Archive for the 'technology' Category

SuperForest Revampalicious!

464604_10201143215930401_604690944_o Gooooooood Morning SuperForest! Spam comments, writerly inactivity, and a general feeling of blah seem to have crept in and set up shop at this url. What is this site, you may ask? What purpose could these words and images serve? I myself have wondered that very thing multiple times a day since the site was created. At first, the site was a place for me to store inspiring tidbits. In its “Team SuperForest” incarnation, SF was a rallying point for a motivated group of netters who wanted to connect and share and were excited about the “I am the environment meme.” What it is now is anybody’s guess. So, let’s take it apart, examine the pieces, and put it all back together again! The problem with SuperForest in its current incarnation is simple: It has no leader and thus no coherent point of reference. At one point in time, I was the leader and spent many, many hours online, sitting in front of a glowing box, uploading and downloading words and pictures. I no longer spend much time online. Online means indoors, looking at a box. I much prefer outside, in the garden, in the sun, putting plants in the ground and dealing with my new and improved SuperForest Social Network (aka, the people and things I see and encounter every single day.) Gone are the days when I organized virtually. Now, I organize actually. Melissa and I spend the majority of our waking hours organizing

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the physical manifestation of the SuperForest, now called Stellar Gardens. Meant as both a tribute and a life raft for our daughter Stellar, Stellar Gardens is what you would get if you took the Humanifesto really, really, seriously, and actively made the environment an extension of yourself. That means we’ve bought a five acre piece of land and are using it to create, refine, and share the techniques used to do it yourself. That means sharing this land with a number of families. That means creating a big old chunk of crazy and watching as it self-assembles into a working prototype. The work is still very much in progress. Since I am no longer a digital ringleader and have transitioned to physical ringleader, the site has languished. Great word: LANGUISHED. Here’s what I’ma gonna do: Re-define things! SuperForest is now going to be a site were we aggregate and share the behaviors we develop at Stellar Gardens. In addition, a new Humanifesto will update the document I wrote in 2000-ish to include all that I’ve learned in the past several years. When I wrote the Humanifesto, the SuperForest was a mere concept. I’ve since seen that SuperForesting is real and has real results. The site will show people the results of the behaviors that accompany SuperForesting. The site will lead the curious and interested to Stellar Gardens, where, if one so desires, one can come to learn firsthand our techniques for bridging the gap between consumerism and regenerative living. The chasm is wide, but not insurmountable, and we can help. Team SuperForest will now mean anyone who has read the site and is in any way sympathetic to the cause. Participation will not be required. One can be a SuperForester and not even know it. To become an elite within the known echelon of SuperForesters will require taking part in the creation of an actual piece of the SuperForest. Whether that “taking part” happens at Stellar Gardens or at an as yet undetermined piece of land is up to each SuperForester. So: SuperForest becomes the note on the bulletin board telling you that school has been dismissed early. Stellar Gardens becomes the forest that we laugh and play in as we re-learn how to be human beings in the absence of meta-cultural/familial conditioned responses. There is a way out. Shoots, there are MANY ways out. If you want to exit, we can help. The other side is brighter and more fun than anything you can imagine. If it seems lonely at first, it’s probably because most SuperForesters are outside in their gardens, not clacking away online. Soon the edges of the gardens will begin to meet. Already we’re seeing certain trends and patterns emerge: aquaculture, hugelkultur, permaculture, air lifts, passive water heaters, rocket stoves, community creation, emotional responsibility, Universalism. All these patterns are there for those with the eyes to see them. This site should lead you physically to Stellar Gardens, and Stellar Gardens should lead you emotionally back to the SuperForest. Question: How do you cool down a rapidly heating planet, steaming in a aerial broth of CO2? Answer: Plant a shit ton of trees and plants. Question: How do you encourage people to stop consuming and start producing (aka planting trees and plants?) Answer: Point out how numbing, boring, destructive, and stupid-making consumerism is, while simultaneously highlighting the joys of SuperForesting. Game on. 965882_10201136938533470_372474547_o

