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David Sheen

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David Sheen is using the master's tools to blow up and burn down the master's house. He spends his days co-creating alternatives, and his nights documenting those alternatives. In plain English, Sheen lives in community and builds healthy houses out of the very earth itself, and records the process and the products of earthen architecture, to spread the good word farther and wider. Sheen apprenticed with cob pioneers Ianto Evans and Linda Smiley at the North American School of Natural Building in Oregon and at Michael Smith's Emerald Earth in California.

Sheen's first film, The Red Pill (2003), is an audiovisual culture jam that questions the sustainability of industrial civilization.  The film screened at the Planet In Focus Environmental Film Festival in Toronto, the Artivist Film Festival in Hollywood and the Environmental Film Festival of Accra in Ghana. His current project, entitled Sharing and Caring (2012), is a documentary film about choosing to live in community. If First Earth is about the healthiest physical structures for people to live and work in, then Sharing & Caring is about the healthiest social structures for people to live and work in.


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First Earth: Uncompromising Ecological Architecture (DVD)

Director: David Sheen
Publisher: PM Press
Release Date: May 2010
UPC: 760137494492
ISBN: 978-1-60486-199-0
DVD Format:  NTSC
Language: English
Subtitles: English, Dutch, Spanish, Chinese, Portuguese, Hebrew, Slovak, Polish
Package: 7.5 by 5.5
Length: 90 Minutes
Aspect Ratio: 15:1

Subjects: Documentary, Current Events, Environment

First Earth is about a massive paradigm shift for shelter—building healthy houses in the old ways, out of the very earth itself, and living together like in the old days, by recreating villages. An audiovisual manifesto filmed over four years on four continents, it proposes that earthen homes are the healthiest housing in the world; and that since it still takes a village to raise a healthy child, we must transform our suburban sprawl into eco-villages.

First Earth is not a how-to film, but a why-to film. It establishes the appropriateness of earthen building in every cultural context, under all socio-economic conditions, from third-world communities to first-world countryside, from Arabian deserts to American urban jungles. In the age of collapse and converging emergencies, the solution to many of our ills might just be getting back to basics, for material reasons and for spiritual reasons, both personal and political.


"First Earth: Uncompromising Ecological Architecture, by filmmaker David Sheen, knocked my socks off."
--Diana Leafe Christian,

"This documentary is an exciting introduction to the hows, whys, and wheres of natural building."
--Brian Loloia,

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For a calendar of speaking events, please click here


  • Israel's Liberal Left & Bibi's Buffet Table
    Israel’s cost-of-living protesters are clamoring for major changes to be made to the country's economy, but so far their demands have failed to question the fundamental assumptions of the industrial capitalism.
  • The Future of Architecture
    An eighteen-minute slideshow presentation about ecological architecture that I presented at TEDxJohannesburg in November 2010. Think of it as Healthy Shelter 101.
  • The revolution next door
    I documented the incidences in which ordinary Israelis took to the streets in the past three weeks to show their support for the people of Egypt and their demands for food, fairness and freedom. And as I uploaded these clips, I began to hear from Egyptian protesters who appreciated the words of brotherly love. Because when you're demonstrating all day and camping out in the cold, it really helps to hear that others are out there rooting for you.
  • Anarchist Architecture
    Trailer for FIRST EARTH - Uncompromising Ecological Architecture, a full-length feature documentary film about natural building and healthy shelter, published by P.M. Press
  • Liberal Lies & the Black Bloc
    Bank windows smashed. Cop cars burned. Vandals with black masks. Liberals with white lies. In the wake of a week of protests in Toronto (Canada) against empire and exploitation, a clump of fluffy feathers on the left wing of this city are seeing red, angry at that crazy claw at the tip of its wingspan. The body politic of this bird is at war with itself, and progressive patriots are pissed that some people took a few symbolic swipes at its cancerous right side, popping the pus on some of society's most grotesque disfigurements, the banksters and their occupation army.
  • Toronto, the World Is Watching!
    At this very moment, the most important political leaders in the world are intersecting in Toronto, the financial capital of Canada, for the G8 & G20 summits. There, they will meet to discuss strategies for steering the planet towards more prosperity for all of her inhabitants. They will publicly present ideas about ecologically and socially sustainable economic systems, and how they might be implemented. And they'll be treated to the best that Toronto has to offer.
  • Home @ P.M. Press
    PM Press has wisely decided to build an online platform for its authors and artists to blog about their work. I've been blogging in a number of formats for the last eleven years, so I'm quite comfortable with the idea. And frankly, it's something of an honor to be able to share a stage with the amazing PM Press roster of writers. But mostly, it's an opportunity for me to share my thoughts and feelings about the sick sad world that we live in and the crazy and courageous people that just won't leave well enough alone. Until every living creature on the planet is free at last. And even then some, just for kicks.

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Interviews and Reviews

First Earth on Permaculture Research Institute of Australia

First Earth: Uncompromising Ecological Architecture by David Sheen is meant as an inspirational film about earthen buildings, or more specifically, what they call ‘cob’. Cob is the oldest and easiest way of building from earth. You can find information and relevant literature here, and inspiring pictures here.

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First Earth on

However, building natural homes out of earthen materials is nothing new, as it has been practiced all over the globe for many hundreds of years, and David Sheen’s documentary, First Earth: Uncompromising Ecological Architecture traces some of the history of earthen architecture up until the present day, in places where people are attempting to bring sustainable forms of building back into mainstream consciousness.

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First Earth on

First Earth: Uncompromising Ecological Architecture, by filmmaker David Sheen, knocked my socks off. A “why-to,” not a “how-to,” this evocative and beautiful documentary shows why building with earth — cob, straw clay, adobe bricks, rammed earth — works well structurally, lasts a long time, compels the eye and heart, is healthier for builders and dwellers than most other construction methods, and feels good to live in. And can even spiritually uplift and inspire the builders.

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Mud Hut Doc Inspiring to Watch
Reno Gazzette

The DVD documentary "First Earth: Uncompromising Ecological Architecture" from PM Press isn't just inspiring, it makes you think you could actually build a house.

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