HOLY CRAP…..who knew! pt.1

A strange title perhaps?  We’ll get to that.

For those that know me well, will know that I have enjoyed building ever since Lego’s as a little kid and anything else that I could find laying around to make something out of.   This passion continued through into young teenage years building huts in the bush on holidays and eventually led on to spending 30+ years so far of my adult life in the building and construction industry as a carpenter.  In that time I’ve got to see and construct some amazing places designed by some very impressive and creative architects.
I would have to say though, that my favorite architect that I believe wins the Architect of the Year Award every year without a doubt, would have to be God!

While I have made houses for people to live in, God made the big house, the Earth, for all of us to share as housemates.

 

earth
Image source: Wikimedia Commons

 

Somehow I don’t think we will be getting our bond money back by the way the Earth has been treated.  We are currently leaving it in a far worse condition for the next tenants.

There are many things that we could do to make reparation for our unruly tenancy and this blog post will explain just one “proof of concept” method that can give something back. What we can contribute is something that all people already contribute every day just by existing and that you can’t but help contribute, if fact it will cause ill health when you don’t give it out, and it doesn’t cost a cent!

Now I’m going to share with you a subject that is often given the backdoor treatment, often the butt of many jokes often leaves people with their nose’s turned up and never really the subject of a dinner table conversation.
Yep….it’s Poo, Crap, Number two’s, Shit, Turd, Poop, or however you may like to say it.
Or to be precise and more clinical, feces. Both feces and urine go hand in hand, (in a literal sense) however this subject is more focused on the solids as they are more of an issue to deal with.

So the now the “CRAP” in the title of this blog has been exposed.  The “HOLY” part will come later.

 

WHAT IS GOD’S WAY OF DEALING WITH WASTE?

One of the many of endless qualities of my favorite architect (God), is that God is very creative, intelligent and economical with every creation made.  God’s creations always have multiple functions and promote life.

So what we define as a waste product (poo and urine), by God’s definition, poo and urine possess multiple beneficial functions and promotes life. Remember, that God designed the human body, so its waste system must also be something that can keep giving to the environment that sustains it.

God has already created a perfect system that is designed to break down matter once its initial intended purpose has expired and then convert that matter into food for living matter to thrive and grow on. God doesn’t create anything that pollutes or creates waste that cannot be used, or that would be detrimental to the health of the environment…our big house.  So let’s discover God’s way on this subject.

In God’s natural system, organic materials fall to the ground.  God has a whole system of workers at and below ground level that do the work of decomposing anything from the natural environment that falls to the ground. They breakdown the components of that matter and turn it into enriched soil for living things to use to grow, therefore promoting more life. These workers are creatures such as insects, beetles, worms, snails, ants, to name a few and right down to microorganisms and even fungi.

The human body functioning system was also created by God.  For us, we eat food that has grown from the soil.  Our awesomely designed human body enjoys the taste and texture of the food, breaks down the food, uptakes the vitamins and minerals to provide sustenance for our body to continue to functioning, then we release the unused parts, sometimes rather explosively, with what God would call organic waste and what we call human waste.

If you would like a fantastic and never heard of description of how the environmental system that God has created works, Jesus shares this information in 2 presentations on an Introduction to Creating Loving Eco-Systems.
(I’ve even heard of someone that has seen these presentations claim that they learned more about the environment from these presentations than they ever learned during their entire Environmental Science degree at university)
Presentation 1
Presentation 2

 

THE PROBLEM

One of the greatest problems currently on the planet (that gets very little attention), is the rapid depletion of good topsoil still available on the planet to be able to continue to grow food in.
Topsoil is known as the uppermost layer of soil, generally in the first 150 mm (6 inches) below the ground surface. The majority of nutrients and minerals are taken up by plants in this soil layer.  This is the layer that supports the habitat of the soil based creatures that break down matter that falls to the ground, who then convert it into nutrient rich soil which becomes food for the plants to thrive on.
Our soils are fundamental for the existence of all life on the planet. We rely on this layer of soil to provide the majority of our food needs to sustain life.