The Sticky Human Conundrum – How Hot Water Worshippers Will Save the World

Screen Shot 2013-02-20 at 9.25.56 PM Good Morning SuperForest, In the three years that I’ve been playing the community creation/permaculture game, I’ve noticed one very important through line: water. Specifically, the shared access to clean, hot water. Hot water and how it is distributed is the number one factor in the success or failure of a community, and on a larger level a society as a whole. Here’s why… We humans are very good at leaking. We pee, we poo, we shed hair, we shed skin flakes. A great deal of the dust in our homes is made up of our dead skin particles. Our bodies are, let’s face it, smelly, sticky, often leaking things, and we must deal with that fact from the day we attain self-awareness to the day we die. But our cities and the machinery that surrounds us are not based on this basic fact. They are based on the needs and desires of a consumer driven society. A society where you travel from home to work to grocery store to place of recreation and entertainment. But imagine for a second that all four of those places were the same place. Your home was your work, your work was your grocery store, your very home was a place of vast unending entertainment. You could, if you liked, remain comfortably and happily within the borders of your home all the live long day and still get time outside and in the garden. Screen Shot 2013-02-20 at 9.33.30 PM Obviously in this new paradigm we are using creative definitions of words like “home”, “work”, “grocery store”, etc. But let’s follow it through and see where it leads, and what it has to do with hot water. Imagine a society based around two ideas: 1. That fresh, clean, drinkable water was our most precious resource. 2. That every human had, by simple fact of birth, equal right to consume and access this water. OK, now let’s add to this freaky new society the data that we’ve gleaned on humans and their needs, namely that they need to drink clean water, irrigate with reasonably clean water, wash clothing and bedding, and use water for myriad industrial/manufacturing uses. We see that this new water worshipping society would have some interesting design challenges on their hands. How do you factor in the need of humans to essentially pollute the water they come into contact with with the idea that water is precious, holy, necessary and must be kept clean to be useful? The answer of course is creative design! The answer in this case is in the integration with the human system of the garden system. Combine the human needs with the garden’s needs and everybody wins! It could work like this: You wake up, you get out of bed and go into the shower. The shower runs a mixture of recycled filtered water and filtered rainwater. Both of these were collected, stored, and filtered by the building you live in. The shower rinses your body clean and the water mixed with your sweat, skin, hair, fluids, and biodegradable soap flows through a grey water system which uses passive gravity and plant based systems to simply and effectively clean this water. You see, plants absolutely love things like pee, sweat, and soap bubbles. All the things that humans produce are what plants crave, and happily all the things plants produce are what humans crave, namely: food! Our mutual need for water unites us in a loop of self-reinforcing mutualism. Screen Shot 2013-02-20 at 9.31.39 PM The recycled water from your shower filtered through a grey water system that uses plants, microbes, and passive materials like sand and gravel to clean it. The water is then used in the laundry system, and then recycled once more into the garden. In permaculture we call this function stacking; in this case the function we are stacking is share and clever use and re-use of water. The simplicity of the system is delightful. From human to garden to human to garden, as long as the water passes from one to the next in the proper sequence, the theoretical yield of this wonderfully precious water is limitless. We could conceivably design our buildings (i.e. homes) to collect, store, filter, heat and distribute hot water. Our buildings could also house our gardens, baths, kitchens, and laundry systems. All systems that we humans share that require the use of water must be consolidated and streamlined with an eye towards creative re-use and shared access. Screen Shot 2013-02-20 at 9.36.38 PM Indeed, in order to succeed as a society, we must now set about changing our consumer based living system to a clean water based living system. In order to do it, we need a critical mass of people to remove themselves from the consumer machine and create a viable life outside of it, a life based on the two ideas of the preciousness of water, and the inalienable right of every human being to access it. Will you be one of the ones that breaks away? Will you opt out? There are ways to live outside of the system that are amazing and thrilling. The old ways are ending and new ways are needed. The old ways got us here, thank them, praise them, now let’s move forward. We have wonderful bodies that have needs. Our needs as a species are not being met by our current system, and so we need a system that works. That system will be based on these two ideas. In a nutshell, that’s what three years of first hand study have taught me. You can reduce this incredibly complex issue down to that simple equation. Clean hot water; do you have it, and where did you get it? It is an entirely new world. I love you. Have fun. -Jackson Screen Shot 2013-02-20 at 9.49.59 PM  

Stellar Gardens IndieGogo!

