Build A Secure, Eco-Friendly Mud House In Amazon Rainforest

Updated: Oct 1


Build a secure eco friendly mud house in Amazon rainforest
Build a secure eco friendly mud house in Amazon rainforest Ⓒ Cobworks, Fairplanet

Will Day said, "The principles of sustainable development say that we should live within environmental limits and that we should enjoy and aspire to a healthy, just and fair society." In other words, the ability to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. It is a fact that resources are finite and so should be used conservatively and carefully to ensure that there is enough for future generations without decreasing the present quality of life. The ultimatum of this process is to ensure that these resources do not go extinct and that future generations can enjoy similar liberty. A sustainable society must be socially responsible, focussing on environmental protection and dynamic equilibrium in human and natural systems consuming limited resources. It means it can either be socially fair or economically vital to create thriving, healthy, & resilient communities for generations to come. So, it is appropriate to discuss whether we are living a sustainable life or not?. Well, humans always strive to live in the most comfortable and resourceful manner.But the condition of our mother earth is depleting & degrading, & it will not be functioning the same if we don't make sustainable choices. It needs small steps from every individual to live a conscious life & make ethical choices that bring a safe and livable future to everyone. Still, we want to blindfold ourselves, then we will likely run out of fossil fuels, huge numbers of animal species will become extinct, and the atmosphere will be irreparably damaged.

Clean air and nontoxic atmospheric conditions, growth of resources that can be relied upon, and water quality and cleanliness, are all benefits of sustainability. Precisely, sustainable living is much more than just the environment. It brings about economic development and quality health care too. It can be acknowledged by the three pillars of sustainability. Environment safety deals with the reduction of carbon footprints, water usage & wasteful processes as part of logistics, decreasing global temperatures. The secondary aspect is social development which is a proactive way of managing and identifying business impacts on employees, workers in the value chain & customers. The importance of social sustainability is that it recognizes the significance of their relationships with people, communities, and society. One such approach is that businesses should operate using sustainable labor, which involves fairly-paid, adult employees who can operate in a safe environment. The last & simplest form is economic development. The fundamental of this is it works in equilibrium. An enterprise definitely must be profitable where rather than doing it at any cost, the trial should be to generate profit following other elements of sustainability. These three principles are becoming the performance parameter for measuring sustainability in society & also as a part of a company. How your lifestyle helps you achieve that depends on your impulse. The way you opt for transportation, food, or use less energy helps cause lower damage to the earth. And that holds the most prominent key for future generations to abide by a healthy life. It also provides an approach to making sound decisions that improve our lives. Responsible consumption & the importance of doing more with fewer resources are important to adopt a 'circular economy' and reduce demand. Such socio-economic aspects are concerned with the sustainable decision in enhancing the standards of living, education & equal opportunity. A digital revolution in science, technology, and innovation would be required to support sustainable development, as it's hoped that the world will use the development of Information technology to facilitate sustainability. Here in this article, we will try to use the approach of sustainability to build secure eco-friendly mud houses in the Amazon rainforest.


A woman waters plants on terrace
A woman waters plants on terrace Ⓒ timesofIndia

Modern home architecture with green roof
Modern home architecture with green roof Ⓒ homestratosphere


The Amazon rainforest is the largest broadleaf tropical rainforest in the world. It inhibits the drainage basin of the amazon river & its tributaries in South America. It is bordered by the Brazilian central plateau to the south, the Atlantic Ocean to the east, and the Andes Mountains to the west encompassing a landmass of 6 million sq. km; 40% of the total area of Brazil. Throughout the year, the entire rainforest experiences a humid season. As a result, it receives all-day sunlight for the whole year, justifying the immense extent & continuity of the rainforest. The Amazon also acts as a climate regulator, producing 20% of the global oxygen and acting as a carbon sink. It manages the water cycle & stabilizes various soils producing the optimum amount of food. The enormous connection of tree roots prevents the forest from flooding & influencing the rainfall pattern to reduce drought conditions in distant lands. This ecosystem has a presence of over 390 billion individual trees & the biggest in the world, responsible for the existence of certain million species of plants, insects & animals. The plant kingdom is home to 80,000 species, including myrtle, laurel, palm, rosewood, and rubber tree. Rainforests use their canopy structure to provide moisture and food for their plants. Many studies have found that the plant biome has numerous medicinal values, and it has been used in herbal medicine for decades. The forest also observes 2,000 different animal species with 1294 birds, 427 mammals & 2.5 million insect species. Here, the prime wildlife includes anaconda and rodents; mammals like the howler monkey, golden lion, jaguar, sloth, spider monkey, and the Amazon River dolphin.