Practices such as, land clearing for pastures for meat production, over-tilling of the soil for cereal crops, controlled burning etc., has caused massive land areas of the planet to become degraded due to increased loss of organic cover that provide both food and shelter for the soil based creatures. No new food for them is available to turn into nutrient rich soil, and there is very little moisture retainment in order to survive.  This in turn causes the soil to lose the creature life, body, minerals and nutrients in it that kept it healthy.
With little to no life in the soil, the soil structure begins to break down, moisture holding capabilities are significantly reduced, and water run-off therefore is the result, causing erosion and loss of the topsoil.  While in dry conditions the soil becomes lighter and is blown away by wind very easily.

Drought and wind erosion
Source: Walker JP (2018) Soils and Drought (1)

 

According to University of Sydney professor John Crawford in 2012:

“A rough calculation of current rates of soil degradation suggests we have about 60 years of topsoil left. Some 40% of soil used for agriculture around the world is classed as either degraded or seriously degraded – the latter means that 70% of the topsoil, the layer allowing plants to grow, is gone. Because of various farming methods that strip the soil of carbon and make it less robust as well as weaker in nutrients, soil is being lost at between 10 and 40 times the rate at which it can be naturally replenished. Even the well-maintained farming land in Europe, which may look idyllic, is being lost at unsustainable rates.“(2)

This is also high-lighted by Maria Helena Semedo, FAO Deputy Director-General in 2014:

“Without soils we cannot sustain life on earth and where soil is lost it cannot be renewed on a human timeline. The current escalating rate of soil degradation threatens the capacity of future generations to meet their needs.” (3)

 

A rapid increase in population growth over the past 60 years has caused increased demands upon the environment, which exposes that our ways of living are not in harmony with God’s Loving Way and Laws, which therefore create negative results.

The true causes of the damaging results are really due to human’s attitudes and actions to what they believe they need to eat to sustain their lives: it is quite different to what God’s way would suggest – (love of all God’s creatures in the environment, micro to macro).
Attitudes in people are harder to change and will take quite some time to rectify because it is up to the will of the individual.
However, as individuals with a responsibility to give back from where we have taken to ensure continued sustainability of a food supply for all (which is what Love would do), the “proof of concept method” in this blog describes a way that that can be achieved.

 

HOW WE CAN BE THE SOLUTION TO THE PROBLEM?

We can assist nature by also helping to provide the means to make topsoil, and therefore to be able to provide for the future sustenance for the tenants of this big house (Earth), if we replicate the principals behind the method that God has designed and that has been working successfully for millions of years.
We know that God created the workers specifically designed in breaking down organic matter.
We also know that we produce a good lump of organic matter (poo) at least once a day.
We can see that what we consider as waste (poo) is actually valuable from God’s perspective (promotes life).
We have enough logic and intelligence to replicate the way God deals with organic waste.

We currently flush that item of value (poo) away to be someone else’s problem.  So the opportunity to do some good for the planet is missed by waving goodbye to our nugget when we hit the button to flush away. In the same moment we get rid of what was once good drinkable water, that is now a contamination problem for someone else.

Our crap has more value than Gold.  Gold can’t fix the planet, but your crap can!
“WHO KNEW!“      (…and there it is, another part of the blog title. The “HOLY” part is still to come)

 

PROOF OF CONCEPT EXPERIMENT

The aim:

To re-vitalize dead soil into healthy soil with the aid of incorporating human waste (poo) as a food source for soil creatures (worms) to see if doing their work and moving through the soil would re-invigorate the soil and change its characteristics to become healthy again.

The Criteria:

  • Simple in design and use.
    With as minimal to no components or moving parts that would create potential breakdown issues or maintenance as possible; because no one wants to be elbow deep in crap trying to fix something.
  • No smell.
    The greatest put-off of composting type of toilet system is any offensive odor.
    If it smells, something is wrong with the system.
  • Compost covering material must absorb.
    Material must incorporate the liquid content of the human waste, not float above it.
  • Variety of organic waste products as covering material.
    As God’s design demonstrates in a forest, there is a variety of organic ground cover. Each soil creature is specifically designed to break down specific materials and output a specific beneficial product.  To provide a variety of organic waste products will attract a variety of creates to breakdown the poo and compost covering material.
    The more soil creatures, the healthier the soil.
  • Covering material to be waste.
    Material that would otherwise take years or decades to breakdown otherwise. This is to try and speed up turning the waste material into a beneficial resource for the purpose of accelerating the benefits to the environment.
  • Accessible as an end product.
    Must be able to be easily accessed for distribution to wherever it is needed to provide benefits to.
  • Water-less system.
    To not waste a precious resource such as drinking water to be part of the poo disposal. Nor to create another issue of dealing with polluted water which presents a higher pathogen health risk, than contained solids do.