Goooooood Morning SuperForest!

I’ve just got done putting together a movie about the last few years of my life, including how SuperForest was created, moving to Kauai, meeting Melissa, the birth of our daughter Stellar, and the community land project we are building.

If you like this and want to support us, please share this link with your family and friends. We’re trying to get this message out to as many young families and parents-to-be as possible, and your help is so greatly appreciated.

Thank you very much for being you. None of this would be happening without you.

LOVE!

-Jackson

Man Builds Own Island out of Plastic Bottles

Richie Sowa is a SuperForest Hero. He built his own private island out of

plastic bottles that he collected from local beaches and restaurants! Genius.

Where does New York City’s Garbage Go?

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Jackson’s Journal – Together (Part 2)

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If you were to sit down right now and write a list of the behaviors you were going to engage in or avoid each and every day, with the

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goal being that the cumulative effect of these behaviors would help the Western and Eastern worlds transition to a bright green future, what would be on that list? When I think about it, one of the first things that comes to mind is just how hard things are for the fish. Fish stocks worldwide are in serious trouble, with many on the point of total extinction. Fish like the Blue Fin Tuna, or the Atlantic Cod. Once plentiful and healthy, these species have ben decimated by over fishing and pollution. The tuna is slated for extinction this very year. So, on my list is: I will not buy fish from people I don’t know. That way, local small time fishermen (who have traditionally been sustainable managers of fish stocks) get business, and industrial fishing companies do not. Industrial fishing would suffer and scale back, and local fishing economies would boom. Local wins, fishes win, everybody wins except Big Industrial which has served its purpose and now must end. My hope is that we can collectively list a set of behaviors that as SuperForesters we will avoid/engage in. And collectively we will enact these behaviors and entice others to copy us by being sexy and happy and having so much fun. And thus the fish are saved and we change the world for the better, together. Here is a prototype of my list. I very much look forward to reading y’alls! Jackson’s Seven Generations List: 1. I have decided to take responsibility for all of my thoughts and feelings. No one can make me feel any way that I do not choose. The totality of existence is my responsibility. 2. I will buy fish only from people I know personally. 3. I have stopped buying disposable plastic. 4. I live by the permaculture ethics of Earth Care, People Care, Fair Share. 5. I grow my own food and share it with others. 6. I collect my own water, and I understand how my plumbing system works. 7. I have begun composting my humanure. 8. I plant gardens and trees. 9. I will share what I know with anyone who asks it of me. 10. I steward land instead of owning it. 11. I recognize the unity of all things, and travel through my day accordingly. 12. I help to spread the Humanifesto. There we go. Twelve things that I am working on. Sometimes I poop in water. Sometimes I go to sushi bars. I am working very hard on not doing those thing unconsciously, and know exactly what it means when I choose to engage in anti-social behavior. If you’re going to destroy something, at least do

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it smiling. :) This should be a fun exercise. What is on your Seven Generations list? Which of my things resonate with you? I’m very excited to see what happens next. LOVE! -Jackson    

Water Facts Sheet – Degrees of Thirst

This just came in from SuperForester Mary-Beth!

Degrees of Thirst
Created by: www.OnlineAssociatesDegree.com

Don’t forget the dubious African Child Meme!

Lulz!

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Cheers, Mary-Beth!

Jackson’s Journal – Together

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Good Evening SuperForest,

Melissa is laying next to me on the bed. Stellar Joy is fussing on Melissa’s chest. She’s usually fussy at this time in the evening. Today our daughter is thirteen days old. Today she went in the ocean for the first time. Yesterday we looked at the moon together.

