November 02, 2011

recycling human waste

i have been reading "Toolbox for Sustainable Living".  my most recent attraction to the book has been how to dispose of human waste.  it provides a few ideas for creating a 'toilet'.  aside from the typical digging of a deep hole, i like the idea of building a straw bale base with a movable outhouse on top. :)  looked pretty cool in the book!

as i was reading i thought about these 4 neighbors i know who do not have indoor plumbing.  i started really wondering what they do with their waste.  today i walked to one of the family's homes who has a 17 year old daughter at home.  she is planning on becoming a nurse and i like how mature she is.  i brought the book with me and hoped that we could talk about it.  after sitting and chatting a bit, i asked her how do they manage their human waste.  she explained that they dig a hole each time and cover it up in a certain area of the land.  she explained that now it is starting to 'spoil' and they have started to use a new area.  she also said they were beginning to dig a big hole as well.

upon listening to her simple explanation, i thought about the practical reality of their lives.  it's very close to Nature.  it's peaceful.  it's respectful.  it's clean.  and it's sustainable.  they aren't flushing gallons or litres of clean water many times a day as we are.  they don't use cleansers to wash a toilet and then more water to rinse it away.  they just keep using undug areas in an exclusive area for their waste to nourish the soil.

i showed this young woman, Katrin, the book.  she was so incredibly happy to receive it, even if it was only to be borrowed.  she is interested in learning new techniques for this aspect of their lives, as well as gaining knowledge about the science of it all (carbon and nitrogen ratios for example).  it was a divine confirmation to get up out of my home and connect with another family in this way.  i will continue to share the book with other families once she is finished with it.

i admire families who live simply and sustainably.  it is something i'm always striving toward.  but what i love is how i can live and be so different from the families that are around me and yet it doesn't matter.  we are all learning from each other and sharing that invisible and most magnetic bond of love..all in the spirit of simply being neighbors. :)

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