Blog Action Day: Eco-Friendly housing to help combat climate change


When I think about some of the older neighbourhoods in my city, where the houses are 100 or more years old, I picture the 3 Little Piggies. Those houses are the Third Little Piggie. They're incredible. They're built of brick, robust structures that look like they can withstand pretty much anything. And that makes me a bit sad, because my house? It's the Second Little Piggie.

I live in a relatively new area in the suburbs. My house was built rather quickly over a few months by scores of varying contractors, some of whom did such brilliant things as chop up some beams and nail them back together, leave water running all over a stack of drywall sheets and the plywood base of the floor, not nail the neighbours' roof trusses on properly and they came crashing down on the other side of our headboard while we were sleeping, forget to connect the air vents in the master bedroom and on it goes.

My house was built by clear cutting local forests and planting sickly little trees that still look emaciated after a decade.

My house was built using cheap materials made to look like "upgrades". My house has probably caused more harm to the environment than I could in my entire lifetime. And what's worse, it's surrounded by thousands of clones who are just as guilty of damaging the environment.

My house is a flimsy wood and plastic house. It melts. It crumbles. It blows away.

And then comes Piggie number 1. In this fairy tale, the straw house is actually the best house, built with sustainable construction using environmentally friendlier materials. In fact one of my absolute favourite green ideas merges sustainable construction with my absolute love of all things LEGO. Pictured here, these amazingly simple and yet brilliant strawbale building blocks interlock to build solid structures. The neatest part? It's built using the largest bio-waste crop in the world: rice straw.

Wouldn't it be nice if we could all have houses that we could be proud of? Homes that support the planet, instead of breaking it down. Homes that don't contribute to climate change. Homes that are climate resistant without being climate defeating. In this fairy tale, I want to be Piggie number 1. I hope that my next house can be more sustainable and built in ways that do less damage to the earth.

Today is Blog Action Day and this year's theme is Climate Change. I am participating because I believe in actions like uniting bloggers to raise awareness. It's important to speak up and encourage our local builders to use sustainable housing materials and eco-friendly construction practices, and local politicians to demand the same. These are our homes. They are for our families, our children. Let's stop screwing things up. We can change our habits. We can stop hurting our home, our planet.

For more information about the strawbale building blocks, see Oryzatech, and this great article over at TreeHugger.

To learn more about Blog Action Day, visit Blogactionday.org.