Why Are We Wasting Our Waste?

This will be the first entry in a series of posts located in my Dilemmas and Solutions category. Here we’ll explore, in no particular order, some concrete issue’s that we face as a society.

 

The western industrialized world tends to consider itself civilized. After all we’ve got private automobiles for transporting our mostly out of shape physiques from one place to another at our whim. We’ve got those giant tv’s with remotes, so we don’t have to move from the couch. We’ve even got couches filled with toxic materials that we place our being upon. We’ve got food products right there on the shelf, never mind that there’s only two or three days worth in any given location. We’ve got heat and ac, that is our right, we don’t even have to be acclimated to the natural world anymore. Wow, what prowess.

And then there’s indoor plumbing, that innovation that removed us even further from our environment. We are civilized here, we just sit down and allow the remnants of our digestion to be whisked away with—potable water. Is flushing and throwing away our waste products really civilized though? Are they even to be considered waste? Certainly the alleviation of rampant disease created from sewage running in the streets is a welcome sign of a civilized society. Indeed. But has anything been lost?

I am proposing that on the contrary—this unquestioned practice is in fact barbaric. Here’s why. We humans eat food, food that has been grown from the elements of earth and from soil, from which our plants take in nutrients. When we eat them raw or moderately prepared, a wondrous dining experience, these precious life forms provide us with our own nutrients. But we have taken, and what have we given back? We have taken the plants and thereby the energy and nutrients from within the soil. This equation of taking cannot continue indefinitely, and eventually the soil becomes degraded. Our barbarity has been in thinking that applying chemicals or even the manure of other animals will balance out this equation of taking. Our depleted soils and the extreme loss of topsoil clearly shows that our industrialized model isn’t working so well.

Back to the sitting and flushing scenario—We are taking from our soils, ingesting, digesting and then flushing away the very materials from our own bodies that would provide balance to the equation. Our fecal matter is precious, yet our civilized barbarity lets us just throw it away—again with pure drinking water.

What is wrong with us? Are we so afraid of touching that which would close the loop in the creation cycle? Perhaps we call it shit because we eat shitty products that some corporations call food. If instead we ate, at the very least organic food, grown by ourselves, or at least grown locally and in season—precious life giving and sustaining food, we’d recognize our place within this splendor and see that what has moved through our bodies is in fact FOOD for the soil and the organisms within it. Our humanure, no longer to be called shit, is a commodity of great, great value. When carefully composted it is an antidote to our barbarity.

Water is precious and becoming scarce. To continue to flush away nutrients, while considering them waste with clean water is another sign of a civilization in steep decline. Our alleged affluence, arrogance and outright fear is causing extreme danger to the majority of the worlds people. Our current western lifestyle is not our highest calling, not the best that humans are capable of. We can do better. We can begin the difficult work of reclaiming our natural functions and creating systems to replenish our earths soils with parts of us. We are an integral part of creation and the universe. It is time to inhabit our place within it responsibly and evolve.

 

Two great sources of information along these lines are—“The Humanure Handbook” by Joseph Jenkins and the 2009 book “What We Leave Behind” by Derrick Jensen and Aric McBay.

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One Response to “Why Are We Wasting Our Waste?”

  1. Poop is the one thing that links everyone on this planet…an in commonness that noone talks about, carrying shame with every flush. Thank you for your view on the “shit storm” we create when we are so care – less in our lives and do not think about, talk about and recta-fy these alarming issues. Dr. Oz on Oprah did shows on health and his most popular show by far and one of the most viewed shows in Oprah’s history was on Poop. Thanks for giving it to us Matthew.

    I hope we wake up a little or allot.
    Maya Christobel
    http://www.theheartspaceblog.com

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