Wildlife and greenery of Amazon Rain forest
Wildlife and greenery of Amazon Rain forest Ⓒ Shiripunolodge

Aerial view of Amazon Rainforest near lake Manaus
Aerial view of Amazon Rainforest near lake Manaus Ⓒ Wikipedia

People have always been a part of this biodiversity for ages. There are more than 400 tribes in the Amazon rainforest, each with its language and culture. Many tribes in the Amazon settle near the river & have access to fertile soil for fruits, vegetables & more. These tribes are in contact with the outer world. Indians of the Amazon constitute one such population, with over 1 million people. Then comes the nomadic tribes that live deep inside the forest. They usually avoid contact with the world. The Peruvian Amazon is one such hidden gem. This place is home to uncontacted tribes like the Mashco-Piro tribe & Matses tribe. The increase in human activity has caused a lot of damage to the rainforest.


Forest fires of Amazon
Forest fires of Amazon Ⓒ theguardian

Waorani tribal women singing in Amazon Rainforest
Waorani tribal women singing in Amazon Rainforest Ⓒ amazonfrontlines


If some one desires to live in the wild, the amazon rainforest holds exceptional value in comparison because of its ecosystem & resourcefulness. But, it is essential to mention that living green is the crucial element & that too without causing any harm to plant & animal kingdom. Humans have caused enough atrocities in ignorance & due to an abundance of resources. In the current context, if you want to live in your sustainable home acquired with all the reusable sources & uses the bare minimum, what would be your choice? Can you build your accommodation out of bamboo or the traditional method, out of clay? Will it be secure enough from the wildlife? Well, it could be possible with proper approach & will power. Prioritizing your needs, how to execute them in sync with nature & using 3Rs' will do the remaining job. To live at a place such as amazon, one must Build A Secure eco friendly mud house in amazon rainforest.

It is an idea for a better chance. As you might be well aware, sustainable living is becoming a favorable choice for this generation's population. At Simplykalaa, we try to enrich you with tons of knowledge living in those conditions & the path to follow them.


Mudhouse in full bloom with the water management system
Mudhouse in full bloom with the water management system Ⓒ @mt_cobbers / Instagram


The Current Scenario of Living with Standards.


There are many tribes living in the Amazon rainforest, and some have evolved dramatically over time. One of them is an Indian tribe that prefers to live in villages along the river. They rely more on crops than hunting & have more access to outside healthcare & education. Their homes are made of clay with two grasslands planted with bananas, manioc & rice. It is not uncommon for some groups to produce handicrafts to sell to tourists, and many use metal pans or other utensils to make routine visits to the city. Still, some groups are living in voluntary isolation & known as uncontacted tribes. These tribes have been living in the Amazon for thousands of years. The ecosystem of the rainforest had emerged from its end to the immense biodiversity. But in current times, the forest is severely affected by the activities of native tribes & outsiders for natural resources. Forest clearing is one technique that limits the damage that leads to deforestation. The massive threat is the natural resources like oil & gas exploration. The outlanders started illegal logging, extensive ranching, and farming. This exploitation of rainforests for temporary benefits needs to be tackled by developing several protection groups. Soon, after some time, some studies reveal that the indigenous territories have fewer deforestation rates than protected groups. Now, the organizations are working with the natives to apply new policies & mechanisms to safeguard the Amazon.

People have always been a part of this biodiversity for ages. There are more than 400 tribes in the Amazon rainforest, each with its language and culture. Many tribes in the Amazon settle near the river & have access to fertile soil for fruits, vegetables & more. These tribes are in contact with the outer world. Indians of the Amazon constitute one such population, with over 1 million people. The major Indian tribes are Makuxi & Wapishana Indians of Raposa-Serra do Sol living in a hilly region known as the Guyana shield. It is the largest tribe living there near the Brazil border neighboring Ingariko. This is a spectacularly beautiful land of mountains & tropical forests where the Makuxi tribe has an estimated population of 16,000. The indigenous people have a traditional life of farming, hunting & raising cattle in the Savannah region & keep other domestic animals also. The Indian's life depends on the tree known as ‘Waxaca- the tree of life’ discovered by their ancestors. The tribe has a special relationship with the guiding principles of the sun & believes everything is governed by it. The region has two distinct seasons; during the dry summer months, they plan hunting, fishing expeditions & visiting neighboring villages that aren't possible in the rainy season. The Makuxi extended families hunt together & based on, ties of marriage & family. Their houses are repaired in dry seasons and made from wood, clay, and palm leaves. The planting of crops for personal use is done by individual households where their villages are connected by complex networks of paths & tracks. They have peculiar customs of settling in the home of in-laws where his father-in-law is the chieftain of the tribe. These tribes have a terrible history of invasion & settlement. In the eighteenth century, the indigenous peoples of Raposa-Serra do Sol invaded by Europeans experienced murder, torture & land theft. They have fought for their basic land rights till today against violent invasions, colonization, and attempts at resettling. Against all odds, they somehow have managed to hold on to their ancestral land. In 1996, a group of farmers infected the streams of bathing, cooking & drinking water with pesticides. Today the indigenous peoples of this land and mountain live in peace and develop their education and health projects.