I have been thinking a lot about Stellar Joy, and how she will feel when she is my age, thirty four, and how she will turn thirty four in the year 2046. What will 2046 look like for my daughter? For all our sons and daughters?

I have been thinking about a SuperForest vow of purity. An oath. A list of instructions. A set of behaviors. Some code of conduct that, if we collectively choose to engage in it, will result in a brighter, greener, spacier, cooler, more equitable 2046.

But what should this look like? What should it say? Should it be a list? How long a list?

Here’s a prototype of what’s been rattling in my head. I was hoping that we could read it, think about it, come up with suggestions and together we could come up with something.

The SuperForest Vow of Present Day Awesomeness (For the Future)

Part One – Mental Calibration

Your entire life, you’ve been taught one fundamental lesson. This lesson is so deeply rooted in our cultural (and actual DNA) that it is invisible, and the lesson is this:

That you are a body.

The underlying message is that you are a body and your body does this, and likes that, and engages in these behaviors in this location. Your body has a story, with a beginning a middle and an end, and when the story of your body ends, so will you, and that will be that. Your story, like a closed book, on some giant bookshelf of souls. Over.

But this is not my experience. My experience is that I am not a body, nor am I a mind. My experience is that whatever I am, it is that which is experiencing the movement of my body and mind, a distinctly third party entity.

And that third party, that which is not body and is not mind, I call life. You call it life too. We all call it life, and that is what we are, life. Life with no beginning and life without end. Life without location, because life creates location. Without life, there is no need for location. But we agree that we are alive, and yes, there is life. Life here on Earth. Life probably on Mars. Maybe life spread everywhere and everywhen.

Life without boundary and life throughout time. That is what I am. That is what you are as well.

This is not the same as the story of a body. The story of the body is a story that will end. This is the story of life eternal. This is the story of limitless power, and endless stamina. If we remember that we are not bodies, but rather that we HAVE bodies, then we can operate from the state of universal oneness called being truly alive. This oneness is a source of great energy, and by properly remembering it, keeping it in mind and body at all times, we can push our bodies and minds to higher heights than we ever thought possible.

So, here’s the mental calibration list:

1. I take responsibility for the entirety of the known Universe. All of this, being me, is entirely my choice, my fault, and ultimately my responsibility. I take on this responsibility with a happy heart.

2. I am not a body.

3. I am not a mind.

4. I am Life.

5. Everything is life.

6. I am everything. Limitless. Eternal.

7. I am here to have fun.

Okey doke, so with that in mind, you should no longer fear death, since death is an impossibility for you, oh endless and eternal life. So whatever happens here on Earth, be it nuclear catastrophe, New World Order, mass extinction, or total green revolution and a reorganizing of everything according to the Oneness Have Fun principle, we can accept all this and more with happy hearts and perfect impassivity, for whatever comes to pass we know we chose specifically, for maximum fun.

(Continued in Part Two)

Heather’s Journal: What the Frack?

Hey SuperForest Friends!

I first heard about “fracking” from the oh-so-handsome and intelligent Mark Ruffalo. Once I got past his dreamy hair and midwestern accent, I actually started listening to what he was saying. Did you know that people are drilling into the ground and pumping chemicals and toxic fluids into the cracks using massive pressure to release more sources of natural gas? As fans of alternative energy sources, I believe all SuperForesters should research more about fracking along with me,

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and spread the word that this is not a good idea.

What is fracking, anyway? Well, it’s actually called hydraulic fracturing, and besides my quick description above, there’s

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a really good scienc-y explanation here.

Environmental Superman David Suzuki recently wrote a very informative article on the subject, outlining the main reasons that hydraulic fracturing (tracking) is not an environmentally sound practice, and I quote:

Hydraulic fracturing requires massive amounts of water. Disposing of the toxic wastewater, as well as accidental spills, can contaminate drinking water and harm human health. And pumping wastewater into the ground can further increase earthquake risk. Gas leakage also leads to problems, even causing tap water to become flammable! In some cases, flaming tap water is the result of methane leaks from fracking. And methane is a far more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide!

