Yep, you read that title correctly.
Today we are going to talk about the forgotten wisdom around POOP. I will unavoidably (and intentionally) smear some potty humour in here, but I also mean to have a real adult conversation. Things are about to get shitty.
I’m belting this word out into the open because we need to face our sentiment and reactions about poop. All variants of the word – from crap, shit, and turds, to butt truffles and dingleberries – are said with a giggle or as a curse (I dare you to yell “butt truffle” next time you stub your toe).
What’s wrong with this?
As grown ass adults we still have the mentality, the sensibility, and the wisdom of 5 year olds. Ultimately, you and I grew up learning how to be ashamed of pooping, and so we still carry that today. I mean, thankfully we don’t poop ourselves anymore and most of us use the bathroom in private, but somewhere in the training of these two tasks, every single one of us came to hold nothing but negativity, juvenile humour, and shame.
Certainly not wisdom.
As a result, we don’t wanna see it. EVER. Flush it away. Lickity shit… errr, “split”.
BUT THIS IS MADNESS. I want to illustrate just how crazy it is with a couple of examples and comparisons:
- For comparison sake, imagine if we took all our organic matter from our kitchens and put it in plastic bags to be compressed deep in a landfill. Wouldn’t that be “abturd”?
- What if took all our grass and leaves from our landscapes and we burnt them, or also put them into plastic bags?
Can you imagine what this would do over a couple decades to biological and nutrient cycles of our land?
I think we all can agree that that those two examples make absolutely no sense. After all, we all know from the Lion King that there is a Circle of life on this planet – from dust-to-dust – and that this cycle of life as we know it is dependent on the top few inches of the earth.
What most people fail to see is that the largest migration on earth is of these soils; a one-way street from fragile soils, into food, and then into shit. That part of the migration is natural. What isn’t natural is that humans then flush that soil away USING. DRINKING. WATER.
Every other creature on earth returns it back to the local ecosystem it got it from.
But this is just the beginning! Those water borne “cookies” are then pumped to a chemical treatment facility and then flushed into waterways! If it reaches the ocean it may enter into geological cycles that are thousands of years long.
By contrast, if that nutrient was instead safely returned back to the land which it came from, it then creates seemingly infinite cycles of life multiplication… including MORE FOOD. But we don’t. Ever wonder why we have so much chemical FERTILIZERS in agriculture today? If only we could use something else…
Our current system and habits need a flush. And honestly, the is THE MOST UNDER DISCUSSED TOPIC OF SUSTAINABLE LIVING; if we all get Tesla cars, solar panels, wear sheep for shirts, and eat organic food from local farmers’ markets… well that don’t mean shit if we don’t give a crap in the right place (safely).
Seriously. Every culture that abused their soils collapsed. Every culture that respected soil cycles enjoyed prosperity. Until the barbarians killed them of course. And maybe we will still die from some crazy people with weapons, certain people with small hands, who want to build walls, and launch nukes…. BUT as a culture, we don’t need to ensure our own collapse.
So how do we get there (a soil building society) from here?
…well people are hard to change. After all, 99% of us still carry the mentality of a five year old on this poop topic. Ever try to have a real conversation about poop with a 5 year old? As hard as changing others is, I do have advice – here is a blog post how I changed my family.
The #1 piece of advice though is to change ourselves first! And this is where I have EASY answers for you. You can enter wherever you are comfortable, and get tons of benefits, instead of just another “to-do” item to save the world.
Here are 4 different Options:
- Start a compost pile in the backyard – not the stinky kind. A healthy one that doesn’t smell and produces SUPER rich soil for whatever you’re growing…
- Leave your grass clippings on the lawn. Done right, this makes an under-thatch that feeds your grass and conserves soil moisture. The result? A greener, healthier lawn that you don’t need to buy fertilizer for.
- Start a Vermi-composting bin. Compost year round with less work! And you get 1000 pets that self-reproduce (worms). Before you cringe (if you’re THAT person), don’t worry, they stay in their bin as long as you keep them happy. And if you don’t… They’ll crawl out and take over your house, all evil and slimy, like the movie “Gremlins”. Just kidding, they just die.
- Look into alternative toilets. Composting toilets are truly what we ought to all be using… yes, there are incinerating toilets and toilets that vacuum seal your doody into military ration packages, but this misses the point! RECYCLE. And no, I also don’t mean outhouses. Those smell bad and are where a spider or fly gets WAY too close for comfort. Composting toilets that are well designed and managed DON’T smell and DON’T have bug issues. A real treat to use. Like tootsie roll treat.
Maybe you are sitting there laughing, saying “NOOOOOPE”, and expect your kids to save the world for you; but more than likely you get this already or got a perspective shift that will nudge you to take real measures to change your role in the soil cycle.
If you are ready to take the leap, well, there are plenty of resources on the internet. One to get you started is a FREE PDF book called – The Humanure Handbook. It’s got plenty of humour too! But if you want to supercharge your learning with skills here are 4 different workshops which get into it:
- Tiny House Workshop – (I teach you about 5 alternative toilets and how composting toilets work. Gain lifestyle and financial freedom by learning how to design and build a house!)
- Sustainable Homes Workshop – (Learn how to improve the water, nutrients, and energy systems of your home. Save money and enjoy a comfortable, sustainable house that meets your needs.)
- Edible Landscaping Workshops – (Learn how to design, build, and plant an edible, sustainable an landscape including numerous compost systems!)
- Permaculture Design Course – (A two week training on how to become a designer of sustainable living – for your home, your property, your family, your community.)
See you soon and feel free to share this shitty blog post on social media! Let’s change the public perception! 🙂
(Kenton is a passionate educator for sustainable living. He runs a wide array of workshops to help others – wherever they are at – so they can create awesome and sustainable homes, landscapes, and communities.)