Then comes the nomadic tribes that live deep inside the forest. They usually avoid contact with the world. The Peruvian Amazon is one such hidden gem. This place is home to uncontacted tribes like the Mashco-Piro tribe & Matses tribe. These tribes usually go naked, except for the jewelry they make from bones and teeth. The clothing tradition and habits differ from tribe to tribe. They normally live on vegetables, fish, and animals such as wild pigs, alligators, monkeys, jaguars, armadillos, snakes, tarantulas, scorpions, and birds. Apart from the indigenous tribes, the increase in human activity has caused a lot of damage to the rainforest. Every ecosystem has to go up & down but without any artificial interference. But, due to excessive farming, building infrastructure, deforestation & dirt choked streams, the system got interrupted & harmed. It led to the fires in the rainforest with a decrease in 15% of the total area over the years.


Uncontacted Indians pictured in Amazon rainforest
Uncontacted Indians pictured in Amazon rainforest Ⓒ G. Miranda / FUNAI / Survival


Major Components: Build A Secure Eco Friendly Mud House In Amazon Rainforest.


A clay or mud house is the best and most beneficial to build if you want an evergreen shelter. To prepare: you will need mud, bamboo sticks, wood logs, and stubble. The details will follow shortly. You can get water supplies in your backyard by building water retention systems and harvesting systems. Natural farming can be carried out on the land adjacent to the living space with no budget and little interference with nature. In addition to solar panels, you can utilize biogas fuels to generate electricity. We will use the fuel from the biogas plant for cooking and its slurry for manure. To communicate, you will need satellite network availability. If you want to learn more about this, you can refer here. In addition, while planning your home, we need to guard ourselves against wild animals. You can install wood fencing around your resting zone with flaming torches for instant security. Your land selection should be done not only based on availability but the closeness to any native tribe. Preventing living out of their zone should be the primary criteria.

Improving the Environment.


With a clay home, you can not only build a stable structure but also avoid using artificial materials, such as concrete. These materials put a stake in environmental health and produce about 8% of the global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. The design of these homes allows them to maintain a comfortable interior temperature without relying upon any artificial components. Even harmful radiation cannot penetrate the wall of these homes. Using organic waste as fuel reduces your carbon footprint significantly. Renewable energy sources such as those used for producing electricity, growing food, or making paints made from tree pigments coexist with the environment without causing any environmental harm. To build a secure eco friendly mud house in amazon rainforest is necessary to live in such a rich cultured species forest.


Indian resident Jadav Molai Payeng traveling the forest
Indian resident Jadav Molai Payeng traveling the forest Ⓒ Branolia


Making Up the House.


It starts with the selection of the locality that suits your demands. The foremost criterion is to avoid any place near the settlement of native tribes. Then, it depends upon the open land availability with an area of building a home & at least one crop field with access to water. The foundation lays 2-3 feet above the ground & building materials are mud, plaster, bamboo, Jutes & water that requires different tools like matchet, trowel, spade & shovels for shaping & padding. Mixing mud flamed stubble straw & water make plaster or clay, which works well as an alternative to concrete mixtures & has a similar texture. This mixture has the quality of maintaining temperature, depending on the atmosphere. Therefore, it absorbs excess moisture during humid days & acts as a natural cooler. Different bamboo sticks are tied with jute ropes & old wood logs to form the structure consisting of beams & pillars. The shape of the roof is considered a gable roof with a canonical design preferable for tropical rainforests. These grass roofs are best for stormwater management & insulating your home. Some of the systematic tips to initiate are:

  • Dig out the mud from 2.5 feet below the topsoil as its porosity & fertility are suitable.

  • For foundation, make an elevation of 1.5 feet to start building your home.

  • The required quantity of soil for the entire construction is equivalent to the 3 feet deep soil of the foundation area.

  • Then mesh the mud 5-6 times & ferment for ten days before utilizing it for plaster.

  • Add shell lime powder to the mud to kill termite eggs in the soil.

