Clean Water, Rich Land:
Resolution to the Challenge Surrounding Clean Water vs. Human
(and Domestic Animal) Material Emissions
Syntheses actually exist that link the intensely polarized camps of the Industrialist - Environmentalist tangle in healthy, harmonious ways. Repeating platitudes and strident re-affirmations of spiritual laws and aesthetic inspirations is not enough; the key to the creative re – union of Humanity and Nature is material: on one level, it is founded in the simple consensus that clean water is a rational necessity. Our joyful bodies, not sewage sludge and other contaminants, should be put into our pure natural waters.
Water - violating habits developed incrementally, hence were almost unnoticeable: the transition from cozy agrarian village to stultifying city was almost imperceptible from within the slowly evolving generations. Ancestors had learned that waste and water did not mix from natural life systems experiences, but large swift rivers were tempting disposal routes for human & domestic animal bio – emissions. As populations grew, the almost inconsequential impositions of small settlements grew into the oppressively burdensome pollutions of modern cities.
Nature’s best interest is Humanity’s own best interest. With the accelerating expansion of aquatic ‘dead zones’, caused by disposal into water of human and domestic animal material emissions and the concomitant use of synthetic fertilizers, the re-direction of bio-soils into the soil as organic fertilizers has become the timely imperative. Apart from obvious benefit to public health, restoring purity to our waterways has great bearing upon psycho-social intangibles such as the sense of self – worth, the satisfaction in living, and the faith in the goodness of civilization and in the purpose and productiveness of Humanity.
Human feelings and water, the medium of Life, are correlated strongly by both ancient and modern systems of order. Ancient spiritual disciplines, as well as inspired poets and mystics through the centuries, also modern faiths, and even the modern science of Psychology, all emphatically proclaim the intimate association of water and aquatic realms with human feelings. We cannot feel good about ourselves as long as human actions are fouling our natural environment. And the purity of our water is a prime indicator of the health of the natural environment.
Careful analysis of all the potentials composing the present situation has led us to conclude that re - qualifying bio – solids as soil nutrients, rather than aquatic toxins shall actually constitute a financial blessing instead of a burden. We must emphasize that bio – solids should not be processed for methane, burned, or made into other products. Our bio – emissions need to be returned as soil fortification to the plant communities that have provided nourishment to us and to our livestock. The Plant Kingdom and the Animal Kingdom co – creatively exchange not only breath, but also sustenance. The establishment of the co – creative balance between Humanity and the Primordial Realms of Life that supports us depends upon our leading the Animal Kingdom into the more intimately productive relationship with our natural symbiote, the Plant Kingdom, that we describe in this expression.
Recognizing Perfect Solutions: The All-Win Archetype
In the Resolution to the Challenge Surrounding Clean Water
vs. Human (and Domestic Animal) Material Emissions
Introduction to the Main Body of the Study:
Resolving This Most Fundamental of All Environmental Errors Could Release the Dynamism to Effectively Marshall and Focus Support for the More Complex Challenges that the Future Holds
The problem of the presence of human material bio-emissions causing a disrupted spawning run in the neighboring stream, or requiring the posting of use - restriction signage when an abundance of rainfall is blamed for a sewage outfall upon one of the local swimming beaches, is an irritating shout in one’s backyard that certainly needs to call attention to the fact that our rich bio-soils need to be placed not into our waters, but again into our soil, where their fertility can serve as a blessing, rather than a curse.
But the problem is so far beyond the shout of irritation from our figurative backyards. The effect of myriad such indiscretions has already changed the challenge of proper regulation of human waste waters from a mere backyard embarrassment to something of far greater magnitude.
The ‘dead zone’ phenomenon is an unfolding worldwide environmental catastrophe that contaminates the greatest of our planetary waters, and has left the message that this species, the human, is capable of negating the Life System that sustains all living beings in ways that virtually exterminate the vital presence of Life across not merely neighborhoods but across relatively vast aquatic bio-regions.
Dr. Klaus Toepfer, former executive director the United Nations Environmental Programme, in 2004 stated regarding the causes of the ‘dead zone’ phenomenon: “Unless urgent action is taken to tackle the sources of the problem, it is likely to escalate rapidly.”(1.)
