How to make a new Island… & solve a few of the worlds problems

Big answers, Do it Yourself, Real Value, sustainability | PlanHQ | 9 Comments

The more you look around your environment, the more you see you can make for yourself, and this is often what gets you starting a business, you see something missing or not being done the right way and decide that you’ll do it your way and see if that helps. What if you really care about the environment, are looking for a simple yet fully involved life, well Richie Sowa decided he’d take thousands of plastic bottles and use them as the foundations for making a fully self sufficient island.

2 years and the worlds 1st fully self sufficient island

The above video is an overview of Richies 1st Island, made of some 250,000 plastic bottles he built a fully self sufficient island, with everything from 2 beaches, a home to a composting toilet and wave powered washing machine.As you would well expect there are heaps of risks in doing this, and the first island was destroyed in a hurricane (after surviving 2 others), but like everything good, it takes time, you learn from your experiences and with persistence, you create something great, so Richie is back into making the second island and collecting plastic bottles from trash cans everywhere to do it, here’s how quickly he’s progressing with version 2.

Step 1: From humble beginnings

How to make an island - starting off The way Richie builds an island is by putting empty used plastic bottles into nets and linking them together. Then he covers them with a composting base and other earth. While it starts off very simple and small, you’re able to keep extending the island with more plastic bottles by spiraling outwards, so he’s called it Spiral Island.


2 months into building

How to makr an islandOn the right here is Richies second island, just 2 months into building, he’s getting the plants in place nice and early this time around, and has a pretty cool little base which he can keep extending out.

Wakey Wakey, something real is brewing

Pretty inspirational stuff, and gets you thinking about what real solutions are and what real value is. Real value has to add something back to the world in the most fundamental of ways, and right now with massive waste issues and peoples a wide spread disconnection of people from their physical surroundings from over immersion in media, this sort of thing is a real awakener. Richie cares about the environment, he cares about making the world a better place, and he’s given himself the time and space to make something real happen.

9 people have commented on this post

  1. now that is cool! I once read that there are two kind of innovation; vitamins and asprins. Vitamins seek to increase experience where as asprins seek to reduce pain… This guy appears to have stumbled onto both!

    tim de jardine | Nov 26th, 2007 at 12:10 pm
  2. I think this goes to show that success doesn’t always happen in a board room. There are many valuable goals out there they don’t have anything to do with making money or a product.

    It’s best to pursue something you believe in. Then success really means something.

    Brandt Cannici | Nov 29th, 2007 at 11:52 am
  3. Wow, this is totally inspirational. Lately, I’ve been reading a lot about the North Pacific Trash Gyre. I wonder if it would be possible to skim the plastic off the giant whirlpool of floating plastic to make an island…

    freeman | Dec 28th, 2007 at 10:41 am
  4. [...] - How to build an island upate Written by Tim Norton, discussed by No one Last year I posted about How to make an island and solve a few of the worlds problems, 8 months on and a whole bunch of volunteers have now got involved in building the 2nd Spiral [...]

  5. This is really cool, but I guess I have to be the devils advocate here, and ask, if you are a family man with small children in school, how practical is this really? I recycle, and do my darndest to shop wisely, but the simple fact is, my kids need schooling, shoes, all the things that allow them to interact with the modern world. I guess I could see the value in doing something like this if I were retired or unattached. Either way, its a pretty cool experiment.

    J Hinrichs | Apr 18th, 2008 at 11:30 am
  6. Children can learn from a variety of diferent upbringings. I raised mine on the road and they are now well adjusted self employed adults. It is wise never to let your children hear you use them as an excuse for not being able to do something of choice. Too heavy of burden.

    john | Jun 6th, 2008 at 8:07 am
  7. [...] wrote about Richy Sowa and his Spiral Island initiative last year in How to Make an Island and solve a few of the worlds problems. He had already made one amazing island from some 300,000 bottles, but it got destroyed by a [...]

  8. I am very interested in doing this for myself but on a much larger scale, like say an island abkle to support 10-20 people. there are much more efficient ways to this. contact me if you share the view.. 813 758 5117

    Christian | Apr 24th, 2009 at 2:50 pm
  9. I really love this idea and i am currently thinking of improving the idea by it just being an island with rocks. kind of like a underwater mountain. i got the idea from other man made island and what sparked it was a corona commercial.

    Jimmy | Oct 26th, 2009 at 1:07 am

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