An Upside-Down World: Modern Construction vs. Natural Building

I subscribe to a web site and their newsletter (The Year of Mud: Cob & Natural Building) and they just posted that their cob house was featured in Yes! Magazine. He also says in his newsletter:

“Apparently, cob is a ‘wacky’ material, even though half of the world’s population live or work in earthen structures – ha! Well, anyway, Forbes has deemed cob “wacky” enough to include in their latest article, Homes Made From Wacky Materials. They’ve got my house in the mix.

By the way Brian Liliola’s house is pictured 7 of 19 in the gallery of pictures. Their house is lumped into the group of people who are making homes from garbage dumpsters. I’m not knocking people making homes out of dumpsters, but you have to admit, that’s a little bizarre. Points to them, however, for recycling materials!! My point, though is cob houses have been a part of traditional construction methods since the Medieval times!! As I’m reading this article, I’m shaking my head and a little part of me gets irate, so I’m going to get on my soap box.


This Forbes magazine article describes that such “wacky” construction is the stuff of fairy tales and children’s stories (I kid you not). Personally, I classify their published attitude as propaganda and brainwashing. Why? Because they take a sustainable way of building a home (cob or earthen housing…even recycling material), which requires little skill and little money, and make it sound asinine and absurd. The attitude of the article fosters people to look down their noses at such methods which could be helping us evolve from our economic and energy crises and get back on our feet as a nation. Because modern construction demands tons of resources and expertise, building codes and, in the end, greasing of palms. I’m not saying people in construction are crooks. Read on.

I think construction companies need to switch their modes of operation and learn to build with earth. Labor is still needed to make a home. You still need windows and doors and plumbing and electricity, etc., so they can still make a profit from what they do. Ah, so now we get to the real issue…homeowners won’t be needing loans! The Yes! Mag article stated that Brian “Ziggy” Liliola only spent $3,000 on his house. Most people can save that kind of money in a relatively short period of time and thereby own a completely debt-free home. Who, then, are the people that benefit from residential construction projects? The home owner and the small businesses who do the construction…as it should be. Local electricians, plumbers and construction companies will be getting the business and leaving the loan officers out of the loop.

The banks benefit from the housing industry by funding and encouraging the high-cost of making homes. Have you ever done the math on figuring out how much money a bank makes over the life of a home loan? What would happen to the banks if no one needed to get a loan to build their house? Where would the banks be if people finally took the attitude of buying things for cash instead of credit? All those high-interest rates wouldn’t make a wit of difference to us because owning a home would be affordable. We, then, would not need credit cards and we could be spending our hard-earned money to buy the other necessities in life with cash OR paying our car loans off in half the time OR owning our vehicles outright. Banks don’t make any money on our money sitting in their vaults. They make their money off of loaning OUR money out to other people for a fee.

I realize I’m simplifying a larger issue that has many, many other facets and elements involved and it isn’t this cut-and-dry…but I personally think it’s a large portion of the problem. The banking industry got us into this economic mess. Wall Street got us into this mess. We bailed them out as a nation by giving them billions of our tax dollars…and they’re still folding and going under and trying to get people to sign contracts for credit cards…these so-called professionals at managing money. People have lost their homes and their jobs and have nowhere to go and the general propaganda of articles like this Forbes post have most of America believing that corporate-constructed homes are the only way to get a roof over your head when they could actually be building a home from the ground on which they stand.

If anyone is looking for an idea to start-up a company, maybe looking into natural house building could be the answer. I’m just sayin’.


8 thoughts on “An Upside-Down World: Modern Construction vs. Natural Building

    • Wow! I am honored you would come and visit my blog!! *Blushes over meeting such a famous person and an inspiration to cob building* It’s your post that inspired my post, so we’re definitely on the same page. 😀

  1. Great stuff Arial. Any article mentioning the banking industry and building homes with mud works for me. As for “My point, though is cob houses have been a part of traditional construction methods since the Medieval times!!”, you’re so bloody right.

    Something I often pick people up on here in the US (I’m from England originally; I used to live in a Medieval house made from mud, cow poo, straw and timber reclaimed from old battleships… then I was a neighbor of Ziggy’s at Dancing Rabbit) is when they say “no-one does that any more” or suchlike. And I say with a cheeky grin: “Where?” You mean in the US? And they typically respond “Um yes, I guess. I guess people still do that elsewhere, huh.”

    Yes, pretty much everything. Pretty much every technology that’s ever been used is still in use somewhere, I reckon.

    For more on this see:

    • Hey, Toby!!

      Sorry it took me so long to reply. Been a little busy here. It’s so wonderful to hear all this. Yes, we Americans tend to a little isolated here in our part of the world. One of the many reasons why I stress for people to go backpacking/touring through Europe while they’re young and before they’re anchored with family and responsibilities. Talk about busting your view of the world wide open! I believe that once a person has been to other countries, experiencing these outside communities that aren’t raised on commercials and video games, you learn a greater appreciation for what the world has to offer.

      LOVE that article you shared! So true! So very true! And it’s a conversation my husband and I have all the time…about ideas just floating out there, waiting for brains to receive them and put them to use. As I always agree with, “There’s no such thing as an original idea.” And we are all learning machines, building on what we know.

      Thanks for stopping by!
      Arial 😉

    • I know, right??? It would transform our world today and get our economy back on track if we all did more of this. Imagine, not being a slave to the banks. What amazes me is that in spite of the crash of the economy and the problems with all the banks, our mail is FLOODED with advertisements for more credit cards and refinancing. Un. Be. LIEVE. able!

      Thanks for dropping by and commenting! Cheers!

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