrick

    Rekindles Buckminster Fuller’s work. Alas, it’s WAY too small, as evidenced by the creator’s need to put so many things (engine, chairs, etc.) outside of the structure. Also, on the sea or river, it would be best to double-wall this sucker – the slightest bump by sea creatures or rock and this “Earth Ball” becomes a Sea Ball (as in, “on the bottom of the sea”)! He’s got one thing going for him, though: It’s unsinkable, if it can remain water-tight! :-)

    Reply

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