Today I saw the trailer for the Gus Van Sant film, Promised Land, written by Matt Damon and John Krasinski. First of all, it’s good to see people in the spotlight shining a light on important environmental issues. Secondly, if the trailer is any indication, this film looks as though it will not only reveal the environmental hazards of fracking, but also speak to the individual, personal actions we can all take, starting within our own hearts and minds to approach how we do things differently.

As our humanifesto states,

The Environment is everything that disappears when you close your eyes. If you want to improve it, you must begin with what you see and encounter every single day of your life.

Don’t forget to learn more and spread this message, SuperForesters! Just think of the shift we can help create…maybe one big enough so that they don’t have to shift the rocks beneath fertile farming soils any longer.

Yours in love with farms and not so much with fracking,

SuperForester Heather

Collaboration Imagination Station

Heyyyyo, SuperForest!!

Check it. This is what 2,601 rad people collaborating together in music, dance, art, film, performance and technology looks like! {via Ze Frank and Mr. (Christopher) Norman}:

Amazing! Way to go, everyone who participated!!

If these awesome people can do this, imagine what we SuperForesters can do!

Any ideas?

Love!

SuperForester Heather

The Zeer Pot Fridge Keeps Your Greens Fresh

(Image via Practical Action)

She harvests her vegetables, fresh greens and bell peppers. She knows she has at most two days to sell all her fresh harvests before they begin to spoil and will fetch no money at the market. With no access to electricity and little money, how will she keep her produce ready for the market?

This is a very real problem in developing nations around the world. The Zeer pot fridge keeps perishable goods fresh for up to 3 weeks. All that is required? 2 pots of varying size, sand, a burlap sack and a hot, dry climate. Using complicated (probably simple to most people) laws of thermodynamics (is that even applicable here? sounds fancy enough, is all.), the Zeer pot fridge is cheap and easy to build. Most of all it can drastically change the lives of those in need of simple innovations such as this. Great way for those of us looking to live off the grid to keep some of those organics fresher for longer.

(via Gizmodo)

p.s. found a YouTuber with a DIY video.

see also: Pot-in-pot wiki

Jackson’s Journal – Team Freshwater

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Gooooood Morning SuperForest!

As I think I made clear in my last post, I spend a lot of time thinking about and dealing with water. In my world, water truly is life. Access to it dictates the growth of my gardens, the cleanliness of my body and clothes, the ease and comfort with which I travel through my days.

Without it, I’d be in dire circumstances.

When I lived in New York I barely thought about water. I mean, I thought about it all the time, but in an abstract and removed way. I thought things like: clean water is important. I thought things like: access to clean water should be considered a human right.

Good thoughts these, but removed from the nitty gritty of the issue. My problem was a remote, consumer-centric, “they” should have better access to water and doesn’t it get me steamed that we in the West treat water with such disdain sort of head trip.

A good example of my silliness was the idea for Team Freshwater. Team Freshwater was something that I schemed up with the help of SuperForester Carla. The idea was to create a group of people who promoted sustainable water usage and directed attention to the work of Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak, an Indian humanitarian and water rights activist who has built many low-water use toilets throughout India. The communal toilets that Dr. Pathak and his team build help free the caste of Indians called “Untouchables” whose job it is to crawl under the homes of more affluent Indians and empty their privies.

This unfortunate job is done mainly by women who are often made very sick by the exposure to raw human waste. The sickness of the mother often means that the eldest daughter has to step in and take over the job of scraping up poo with their hands into a bucket, carrying the bucket on their heads to wherever they can find to dump it.

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When Dr. Pathak and Co. come in an build a communal village toilet, it means that legions of women and girls no longer have to work as poo-scraper-uppers. Pathak’s work is truly marvelous. He has built thousands of toilets throughout the Indian continent, freed thousand of women and children from disgusting servile slavery, and the proceeds from the small fee for using the toilets go to re-education for former Untouchable women.