The method:

  • Use soil that had no life in it, nothing would grow in it, as a covering material
  • Poo (and associated pee content) into a vessel (20 L – 5 Gal. bucket), cover the poo  deposit with this damaged soil
  • Once the bucket is reasonably full, let it sit in the open environment for approximately 1 month (on a 4 bucket rotation) to allow insect attraction to begin the decomposition process
  • After a bucket has sat idle for approximately a month, tip the contents into a bathtub worm farm to let the worms move though the soil to continue to break down the organic matter
  • When the bathtub worm farm gets full, let it sit for about 6 months, then gauge the results and performance of the soil after it had been through this process
  • While this soil is sitting and allowing the soil creatures to process through it over that 6 month period, a second worm farm becomes the active farm
  • The poo was of a vegan diet origin
  • The bucket was used mainly for just poo (and you can’t help but have a pee at the same time). Trees were usually the beneficiary of pee separately (from a guy perspective).
  • Any bucket used for both poo and pee full-time, required more covering soil to absorb the extra liquid from pee.

 

This sounds like a calculated clinic experiment, however it was really born out of necessity of being on a newly acquired 40 acres property (which use to be cattle grazed until 30 years ago) with no current toilet facility, and a desire to utilize a waste product and turn it into something of value = to give back to the environment that had been taken from for the past 110 years.

Additionally, I had piles (30 m3) of composted green waste material, initially to be used to grow food in which was not very successful.  Unfortunately when the decomposed  material became dry, it became hydrophobic therefore no soil life could exist in it to assist in its health, so it was basically useless.
Even after 138 mm of rain in one day, the soil was dry underneath once you scratched the top 10 mm (3.8 inch) off it.  To this day (7 years later), not even a weed has been able to grow in it.
There was a potential to fix up this soil.
Having some understanding of how God’s system works, it was time for an experiment.

 

The equipment:

DSC_0715

Leveling up star pickets that were driven into the ground to support a re-cycled bathtub.

The site that is chosen for the worm farm should be shady, particularly for protection from the hot afternoon sun. Under trees is ideal.

 

DSC_0716

Timber frame screwed to star pickets to sit the bathtub on.

The particular bathtub being used is made of fiberglass which will need support around it’s edges.  If the bathtub was a metal variety, it can sit directly on the tops of the 4 posts.

 

DSC_0719

Bathtub is placed into position.

 

DSC_0718

A shade cloth with 90% shading and black in color is fixed to the back 2 star pickets and let to hang over the front edge.

The shade cloth is sandwiched between two pieces of timber on the front edge, and screwed together. This provides some weight to keep it from lifting up in windy conditions.
The purpose of the shade cloth is to provide protection to the worms from birds, to keep it dark to mimic ground conditions, and to still allow any rainfall moisture to enter.

This completes the outside structure work.

 

DSC_0720

Rocks placed over the outlet hole in the bottom of the bathtub.

The rocks in this case are mimicking a natural filter like in landscapes to allow any excess water to pass out but not soil particles.
The typical bath waste socket is removed to just be an open hole.

 

DSC_0722

Bedding material added before bringing in the workers (the worms).

The bedding material used here was coco peat (coconut husks) which holds moisture very well to ensure that the worms are in a moist environment and not directly on an unnatural surface.  Anything that meets their natural habitat needs can be used, as long as it’s moist, allows air and is a food source for them.
For instance, shredded paper could be used or even fluted cardboard that has been soaked in water.

 

DSC_0818

This image shows (with cover pulled back) the worm farm after a couple of months, with fluted cardboard covering the dumped poo bucket contents in the worm farm.

The worms love the cardboard when it gets wet and eat that too.

 

DSC_0536

Bucket, toilet seat, toilet paper, bucket of compost soil that has no life in it, and a scooping cup (soup cup) for the compost soil, all in an outdoor toilet enclosure (pre-prepared by somebody else) that was already on the property.  Recycling that too!

 

All ready for action!

What happened next?…….that will be discussed in Part 2.

 

References:
(1) Walker JP (2018) Soils and drought. NSW Soil Knowledge Network Position Statement. 
(2) University of Sydney Professor – John Crawford
(3) FAO Deputy Director-General – Maria Helena Semedo

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