Local family lives in a converted shipping container

By Sarah Smith | gargoyle@flagler.edu

Adam Morley isn’t your typical politician.

In a shipping container on the outskirts of St. Augustine, Morley lives with his wife, Janine and their 1-year-old son Elon. He tries to incorporate sustainability into his life, constantly working to become more and more sustainable. And a big part of that is living in a shipping container.

“I think that it’s how I adopt habits and the habits actually become part of my lifestyle,” he said. “It’s not something outside of my lifestyle that I do that’s environmentally friendly.”

Morley and his son in front of their house. Morley said that his wife and he wanted to be able to spend time with their son, so they both work their schedules around to be able to be with him for most of the day.

The living space inside their house is just over 300 square feet and the solar panels on the roof power everything inside and their well, although they do have a backup generator for emergencies.

Morley and his son in from of their house. The house is a modified shipping container and only boasts about 350 square feet of living space, plus the outside deck.

The property also has well and water purification system which is run by solar power as well.

Inside the house, they have a living room and kitchen area where Elon sleeps. On the other end of the house is a master bedroom which is connected to the living room by a hallway that houses the bathroom.

The Morley’s living room and kitchen. The ceilings in the house are made of doors because Morley said that they were the biggest salvaged pieces of wood that they could find.


Janine in the kitchen of the house.

The hallway of their house leading to their living room. The inside of the house is covered in wood paneling and the doors continue as the ceiling throughout the house.

The master bedroom of the house. It has a full sized bed and two closets.

Within the small space, their house has many of the same things that your average house would have. They have a kitchen, a full-sized refrigerator, and air conditioning.

Morley said that their current house and the use solar power has allowed them to live a more active lifestyle.

“By scaling down the size of living, like, I don’t pay an electric bill on my home, which is really nice,” he said. “Depending on what type of job you work that could be a couple of days a week that you don’t have to work.”

Morley works as a captain and environmental educator for St. Augustine Eco-Tours.

“Living a simple life has allowed me to do a job that I really enjoy and that pays really well, seasonally, and also gives me enough free time to innovate and adopt sustainable practices.”

He says that both personally and professionally he struggles with each part of his life that isn’t environmentally friendly.

“I see the hypocrisy in me driving a gasoline-powered boat on the Matanzas River to teach people about the ecosystems and the impacts were having on the ecosystems.”

He said that the next part of his life he was trying to change was the way that he eats and he is in the process of building a garden off of the front of his deck.

Morley outside with his son. He is starting a garden to try and make their food consumption more sustainable.

His job and choice in housing also allows him to more involved socially, politically and with his son.

Both he and his wife teach dance classes in St. Augustine. “I see that I am in a lot of cases I’m preaching to the choir, in a sense,” Morley said. “So the nice thing about dancing and the dance community is that it’s reaching a lot of those people who are just out there to dance.”

He said that when he and his wife teach at Mardi Gras they ask that the bar put out pitchers of water with regular glasses instead of plastic ones.

“At least while we’re there, they adopt some more sustainable practices,” he said. “Where they’re not just pumping out all of this waste.”

In addition to dancing, he takes people out on the “Litter Getter” which is a pontoon boat that he crowd-funded the purchase of.

“We fill the boat up and they’re sitting there and they can’t ignore it anymore. They’re on a boat that they’ve just filled up with trash.”

He now takes people out on it to go collect trash in St. Augustine’s waterways. He said that although most people go just to be on a boat, seeing the amount of trash that they collect in just one day shocks most people that go with him.

Morley hanging up laundry. He and Janine said that living on the power from their batteries has been more of a challenge since their son was born as they are up for more hours in the night using light and other forms of electricity.

Politically, Morley is very active in Tallahassee with the state government there and is running for State Representative for District 24 in this next election.

As a citizen, though, Morley said that when someone shows up to who is not paid to lobby there the politicians take notice because it’s very uncommon.

He said that he is running because he saw an opportunity to express the views of the people that live near him in regards to environmental concerns.

Adam and Janine Morley in their living room.

The Morley’s front entryway which has a “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” key holder.

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