The United States Geologic Survey website defines the conditions that precipitate the ‘dead zone’ phenomenon as follows:
“Hypoxia means "low oxygen." In estuaries, lakes, and coastal waters low oxygen usually means a concentration of less than 2 parts per million. In many cases hypoxic waters do not have enough oxygen to support fish and other aquatic animals. Hypoxia can be caused by the presence of excess nutrients in water. Excess nutrients can cause intensive growth of algae. The consequences of this enhanced growth are reduced sunlight penetrating the water, a decreased amount of oxygen dissolved in the water, and a loss of habitat for aquatic animals and plants. The decrease in dissolved oxygen is caused by the degradation of dead plant material (algae), which consumes available oxygen. The overall effect is called eutrophication. Nutrients can come from many sources, such as fertilizers applied to agricultural fields, golf courses, and suburban lawns; deposition of nitrogen from the atmosphere; erosion of soil containing nutrients; and sewage treatment plant discharges.”(2.)
The discussion of hypoxia situations changes into discussion of “anoxia” situations when the oxygen level has fallen below the threshold necessary to sustain even the simplest aquatic life systems. Instead of serving as the precious medium of Life, the water becomes a stultifying blanket of death, causing motile organisms to flee or die. And the anchored species of marine life, such as oysters, mussels, barnacles, and clams have no choice but to face an agonized suffocation under the unnatural pall of “the liquid of Life” deprived of its vital essence.
Note the graphic evidence revealed in the following article excerpted from one of NASA’s environmental web pages:
Creeping Dead Zones
“This is not the title of a sequel to a Stephen King novel. "Dead zones" in this context are areas where the bottom water (the water at the sea floor) is anoxic — meaning that it has very low (or completely zero) concentrations of dissolved oxygen. These dead zones are occurring in many areas along the coasts of major continents, and they are spreading over larger areas of the sea floor. Because very few organisms can tolerate the lack of oxygen in these areas, they can destroy the habitat in which numerous organisms make their home.”
“The cause of anoxic bottom waters is fairly simple: the organic matter produced by phytoplankton at the surface of the ocean (in the euphotic zone) sinks to the bottom (the benthic zone),where it is subject to breakdown by the action of bacteria, a process known as bacterial respiration. The problem is, while phytoplankton use carbon dioxide and produce oxygen during photosynthesis, bacteria use oxygen and give off carbon dioxide during respiration. The oxygen used by bacteria is the oxygen dissolved in the water, and that’s the same oxygen that all of the other oxygen-respiring animals on the bottom (crabs, clams, shrimp, and a host of mud-loving creatures) and swimming in the water (zooplankton, fish) require for life to continue.”
“The "creeping dead zones" are areas in the ocean where it appears that phytoplankton productivity has been enhanced, or natural water flow has been restricted, leading to increasing bottom water anoxia. If phytoplankton productivity is enhanced, more organic matter is produced, more organic matter sinks to the bottom and is respired by bacteria, and thus more oxygen is consumed. If water flow is restricted, the natural refreshing flow of oxic waters (water with normal dissolved oxygen concentrations) is reduced, so that the remaining oxygen is depleted faster.”
“Many of the areas where increasing bottom water anoxia has recently been observed are near the mouths of major river systems. While the Sea-viewing Wide Field-of-view Sensor (SeaWiFS) can’t see the bottom of the ocean, it can see the surface, where sediments from rivers mix with ocean waters. The images shown here are SeaWiFS observations of the Mississippi River delta, the Yangtze River mouth in China …, and the Pearl River mouth in China, near Hong Kong.”
. . . “The apparent cause of the creeping dead zones is agriculture, specifically fertilizer. While fertilizer is necessary to foster bumper agricultural crops, it also runs off the fields into the streams and rivers of a watershed. When the fertilizer reaches the ocean, it just becomes more nutrients for the phytoplankton, so they do what they do best: they grow and multiply. Which leads to more organic matter reaching the bottom, more bacterial respiration, and more anoxic bottom water.” . . .
. . . “Dr. Robert Diaz of the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) has created a map of dead zones throughout the world (a version of this map also appeared in the March 2000 issue of Discover magazine). Diaz estimates that the number of such sites will double within a decade.”(3.)
