A Question about Ripples Potential Location

An exciting new development at Ripples!

UPDATE June 2014: This partnership was not successful, but we’re not giving up! If you know of land for sale or areas that need protection, please let us know at MakeSomeRipples@Gmail.com

Brief Update: Our previous option to buy land didn’t work out.  We accepted the asking price, but the owner may have changed her mind since we never heard back.  Besides, and much more importantly, our mission did not mesh with hers (on conservation or sustainability). We have vetted approximately 10 locations since 2012. This new possible location is the closest mission match we have found so far, and we’re especially appreciative that our potential partners are interested in Ripples!

We’re strongly considering a partnership with an amazing conservation land trust, and we’d like to locate Ripples there. This is an astonishingly beautiful place worth preserving for generations.  Many native species make their home here in the upland forests and sandstone glades, including bald eagles, osprey, many species of songbirds, bobcats, coyote, Barbara’s Buttons and Ozark Chinquapin among many other native plants. The waterfall and the many creeks that flow across the land are breathtakingly gorgeous – it’s a very special place. Sorry we can’t yet post any photos; enjoy our word painting for now 🙂 We’re respecting the caretakers’ privacy and not revealing names, but also continuing to pursue transparency and the democratic process at Ripples by sharing this and making your feedback, as always, part of our decision. This is only to get feedback from you on the general geographic location possibility.

You might already know that last year we were considering protecting 5.5 acres much closer to Fayetteville.  At this other location, we’d be part of the effort to protect over 400 acres! This is a fantastic opportunity for Ripples to do so much more than we’ve done in the past for conservation. Remember the little bitty area we got certified as National Wildlife Habitat by selling cookies? Imagine the good we can do for the Earth with hundreds of acres. We’d be teaming up with extremely knowledgeable conservationists and naturalists who would be supporting our goal of sustainability, unlike other locations we’ve evaluated.

Driving Distance and Accessibility

If we locate Ripples earthbag home and educational center there, it will be about one hour east of Fayetteville, about 30 minutes from Eureka Springs, and 4.5 hours from St. Louis, Missouri. I know the O’Neill’s in Berryville will be happy about this! Our Eureka Springs network and Save the Ozarks folks will have more opportunities to partner with Ripples at this location. The St. Louis folks would have roughly an hour cut off their trip and the drive would be more scenic. Our friends in Fort Smith and those south of Fayetteville would have a bit longer drive, though.

Getting to the land itself is accessible for the average car and the area surrounding the small parking space is very enjoyable even for those who cannot walk or want a more leisurely experience. It really is gorgeous! However, the entire acreage is not 100% accessible and there is a good chance that Ripples will be located 3 creeks away from a nice road, which means only certain vehicles could get to the house itself and during high water we will be stranded or inaccessible. (Note: disaster plans have been part of Ripples’ strategy since the beginning, so don’t worry about us.)

Location FAQ

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  1. Do you still need people to help you build the house?
    Yes! We need all kinds of volunteers and appreciate your help. It should be an educational, fun and rewarding experience. In addition to helping us have a home to live in, your assistance will actually help us to help many people around the world in the next several decades and beyond.
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  2. Do I need frequent car access to your location?
    No. The educational material and video tours of the home and native habitat will be accessible online. (Podcasts, blog, wikis, videos, articles, visual presentations, etc) We’d love to have you visit in small groups if you’d like an in-person tour or to help us build!
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  3. Will you help people access your location through carpooling or other methods?
    Yes, we will encourage carpooling and may be able to provide free transportation to Ripples. Right now, we’re brainstorming options.
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  4. Does the type of home you build matter if the educational center is mostly online?
    The online material is coming from our personal lifestyle and choice of sustainable home – we want to share what we’re doing in a way that’s easy for people to replicate all or part of it. The type of house we build will determine the online content. We’d like to help other off-grid families document their process and share with Ripples network through the educational center, too.
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  5. Why does the location of your house have to be outside city limits?
    Cities often have restrictive building codes that don’t allow things like very small homes, composting toilets, greywater recycling, earthbag walls, etc. We considered fighting the building codes but decided to transition to a sustainable lifestyle now instead of later, which necessitated building outside of restricted areas.
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  6. Will I be able to camp or stay overnight at your house so I can stay a weekend?
    Yes, but options are still being worked out and are only possibilities – perhaps a guest house, or tent camping.
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  7. Why are small groups better for Ripples than large groups at your location?
    Because the home is so small (about 472 sq ft) and the space around it is meant for native habitat protection, it’s best to limit foot traffic or it will be very hard to protect the area. It will also be hard for people to hear us speak during tours if the group is too large. We plan on hosting presentations at city centers like libraries so that people can get a “tour” without having to visit, but we also welcome families and small groups who want a hands-on experience.
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  8. How is Ripples different from community centers in cities?
    Community centers based in cities are meant to be centrally located for high foot traffic, and their primary goal is a space for people to come together. Ripples encourages our global network to come together online, and our physical location is primarily meant to be a way for us (personally) to share what we’re trying to do to make ripples with our own lifestyle and home, such as conservation and sustainable living.
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  9. How is Ripples different from places like the Ozark Natural Science Center?
    ONSC is a wonderful, large facility designed for school groups seeking environmental science educational opportunities in fields like birding, botany, etc. Ripples is a unique approach to making a difference in the world with one’s lifestyle choices, and this method can be applied to fields like global health or poverty as well as the environment. Our home and office are meant to be a living demo site for us to share, through educational materials, our approach to a sustainable lifestyle so that future families have an easier time making this transition. We also share what others are doing with their urban sustainable lifestyles or alternatives to earthbag building, such as straw bale construction or earthships.
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  10. Are you really off-grid if you have internet and an online educational center?
    The online educational center (and our current website including this blog post) is run off 100% solar power through AISO. The home & office itself seeks to reduce or eliminate dependence on non-renewable utilities. See this post on going off-grid for more detail.
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