The man is a saint. His work is amazing. But do we really need another group of bleeding heart Westerners moaning and chest thumping about the plight of Indians and sustainable water usage while they simultaneously poop and pee in the very clean water that they are bemoaning other humans lack of?

Did I really want to ramp up my hypocrisy that high? It’s right to admire Pathak. It’s right to want sustainable water usage on a large-scale level. But to do all of this and still use a Western-style flush toilet is absurd.

Kicking the flush toilet habit was one of my goals for living sustainably here on Kauai. If I can stop pooping and peeing in water, then and only then would I be able to talk about sustainable water usage and the work of Dr. Pathak without hypocrisy. Only then could I begin Team Freshwater.

So here we are.

Ladies and Gents, SuperForesters, I present to you: Team Freshwater.

To join things on the internet is very easy. Click a button. “Like” some new brand thing. In creating Team Freshwater I wanted to create a team that would be VERY HARD to join.

To join Team Freshwater you must stop pooping and peeing in clean water.

Bammy! That’s it. Stop pooping and peeing in your water and you can claim to your friends, neighbors, and fellow net denizens that you are a member of Team Freshwater. Creative, willing, and brave you must be to join this team.

Will you do it? The odds are certainly stacked against you. If you live in an apartment, or a house and have no access to open land, and you cannot poop into a toilet, where then will you poop? In a bucket, most likely. But when that bucket is full where will you empty it? How will you empty it? How will you turn your “waste” into “not waste”?

Here’s how I do it:

Melissa and I both do our business into five gallon buckets. The bucket is dug down so as to be flush with the ground. When I have to go, I squat over the bucket holding an old plastic cup under my schnitzel to catch the pee. I do my business, sprinkle a mixture of peat moss and cedar shavings over the poo, and pop the lid back on. The cup of pee is poured under a tree.

It takes a week or two for us to fill the bucket, and when it is near full I pull the bucket out of the hole and set it in the sun for a few weeks. A clean bucket goes in the hole, a layer of peat moss/cedar goes on the bottom, and the process continues. After the full bucket has sat in the sun for a while I make a little nest of leaves in the compost bin that I have made specifically for our poo. Into this nest in the heap I dump the bucket and quickly cover the now dehydrated and broken down poo with leaves and a layer of dirt. I then spray the now-empty bucket with a diluted hydrogen peroxide solution and set it in the sun.

We have three five gallon buckets dedicated to this task. One is in use while one sits in the sun while one sits empty and waiting. It is a very effective and non-gross system and it uses ZERO water. The wash water for the buckets gets poured at the base of fruit trees and covered in dirt. No flies. No cholera. No typhus. No worries.

I know this sounds totally disgusting. I know it through and through. I’ve written before about how pooping in water is a huge part of our conditioning. We’re not “good” boys or girls unless we poop and pee in a toilet and thus pollute 1.6 gallons a drinking water every time we flush. Get that? We’re “dirty and gross” unless we pollute.

Getting over this conditioned poo-phobia has been a huge part of setting myself free and starting Team Freshwater.

What is very funny is that once I was over the conditioned response to responsibly handling my own humanure, I found that it is not only infinitely more sustainable and environmentally responsible, my method is actually much cleaner than the old way. Cleaning a cat box is far more gross than composting Melissa’s and my humanure.

I’ve found that much of my conditioned poo-phobia was based on three very faulty ideas:

1.) The idea that flush toilets are cleaner than composting toilets.

This is totally false, as anyone who has ever plunged or cleaned a toilet can attest. Flush toilets clog often and overflow. That overflow runs onto your bathroom floor, into the cracks in the tiles, onto the carpet, into the floorboards, down into your neighbor’s ceiling. When it rains sewer systems (which were not built to withstand rain apparently) purge millions of gallons of untreated human waste into our oceans. Every year this happens.

Next to every toilet sits a little scrubby brush in a little holder and perhaps a plunger. How clean are those brushes and those plungers? Not very. Compost your poo and you will not have to deal with this. Flush toilets themselves, while being white and made of porcelain are often poorly maintained, thus giving the illusion of cleanliness while being a breeding ground for funky bacteria. My buckets get a good scrub when they are empty, and thus are much cleaner than flush toilets. When is the last time you scrubbed your toilet in its entirety?