This is Dr. Diaz’ Year 2000 “dead zone” Map(4.)
In consonance with Dr. Diaz’ prediction, the number and extent of the “dead zones” has been expanding year by year. The United Nations Environmental Programme is quoted within the following article, dated April, 2004, as estimating the number of “dead zones” at “nearly 150 worldwide, 43 of which occur within the coastal waters of the USA.” Therefore the scant red dots on the World Map above, a mere 38 or so in number, give us only the sketchiest outline of a problem that has already been measured as far more widespread.
But the serious hypoxia events, especially on the coastlines of USA and Europe, as well as Japan, have begun to merge, with one contaminated estuary overlaying and exacerbating the eutrophication problems of adjacent systems. Thus the toxicity caused primarily by the misdirection of the human material bio-emissions and agriculture has reached a stage of shockingly accelerating anoxic degradation of our natural water resources. The number of “dead zones” referred to in the 2008 Power Point presentation by the USGS has been quantified at over 400(5.), an accelerating degradation even outstripping the shocking “doubling within the next decade” predicted by Dr. Diaz and the UNEP. The comparison of these most responsible sources of scientific data reveals the truth of a wildfire contamination so astounding that only the most energetic emergency-level responses could be appropriate.
Dr. Diaz’ dire prediction in year 2000 of a doubling of dead zones “within a decade” is paled by the comparison of the empirical data of the United Nations Environmental Programme, quoted above in 2006 as “nearly 150 (“dead zones”) worldwide”,(6.) beside the Environmental Protection Agency’s Mississippi River Gulf of Mexico Water Nutrient Task Force 2008 Power Point presentation which reveals 405 known “dead zones”(7.). . . the doubling in number is now occurring in closer to two or three years than to a decade. It is very likely that the estimate of “150 worldwide” came from an earlier 2004 UNEP report, and by 2006 their official estimate may well have expanded by a significant measure. Therefore, adopting the most conservative view, we see that the expansion of “nearly 150” to 405 dead zones planetwide may have taken as much as four years- 2004 to 2008. This more moderate estimate still produces emergency-level realizations as to a catastrophic rate of acceleration of the “dead zone” phenomenon. This most conservative estimate has ratcheted up the earlier UNEP warning of a doubling every decade, to the most recent doubling in only 2.96 years.
The situation is no longer in the category of merely a threat to our coastal estuaries, bays, and near ocean areas, and shore-nesting birds. What is implied by this overlapping acceleration effect is the impending decimation of some of the most crucial fish, mollusk, coral and crustacean nurseries on our planet. If these eco-regions collapse, the ramifications will be drastic and profound for every dimension of the Life of our great waters. Who could assure with genuine confidence that such grossly callous insensitivity toward the sentience of our estuaries and coastal realms mightn’t stimulate a calamitously convulsive reflex from the mighty life systems of our Planet in the aquatic realms? Strident decisive action from the highest levels of governmental and industrial power, is what is called for, with a respectful recognition for the imperative essentiality of protecting the future of the oceans and the other great waters struggling under Humanity’s grave indiscretions. Nations worldwide must commit the necessary resources and mindpower essential to achieve the genuine rectification of this problem.
The far-reaching ramifications of this challenge begin to be explored by this article by Mark Clayton of The Christian Science Monitor:
“ ‘Dead zones’ Threaten Fisheries”
“In midsummer, the northern Gulf of Mexico, where the Mississippi River empties into it, may shimmer like any other swath of sea. But a few score feet below, bottom-dwelling fish and other creatures struggle just to breathe.”
“This area - one of the world's biggest coastal ‘dead zones’ - is rapidly being joined by a growing number of "hypoxic," or oxygen-depleted areas around the world. At least 146 such zones have been documented through 2000 - from the northern Adriatic Sea to the Gulf of Thailand to the Yellow Sea, according to a United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) report released in March. And their number has been doubling every decade since 1960, it adds. At risk: coastal fisheries near the most populous regions.”
“A handful of efforts are under way that could mitigate the effects. But because of lag times involved, the problem is likely to get worse before it gets better.”