  • Start developing the structure with different sizes of bamboo sticks for beams & pillars & tie them all with the Jute ropes.

  • Once the structure is ready, use the mixture to plaster the walls. Start by stacking layer by layer & repeat it until the entire wall is stacked.

  • When your basic structure with all the openings & windows is ready, it comes time for digging & developing the water storage area in the backyard. More explained in the making up of water storage below.


Mudhouse cottage in Virginia
Mudhouse cottage in Virginia Ⓒ cbsnews

Mudhouse cottage in India
Mudhouse cottage in India Ⓒ thannal_mud_homes / Instagram


Making Up the Kitchen.


A kitchen is a heart to build a secure eco friendly mud house in amazon rainforest, hence we are starting from here. The kitchen is built-in correspondence to the living room with an open kitchen setup. It is a good idea to make an arch at the entrance to the kitchen. To the left of the arch wall, there is a large window that will aid in making the kitchen and living room more ventilated. Install a bamboo grill on this window for a touch of artistry. It has the advantage of getting constructed in a single go, and the paint used is also eco-friendly. The clay-based pigment of tree bark is processed to color the walls. You can use a stove fueled by biogas to cook. This biogas plant is installable underground in your backyard. After segregation, the organic waste from your household will become the material for this biogas plant. The food then produced & other ingredients of the kitchen need a cold storage facility. We will not use artificial refrigerators that are unsustainable and consume high energy. The earthen container in the kitchen serves as a natural cooler. It also helps in retaining the nutrition of foods. A way to build such a kitchen is:

  • Create archways and window cutouts during the home layout.

  • Before plastering, prepare the kitchen with wall-inbuilt shelves, storage & slab area.

  • The wall with the stove should be close to the backyard for a shorter pipe way for gas.

  • To refrigerate the food, you need to use an earthen pot decorated with mud. Only the opening of the pot is above the level & lined with clay bricks on all sides.

  • Cover the area with moist sand and sprinkle water daily to prevent it from getting too hot. It keeps a cooling temperature where food remains fresh & full of nutrients.

  • Leave the kitchen flooring off to put up your efforts for cooling and benefiting health.


Kitchen platform and sink of a mudhouse
Kitchen platform and sink of a mudhouse Ⓒ Natural Living School


Making Up the Living Room.


The central hall connecting with all the other sections of the home is the most open area & shaped according to the entire design layout. Our goal is to use sustainable interior design techniques and products to maximize home efficiency while reducing environmental impact. Ventilation is one such necessity, maintaining fresh & oxygenating air. You can not rely on electrical appliances like fans or coolers, so construct your entry & hallway in a manner that controls the temperature based on weather. After venting, move to the next phase of developing the furniture as a part of the home structure. You can decide the customized dimensions & placement for your sitting arrangements. Then, they can be built with the same bamboo & plaster combination where its design is the exciting part. They can be carved into various shapes & designs with chisels while it is wet & painted with the ochre, made from several earthly elements. For constructing such a structure, follow this:

  • While constructing the base structure with bamboo & wood logs, pile up the wall partitions of the living room with open door frames inside.

  • Next, add straw to the plaster to make it more porous so that the room has better ventilation.

  • Lay down the wires for the electricals in the structure only before plastering it.

  • And now, for the in-built furniture, carve it while the plaster is still wet after applying it.

  • You can make this furniture robust by adding rock pieces under the foundation while building them.

  • After coming up with the sole structure, paint your walls with ochre pigment and add additional accessories like carpet, furniture cloth, or any decoration piece.


Sustainable home made of straw bales with a timber frame
Sustainable home made of straw bales with a timber frame Ⓒ cbsnews

Living and dining room divided by a wall and the lighting of the mudhouse
Living and dining room divided by a wall and the lighting of the mudhouse


Making Up the Bedroom.


The architectural design of the bedroom looks more feasible on the upper level of this home. It makes it more spacious as well as cost-effective within a limited land. You can connect it to the rest of the space with a staircase made out of thick branches of bamboo covered with clay. The plaster used would be different in terms of composition for strength building. The shaping of integral elements of the bedroom is a demanding task where you have to consider windows for ventilation, a mud bed or Khaats for rest, and a wall-mounted shelf for storage and flooring. These low-floor mud beds have the vital benefits of customization. You can shape them as you like and keep them in contact with the soil that rejuvenates your body while sleeping. In the bedroom, the windows with an arch can create a majestic essence made out from dysfunctional coconut trees integrated with the other aspects of the room. A few steps to make it more livable are:

  • Start planning the bedroom after choosing the exact location for space & staircase formation in the living room.

