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Sustainable Communities Initiative

Sustainable Communities Initiatives is a voluntary organisation working to encourage and support sustainable living. We like to work with creative projects at a grass roots level, bringing sustainability level and turning rhetoric into a tangible living thing that brings people together.


Our projects, such as Earthship Fife and Creative Waste Workshops are platforms from which people can enjoy the value of waste as a resource, explore their own creativity and empower themselves through the process of self-build. The satisfaction on people faces at the end of a Creative Waste Workshop or a tyre-pounding session at an Earthship workshop never fails to amaze me. It works for children , mums, dads, grannies, adults with disabilities and learning problems. It misses no-one!


What is an Earthship?


An Earthship is a passive solar building with thermal mass. It is made from natural and recycled materials, including earth-rammed tyres and aluminium cans. It is powered by renewable energy, such as wind, water and solar power, catches its own water supply from rainwater, and treats and contains its own sewage in planter beds. It is a concept, not a set design, and can be adapted for any climate worldwide. It offers people the opportunity to build their own homes and make a conscious decision to live lightly on the earth.

It is the aim of Sustainable Communities Initiatives to demonstrate the Earthships performance in the Scottish climate, as well as the costs involved and the best route through planning and building control. Both the functionality and the aesthetics of the Earthship have been adapted for Scotland in projects such as Earthship Alba and Earthship Fife.

Earthship Alba links traditional Highland architecture with self-sustaining Earthship principles for the 21st century. Work is being developed to create these 21st Blackhouses with the aim to recreate rural communities in the Scottish Highlands, some of which were cleared in the historic Highland Clearances.

The beauty of the Earthship is its ability to keep its occupants warm, provide water and treat sewage in remote and service-less locations. There are many locations in the Scottish Highlands that could benefit from this autonomous design of living

Earthship Fife will be Scotland's first fully functioning Earthship, and indeed the first in the UK. The basic shell will be built in 8 days by a group of American builders and 10 trainees from Scotland. Earthship Fife is being built in partnership with a community group, will have public access, and serve as an educational and research building.

Training Programmes are a major focus of SCI, and future ones are planned in conjunction with community/self-build projects.

SCI has survived up to now on project funds for the Earthship in Fife and Creative Waste Workshops but after we build this summer we are desperately in need of funds to keep going. Our problem is mainly not enough time to research and apply for appropriate funds. We need a fundraiser to come on board on a performance–related basis, i.e raise their own fees. A knowledgeable person to point us in the right direction of potential funds would also help. Our secretary has a good track record in fundraising but never has enough time to do it.

For further information, contact:
Paula Cowie
Project Manager
Sustainable Communities Initatives
Craigencalt Farm
Kinghorn, Fife KY3 9YG
Tel: 01592 891884



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Company Registration No. 278156. Scottish Charity No. SC 029210