“ "I'm convinced this is going to be the biggest environmental issue in the aquatic marine realm in the 21st century," says Robert Diaz, a marine biologist and professor at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, who coauthored the study undergirding the UNEP report. "It won't take too much for these annual lower-oxygen events to expand throughout the year and actually eliminate fisheries." ”
“ Dead zones’ often grow where populations grow. But the real driver is the spread of nitrogen, many observers say, caused by runoff of nitrogen-based fertilizers, sewage outflows, and nitrogen deposits from burning fossil fuels. Some waters remain oxygen-depleted year-around. In other waters, the problem appears periodically.” ”
“ “In the northern Gulf of Mexico, one of the best-known and best-studied ‘dead zones’, hypoxia occurs seasonally from April to September. The zone's size depends on the weather and how much flow the Mississippi brings each year. Its waters are laden with fertilizer runoff from farms and lawns across the Midwest. Sewage and fossil-fuel emissions exhaust (from power plants and autos) are also factors, says a 1999 University of Alabama study sponsored by the fertilizer industry.” ”
“ “Excess nitrogen combined with placid summer weather results in an oxygen-poor bottom layer of water. The process works this way: In the top layer, the nitrogen and sun feed phytoplankton, which grow rapidly, then die and fall to the bottom. As they decay, they consume oxygen. Called eutrophication, the cycle depletes oxygen in isolated bottom waters. In 2002, one of the worst years since it was first documented in the 1970s, the northern Gulf's hypoxic zone reached more than 7,700 square miles. Despite its size, the problem is largely hidden from view, except to the trained eye.” ”
“ "I see massive schools of stingrays, bottom dwellers, moving on the surface. Even shrimp come up 20 feet or so off the bottom trying to get to oxygen," says Nancy Rabalais, a marine biologist at the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium in Chauvin, La. Only because they are desperate to breathe do such bottom-dwelling creatures flee upward, risking becoming easy prey.” ”
“Such scenes will become more common worldwide, scientists predict. As populations grow, nitrogen and phosphorous-caused eutrophication will more than double in coastal areas by 2050, predicts a 2001 study published in Science magazine. "There's been a big increase in these hypoxic zones that correlates strongly with increased use of nitrogen fertilizers, particularly in the '60s and 1970s," says Robert Howarth, a coauthor of the Science study and professor of environmental biology at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y. "About half of the nitrogen fertilizer used on Earth in all of history has been used in the last 15 years."
“One positive trend: Total global fertilizer use seems to be growing more slowly than in the past few decades. It plateaued in 1990 then declined after the collapse of the Soviet Union. In the mid-'90s, global growth resumed, but much more slowly. For the decade, nitrogen fertilizer rose only slightly from 79 million to 82 million tons.”
“Still, scientists say it takes time for a rise in fertilizer use to harm coastal ecosystems. In a 2002 study, Howarth and other scientists found that falling levels of dissolved oxygen in coastal waters lagged 10 to 20 years behind increased chemical fertilizer use beginning in the 1940s. That lag effect is worrisome, he says, because fertilizer use has more than quadrupled globally since 1960.”
“The use of nitrogen has increased, too. Nitrogen fertilizers were 37 percent of all fertilizers used in 1961, but grew to 60 percent by 2001, according to Fertilizer Institute data. "If you look globally at what humans are doing to the nitrogen cycle, we're increasingly making nitrogen available to the environment," Dr. Howarth says. "Almost 75 percent of the increase is through fertilizers." ”
“The fertilizer industry in the US has been working with farmers to reduce fertilizer overuse and resulting runoff since the 1960s. But pressure from the Environmental Protection Agency in the '90s also has pushed the industry toward new technologies. Global positioning satellite technology, linked to fertilizer applicators on tractors, permits "precision farming" in which each acre gets specific chemicals according to its soil condition.”
“ "Applying more won't necessarily get more crop, and farmers understand that it's not good for their bottom line," says Rino Maddalena of the Fertilizer Institute in Washington D.C.”
“Even so, several farm authorities say it is not uncommon for farmers to use more nitrogen and other fertilizers than they need as a modest insurance policy. Better to slightly overfertilize than underfertilize and underproduce, the thinking goes.”
