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The Rhizome Collective: Autonomous Sustainability Demonstration

rhizome urbsustRhizome:
An expanding underground root system, sending up above ground shoots to form a vast network. Difficult to uproot.

The Rhizome Collective is a non-profit organization based out of a warehouse on the East Side of Austin, Texas. The Rhizome Collective operates an Educational Center for Urban Sustainability and a Center for Community Organizing. They are a consensus-run organization.

Rhizome’s purpose is the design and display of functioning ecological tools and technologies, created to give communities greater self-reliance over life’s basic resources: water, food, energy production, waste management, shelter and remediation of toxins. By having this systems open for the public to learn from and interact with, they hope to educate and inspire others to continue the work of building locally based, decentralized, radically sustainable infrastructures. By doing so, they hope to ease humanity’s transition into a post-petroleum future, and simultaneously undermine oppressive powers that maintain resource monopolies.

rhizome entrance

main entrance to the Rhizome Collective’s warehouse

These systems were designed to be applied in urban areas, where already over 50% of the world’s population lives. Rhizome believes that cities, with proper planning, have the potential to provide for many of the resident’s needs. The time to make these changes is now, when surplus energy and biomass is available to us.

rhizome bioshelter

Above is an example of Solar Bioshelter / Aquaculture / Aquaponics. The bioshelter is a solar greenhouse that uses 55 gallon water barrels as a source of thermal mass heating. The greenhouse in south facing to maximize solar gain, and is protected from northern winds by the wall of the warehouse. It is made from a combination of recycled double pane windows and twin-wall polycarbonate. Inside of it, they grow starter vegetables to get a head start on the growing season, since water has amazing properties as a source of thermal mass…

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