Ironically, composting your humanure means that you will have less exposure to poo than in the old system. The flush toilet system means that you have to take zero responsibility for your waste. There it is in the bowl, flush the handle and there it goes, off to whatever fairyland poo goes to visit when you are done with it. All is fine and good until something in the system breaks and you must call a plumber to come out and wade through the stream of nastiness that you created.

Furthermore, a composting toilet system means that you will never, ever, again have to feel polluted water plash against your butt as you sit on the can.

2.) The idea that flush toilets are more environmentally sound than composting your own humanure.

Ever use the toilet and not have everything go down on the first flush? What about the second flush? Or even the third? I’ve rarely had to flush a toilet more than three times to clear it, but the fact remains that with each flush 1.6 gallons of fresh water are polluted. Flush a toilet three times and you’ve polluted nearly five gallons of fresh water.

Now multiply this three flushes by each person in America using the toilet roughly three times a day and you end up with a volume of water too staggeringly huge to comprehend. Water that we’ve polluted and must be handled and treated every single day. It’s insane.

The flush toilet came about in an era when people thought it was fine to fling the contents of ones chamber pot into the street from a high window. Admittedly, a flush toilet and municipal sewer system is far better than having poo flung into the street. But there is a world of difference between simply flinging your poo into the street and responsibly composting it yourself. What is funny is the striking similarity between flinging your poo into the street and flush toilet systems; both represent a “let someone else deal with it” mentality.

3.) The idea that flush toilets use less energy than a composting system.

The water in your toilet comes from somewhere. When you flush it goes somewhere too. The arrival and departure of that water represents a huge amount of energy and infrastructure. Think of all the people employed as plumbers and sewer workers and toilet scrubbers and poo-carriers. Think of all of the products designed to help de-stink and sanitize your toilet. Think of all of the people engaged in the creation, marketing, sales, and distrubition of those products.

The energy required by the flush toilet system is an order of magnitude greater than the energy that I expend in responsibly and personally handling my waste stream. When I choose to deal with my own waste, it negates the needs for all that infrastructure, all those products, all those jobs. I am no longer reliant on those fragile and needless systems. If the water goes off, I am unaffected. If the power goes out, my system stands strong. If gas

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prices skyrocket and the sanitizing and cleaning product flow ceases, my system is unaffected. If I cannot get peat moss and cedar chips for my bucket I can use leaves, grass, dirt, hair, whatever.

Turn off the water and power in New York city and see how long people will want to stay on the island of Manhattan. Think of the stench wafting Eastward over Brooklyn.

What we need is large scale, waterless, municipal composting of humanure. A system that uses nature instead of industry to deal with our outputs. Because we do not have that system, the onus is on us as anti-consumers to blaze a new path. We must create the new way for ourselves, as it seems that change will not come from outside of us.

Questions arise:

Q: What about the danger of handling infectious waste?

A: Infectious waste comes from infected people. Infected people are often very sick and thus are in treatment at a hospital. Their waste must be handled with greater care than a non-infectious persons. But healthy people make healthy poo. Healthy poo breaks down quickly and the component chemicals within (nitrogen, magnesium, phosphorous, calcium, iron) are very good for plants, not to mention very expensive to buy and ship. Keep a separate compost pile for composting humanure and spread the resulting compost on already established trees and not on leafy greens and risk of exposure is minimal.

Q: Isn’t handling poo really gross?

A: Yes. But I’m not handling poo. I’m moving buckets around, spreading leaves, digging dirt. Composting my poo and gardening are very similar activities. In fact, they are so similar I cannot see the remove between them. I don’t poop or pee in water and so have more water to use on my garden, and the composted remnants of my poo are exactly what my plants need to thrive. Win/win/win.

