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Man builds completely self-sustaining island homestead using salvaged materials
He's lived there for over 17 years and hasn't relied on anyone at all.
Cherie Gozon
09.07.21

We all want to save Mother Earth from further destruction.

Pexels|Marta Ortigosa
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Pexels|Marta Ortigosa

Our current environmental state is like Earth is crying for help. Pollution, deforestation, and the likes – all these contribute to the deterioration of our planet. Don’t we all want to help?

But helping can be a huge challenge.

Pexels|Vlada Karpovich
Source:
Pexels|Vlada Karpovich

Following the 3Rs – reuse, reduce, recycle – doesn’t seem to be enough anymore. We need to do more than that; we have to take action somehow. And we found the perfect story to draw inspiration from.

Meet Shadow and his little “Nowhere Island,” where he lives for the past 17 years.

Instagram|shadowsnowhereisland
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Instagram|shadowsnowhereisland

He built this incredible floating island out of reclaimed material or out of things that were thrown away. Some of them are trash that he found floating in the water. That way, he saved the river and its inhabitants, and he saved the trash and reused or recycled it to give it a second life.

Everything about Shadow’s home is an effort to save the environment.

YouTube Screenshot|Exploring Alternative
Source:
YouTube Screenshot|Exploring Alternative

Not only does he pick up trash and upcycle it for his home, but he also makes sure that everything that comes in and out of his island is safe for the environment. Overall, his little island in the middle of Widgeon Slough, BC, Canada, is part of the ecosystem.

His island is divided into four areas.

Instagram|shadowsnowhereisland
Source:
Instagram|shadowsnowhereisland

He has a two-story home that features a kitchen, pantry, workshop, entertainment room, bedroom, and a Shaman room where he sits and reads cards for healing and protecting the area.

But the fascinating part of his house is his toilet.

YouTube Screenshot|Exploring Alternative
Source:
YouTube Screenshot|Exploring Alternative

His toilet is a composting one. This means that it turns waste into usable soil. It has a little detachable bin so he can take it to the composting area. That way, there’s no waste going into the water.

Aside from his home, he also has a separate area for composting.

YouTube Screenshot|Exploring Alternative
Source:
YouTube Screenshot|Exploring Alternative

This is where he keeps food and other waste to turn into compost. He has different bins for them and a separate area for fresh waste and compost that’s already broken down for eight months. This is what he uses for his garden.

His garden is composed of a variety of plants, most of which are edible.

Instagram|shadowsnowhereisland
Source:
Instagram|shadowsnowhereisland

He notes that he’s working on sourcing his food. He also has a separate area for his chicken coop, a layer of different plants and husks as a natural filtration system for his gray water.

His entire island runs in solar energy.

YouTube Screenshot|Exploring Alternative
Source:
YouTube Screenshot|Exploring Alternative

Shadow attached separate solar panels for each structure on his island, so there’s no need to wire them from one area to another. It’s also future-proofing his island, ensuring that if any storm hits his way, electricity won’t cut off if one part is separated from the island.

Shadow said the government tried to evict him multiple times.

Instagram|shadowsnowhereisland
Source:
Instagram|shadowsnowhereisland

But he is committed to protecting the area. As long as there is a threat in the ecosystem, Shadow believes his work is not yet done. With constant threats from poachers, the local government, film crews, and private entities who want to build within the area or turn it into a park, Shadow and his Nowhere Island will stay.

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By Cherie Gozon
hi@sbly.com
Cherie Gozon is a contributor at SBLY Media.
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