Archive for Future

Stop Flushing Away Our Future

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 29, 2020 by jtoddring

This is a short article on a subject of critical importance to ecology, food security, water security, and our future. There are many ways that we are busily flushing away our future. (See Requiem For The American Dream, A Short History of Progress, When Technology Fails, Koyaaniskatsi, Baraka, The Road Warrior, and Surviving Progress, for an overview.) Here I am talking about one of the major changes we need to make most urgently. This one happens to be remarkably easy.

(Bigger changes include putting extra insulation and weather-proofing in your home, putting solar panels on your roof, going 90% vegan, going organic, buying local, switching to an electric car or at least a hybrid, biking instead of driving, planting a garden, or digging a cistern or a pond, or both. But this change below is simple, easy, and cheap.)

If you are designing or building a home, consider that standard flush toilets (including low flow models) grossly unethical, environmentally destructive in the extreme, and the next thing to the spawn of Satan. They need to be off the list of options even worth considering, along with all fossil fuels, spray foam and rigid foam insulation, to name a few items – all of which are toxic to humans, environmentally devastating, or both. That leaves two options, which I will discuss below.

(Chemical toilets are a non-option because of odour or toxicity, or both.)

Composting toilets are by far the best, ecologically; home made composting toilets (humanure) are better yet. And the newest Earthship water recycling system may be best of all – or at least equal, ecologically and in terms of building self-reliance and resilience, to composting toilets.

The composting toilet system requires emptying once a year, depending on the model (you can hire it done if you are squeemish about manure – which, as a gardener, and we all should be gardeners, you must get over). It can look very similar to standard flush models, or even better, and is a very simple conversion.

Alternately, if you are rural or have a back yard, or even a patio, you can build a tiny “water closet”, toilet room, or WC, and put a purchased or home built composting toilet in there. Or put one in the basement or back shed. Use the composting toilet regularly, and save the eco-destruction flush model for rarities or guests.

Human manure is a taboo subject, traditionally, in the Puritanical West; but in Asia, and in practical-minded Switzerland, it is well known and traditionally used. It is no different from using manure from cows, pigs, goats, chickens or sheep on your garden. In all cases, manure must be properly composted for one year before it is safe either for plants or contact with food gardens. But once composted, it is safe for people and healthy for soils and plants. (Naturally you should wash all veggies before eating, whether store bought or home grown.)

Standard flush toilets that do not recycle black water need to be banned now, immediately. They are tremendously wasteful of water (low flow models are not remotely good enough); and they are effectively taking nutrients from top soil and farmland, and flushing it into waterways, poisoning our rivers, lakes and oceans while degrading farmland. The result is massive systemic soil depletion leading rapidly to crop failure, famine, and a systems crash of agriculture and food production globally; and to increasingly severe water shortages and water wars.

Obviously, upon reflection, these are future scenarios we would wish to avoid. But we are creating them right now – and they are approaching fast, like black clouds marking an enormous hurricane on the horizon, coming our way.

And what are the majority of people doing? With regards to the environmental crisis generally, and other political and social crises, which are interlinked, such as corporate rule and fascism, they are busily creating their own future suffering; and in effect, they are running as fast as they can, headlong into the approaching hurricane.

A global awakening is underway. But we must accelerate it, and make urgently needed changes now, in terms of waste and water systems, energy systems, transportation systems, food systems, and our political-economic systems, or we are in for a very dark age ahead.

JTR,

July 29, 2020

What Do I Want? (Or, What is to be done, if we are to have any future worth living?)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on February 15, 2018 by jtoddring

What do I want? Well, I would like to see us move immediately to a libertarian socialist society, along the lines that Chomsky, Bertrand Russell, Rudolph Rocker, or Murray Bookchin have described. Or better: an anarchist communist society, such as Kropotkin described. But I don’t see that as something that is likely to happen in the near future. I don’t think the people are ready for that kind of radical change. Too many people are deeply indoctrinated and ensconced in dead and dying ideologies, consumerism, materialism, slave-mentality, scarcity-consciousness, illusions of powerlessness, voyeurism and escapism and vicarious living, TV culture, and a habitual, docile obedience to authority, conformity, and to the ruling dogmas (or delusions) of our time.

I would be happy to be proven wrong, but I don’t think it’s likely that we would see a near-term shift to a libertarian socialist or anarchist communist society — at least, not en masse. It will be our future, if we choose it; and it is not only completely viable, but would be a vastly better society than what we have now: but I just don’t think that is something we are going to see in the short term.

So, we keep our ideals high and our dreams alive, and work toward smaller, more immediate goals, while never forgetting our values or our dreams, and never losing sight of the long-term perspective.

For example, I think we should immediately depose and dethrone the currently ruling global power elite. That would not simply be a good thing to do — it is, by now, a matter of survival.

In the short term, as in, right now, I would be happy to see the robber barons removed from power. And I think that is a clear and obvious, undeniable necessity. What does that mean? It means removing the banking elite and other corporate elites — the billionaire class — from their current position as de facto rulers of the Earth.

That, in turn, requires a renewal, a revitalization, and a rebirth of democracy. And that, in turn, requires nothing short of revolution. We are now left with no other choice.

The choices facing us now, in early 21st century society, are either revolution, or slow death. The current order, the latest in a series of empires, is one of global neo-feudal, crypto-fascist corporate rule: and it is devouring the poor, the middle class, and the Earth — and with increasing speed. If we do not find the courage for revolution, then slow death it is.

We had best be serious about this, and honest with ourselves. Our choices have narrowed to two. What will it be, world? The choice is ours. And the hour is late.

JTR,
February 14, 2018

 

 

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