Also, isn’t it funny how squeamish people can be about their poo when you consider that it comes from inside of us? One moment it’s in your body and all is fine. The next moment it’s in a bucket, separate from you and now it’s disgusting. This separation anxiety is a classic fixture of the consumer mentality. It’s a part of me and so it’s good vs. it’s not a part of me and so it’s bad.

Q: How does it feel when you are not on your land and you must use the toilet?

A: Weird. To poop in water feels really weird. I walk outside to pee. My mother makes fun of me for this. There is a cold hearted thrill I get from pooping in water now. A dark, black part of me laughs and laughs. It feels like the most anti-social thing I can think of, and when I do it, I appreciate not only that I no longer have to do it, but the madness of how long I mindlessly did it in the first place.

Q: Earlier you wrote that the Indian women who have to deal with poo are often made very sick by their exposure to human waste, yet here you say that it is safe to handle. What is the difference?

A: The Untouchable caste in India is made to crawl under houses and scrape humanure into buckets and bowls. Often they use shovels and whisks to do this, but sometimes they must use their hands. Once their buckets are full, they walk with them on their heads to wherever they dump them. When it is raining it means that the buckets overflow, and waste-tinged poo water will run down onto the head and face of the noble women carrying them.

To get poo on ones hands or have it run into ones eyes would be very dangerous. I am not advocating that in any way, shape, or form. I am advocating a system of self-reliance, where each of us individually arrives at the choice to compost our own poo, and not simply fob the job off onto the plumber, the sewer worker, the Untouchable. My poo is my issue. To make it your issue against your will is to do violence against you.

When it rains in California, and the sewers overflow into the Pacific Ocean and the beaches must be closed, and sea life is threatened, and the environment contaminated, this is a tremendous act of violence against ourselves. Yet this violence remains the status quo, and thus far nothing is being done to change it. How many times must sewage overflow into our oceans before we move to change something?

When I lived in New York, I rented a basement apartment in a brownstone in Brooklyn. The sewer line between the house and the main on the street got clogged, or cracked, or was somehow rendered inoperable. A human being (plumber) had to come out, drill a hole in the wall of the basement, and crawl through that hole, through a stream of waste, in order to ascertain and remedy the problem. To force another human being to do this by technological and economic necessity is a violence against them, and by extension, a violence against us all.

To join Team Freshwater means to give up this violence.

There is a new age upon us, SuperForesters. An age of reason, logic, beauty, and love. One of the hallmarks of this new age will be the voluntary giving up of violence. To compost ones own poo is a huge step toward creating this new violence-free world. It’s funny to think it, but it is true.

I deal with my poo, now you deal with yours. Can you do it? Do you dare?

Q: I live in an apartment in the city, how can I possibly compost my own poo?

A: It will be very difficult, but it can be done. Imagine the changes in

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your life if you took on this level of self-responsibility. Conceivably you could use the same bucket system that we use, but you’d need a place to empty the buckets. That means teaming up with someone who is sympathetic to your wish to responsibly compost your own poo, someone with a bit of land for your compost heap. This land could be as big as a farm or as small as a back yard. What if every other weekend you ferried your buckets out of the city to a bit of countryside where you kept and maintained your compost heap? To take on this task would mean to change your lifestyle considerably, but all for the better. You would be spending more time outdoors. You would be raking leaves, and shoveling dirt. You would be making friends with farmers and people who have land and most likely use it to produce food. All good things. You would be doing what so very few others are doing and thus you could feel good about being quite elite in a time when being elite at anything is very difficult.

Ultimately you’d be better served to leave the city and find yourself a piece of land. With humanure composting comes gardening, with gardening comes food, with food comes feeding people the excess abundance. This cycle produces community and neighborliness. Sharing and caring levels rise, separation and environmental destruction levels drop.

Team Freshwater, y’all. It’s where it’s at. Pooping in your water is so yesterday.

Love,

Jackson

For further reading:

Jackson’s Journal – I Poop in a Hole
SuperForest Heroes – Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak & Sulabh International

p.s. Remember:

 

 

300 Years of Fossil Fuels in 300 Seconds

Check out PostCarbon.org