  • When laying down the foundation for the bedroom, form out the places for shelf storage, bed, and window as these would assimilate during the plaster and take their permanent positions.

  • Once the plaster is partially dried, sculpt the elements as you desire.

  • You can create a Khaat, primarily an Indian technique to use maple or any suitable wood and broad strands of Jute. The Jute ropes interlace around the borders of Khaat and work as a sustainable mobile bed.

  • To Set up the room, go for the terracotta tiles for flooring. They are manufactured without using chemicals and suit best with the earthy look of the home.


Bedroom of a sustainable house
Bedroom of a sustainable house Ⓒ thebetterindia

Ladders built up to access sleeping loft in a mudhouse
Ladders built up to access sleeping loft in a mudhouse Ⓒ thannal_mud_homes / Instagram


Making Up the Bathroom.


We are not going to construct the bathroom with tried and true techniques. A small area that belongs to the living room serves as the framework of this space. You can add the dried fern stalks to the plaster for better permeability at water crossing ways. Likewise, for semi-waterproofing, use lime plaster on all the edges & corners. As we march towards sustainability, avoiding the use of soaps and shampoos would be better. In place of that, you may use herbal bath powder. The beauty of powder is to make it from herbal plants in amazon forests, once you are familiar with them. Installing the toilet & sink would be the next phase where your wastes have direct dumping into the bio plant. A passage developed utilizes it for fuel generation, and the slurry can contribute as manure for plants. It is possible to design the bathroom by following these steps:

  • While developing the boundaries for the bathroom, use dried fern stalks to provide sturdiness and free-form shape.

  • During designing and sculpting, maintain the holes of wooden frames within the structure for toilet and sink pipe ways.

  • This wooden frame embedded inside the home gives support to screw your attachments for various plumbing.

  • Generate a top to downflow system from your toilet for immediate flushing into the bio plant. Here, the elevated foundation will help in it.

  • For bathwater exits and cleaning purposes, dig a small 2-inch channel in the floor to the backyard and cover it with a hollow bamboo trunk.




Making up the electricity and water.


No matter how sustainable you have developed your home to be. There is no practical way to live there until you fulfill the energy requirements. To make your home functional, create a renewable source to generate electricity. For instance, you need only a few lights & fans with some electronics like a laptop, mixing grinder, or a motor for water pumping; the solar panels will do the job. Depending upon exact figures, you can install them beside your home where solar rays are falling directly. Biogas, another substitute, can be used for only cooking purposes.

The best way to use the backyard is to connect it to the water supply ports either inside the home or on the fields. The procedure to develop your energy sources and water storage is:

  • Calculate the energy consumption for an average day and the timing of the sun shining on your property.

  • Install the required number of solar panels and connect them with the energy storage system for further use.

  • Build your biogas plant at one side of your backyard under the ground that connects your bathroom to organic wastes.

  • Dig some land at the other side of the backyard and fence it with a double layer of the bamboo structure.

  • Fill it with the same plaster but decrease the porosity by removing straw. Your water storage redundant system is ready.

  • You can now connect that from various channels from the roof for water harvesting and an auxiliary tank to supply water by a pump to home & fields.

  • Additionally, always carry some batteries with you for emergencies.


House built in the forest and rely upon solar panels for electricity
House built in the forest and rely upon solar panels for electricity Ⓒ smallhousebliss

Waste recyling in Calcutta
Waste recyling in Calcutta Ⓒ telegraphindia


How will your lifestyle change?


When deciding to move in Amazon forests, constructing your sustainable home is the primary necessity but adopting the same lifestyle has more significance. Building the home with reusable & recyclable materials is quite a job. But, how will your life change? The cycle of utilizing the resources will go on, but how will you contribute to nature? By making the decision itself, you have achieved half your goal. The forest has a clock that you have to follow religiously, whether for making arrangements for food, water, or looking after your surroundings and taking care of your family. Living off the grid and doing your labor will lead you to physical and mental fitness. The new habit of eating naturally at proper timings has an immense effect on the body and mind. It brings about the magic within your system. Now you have a sense of living a meaningful and purposeful life. And you will become more conscious that not just humans but all living organisms depend solely on each other. Monk Pha Pachak said,

The forest makes your heart gentle. You became one with it. No place for greed or anger there.


Conclusion.


Living in the Amazon rainforest is amazing but accepting the law of nature is typical. To live a sustainable livelihood with keeping your environment in check is what we have tried. The various elements while building your home and establishing your permanent settlement in the forest have been explored. We hope through this article you find a way to build a secure eco friendly mud house in amazon rainforest.

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