25 November 2010

The Poop that Went Bloop

***The following is a short story I wrote earlier this year in April to help inspire our psychological and physical transformation from a flushing, septic system to a dry, composting toilet for our human waste. It has taken us a while, but one composting toilet is already in use in Los Brujos and more designs are currently in process. Enjoy!***

A time not so long ago, poop was silent. It fell to the ground and became part of the earth where it fell. Then some plumbers invented a system of flushing poop away with water. The first poop to fall into that water went BLOOP and people were fascinated. Everyone wanted their poop to go BLOOP. It made an otherwise embarrassing exercise have a fun sound and with the push of a lever, the poop disappeared out of sight, out of mind. Oh, how the people rushed to install their flushable gadgets that would make their poop go BLOOP!

Cities spent millions of dollars to widen their sewers and prepare water-sanitizing stations to handle all the blooping poop that their citizens were flushing away every hour of every day. Poop everywhere was going BLOOP, but it was ending up in big, concentrated piles at the edges of places where people don’t go. These places grew toxic amounts of bacteria and sent plumes of harmful gas into the atmosphere. Water that passed through or nearby these places soon became a soiled mess that no longer nourished the land nor the creatures that it touched. Cities spent more money trying to clean up the mess that the blooping poop created, and even more money fighting over who was responsible.

Meanwhile, poop continued to go BLOOP without pause and no one had any intention of stopping this glorious new sound. When the flower beds withered from the lack of household compost, people bought bags of fertilizer and pesticide chemicals to restore their plants’ vigor. When their wells turned sour form the chemicals dumped on their yards, people began buying water back from the city; water that was so heavily treated with chemicals in order to be sanitized that people also bought special filters just to make the water drinkable. But even after all the hassle, no one questioned the arrangement of poop going BLOOP and poop continued BLOOPing with so much popularity that new generations grew up without even pausing to wonder at the mysterious BLOOP made by their poop.

Until one day it happened: the sewers backed up and overflowed into the streets and septic tanks reached their full capacity. Trucks came to haul away the mess, but the dumping grounds were also full and there was no where left to send the brown, watery slop. Poop stopped blooping, but no one stopped pooping and the smells were soon intolerable. Mayors blamed officials and officials blamed workers and workers blamed the citizens who were once their happy customers. Everyone was fed up and they now saw the disaster of the poop that went BLOOP with new eyes. The land and the air and the water was contaminated with the waste of blooping poop and all the chemicals necessary to treat that mess. Millions of dollars had been spent trying to contain the waste and now millions more would be necessary to keep poop blooping. People demanded a better solution, something they could do immediately to clean up their neighborhoods and to discard their daily waste.

Thankfully, every city had at least a few older folks who remembered the silence of poop from previous generations. People learned about compost and separating their pee from their poop. They built many small, unique structures to allow their waste a space to decompose, for families, for groups, even for whole apartment buildings. And poop everywhere began falling silently into layers of sawdust or newspaper or vegetable peelings.

By the following Spring, the silent poop was naturally transformed into nutrient-rich compost which people used to plant flowers and herbs and to fertilize their fruit trees. There was no smell and no messy, brown slop. People smiled at what they had made from their waste and they laughed at the thought of ever having their poop go BLOOP again. Better to keep that water clean for drinking and allow poop a chance to silently return to the earth. The poop that goes BLOOP is a tempting sound, but it only ends up in a great big mess.