“To address this concern, the American Farmland Trust (AFT), a nonprofit group that attempts to protect cropland, has developed a new form of crop insurance. The risk-management program encourages farmers to apply less nitrogen fertilizer. In this scheme, a farmer agrees to use a lesser amount of nitrogen fertilizer, based on nutrient management advice. If the farmer's output falls below the output of a test plot on his land that has the maximum nitrogen fertilizer applied to it, then he receives the difference in cash.”
“So far, 27 pilot projects are under way in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Ohio, and Illinois, says Brian Brandt of the AFT's Agricultural Conservation Innovation Center. In three years, the project has seen a 24 percent reduction in nitrogen use among the farmers. Only a handful saw yields fall. They were paid the difference, about $6 per acre.”
“One participant, Burley Hall, a farmer with 2,100 acres north of Urbana, Ohio, now uses some 35 pounds less nitrogen per acre of corn - a reduction of more than 20 percent. That reduction saves him money. And once, when his crop came in a fraction of a bushel less than his test strip, he got reimbursed $900. But his enthusiasm for the program runs deeper than economics.”
“ "We've got creeks that run through our land," Mr. Hall says. "We live here and drink the water. If I'm buying this stuff [nitrogen], I don't want to see how far down the stream I can run it. You've got to watch out for the environment by all means and this is one way of doing it." ”
“One high-tech idea in the works would take another big whack at nitrogen use - but from the other end of the equation. Arcadia Biosciences in Davis, Calif., is working to make corn and other plants more efficient users of nitrogen already in the soil. For example, using genetic engineering, it has modified canola with a gene found in barley. The effect is to activate the plant's roots to absorb nitrogen more aggressively than before.”
“ "We've grown the same yield as a conventional crop of canola using less than half as much nitrogen," says Eric Rey, the firm's president.”
“Arcadia has conducted three years of tests for the US Department of Agriculture. But the first commercial canola and rice seeds won't be ready until 2008 or 2009, Mr. Rey says. He acknowledges, too, current concerns over genetic engineering. On the other hand, farmers cut costs and use less fertilizer, he adds. "So the environment is improved by farmers making more money." ”(8.)
We must cut through the confusion on this matter that fixes primary responsibility for the over-enrichment of coastal waters upon agriculture. The gross over-use of chemical fertilizers and raw manure by agriculture is itself an effect, not the cause of the real problem. This real difficulty, pernicious as it has seemed, stems from the simple misdirection of the human and domestic animal material emissions. If these were properly valued as the precious resource of natural, organic soil-fortification that they were designed by Life to be, and used to fertilize the land, the negative effects of synthetic, chemically enriched agricultural runoff would be essentially obviated. Incidentally, the considerable logistical and public relations challenges related to the misplacement of the embarrassing mega-tonnages of human bio-silt that have found their way yearly into our natural waters would also have been obviated. Thus would the double dilemmas of agri-runoff and sewage effluent discharges be decisively remedied, neatly and simultaneously.
It simply is essential that the pattern of placing our soil into the soil must be adopted, approximately immediately, even though it might mean the total transformation of a system that contains hundreds of thousands of miles of pipe, and literally millions of “sanitation” fixtures linked to the familiar and obsolete water-based sewage removal systems. This transformation will establish a long-needed correspondence between the modern concepts of “sanity” and “sanitation”. It must be resolved from the outset, since the well-being of our fundamental Life itself is the concern, that the matter of cost must never influence the discussion of what must be done. It simply is an indisputable necessity. Wealthy nations can achieve the transition to the composting systems of waste transformation rather quickly, and this is emphatically appropriate. The overwhelming concentrations of the anoxic “dead zones” surge from the rivermouths of the richest nations, the USA, the European nations, and Japan. (Examine with some care, the 2008 Diaz – Rosenburg ‘dead zone’ map shown below.) Perhaps the less wealthy nations will move toward the goal of a relationship with the Planetary waters that is restorative to natural purity in a more incremental fashion.
Hanging Latrine, on tidal river in the Far East(9.)
Third World nations bear proportionately less of the burden, and proportionately less of the responsibility for ‘dead zones’. But the balance on this vector is changing today as China surges into prominence on the stage of World economic and social forces, and India also is striding into the Age of Technology. We are discussing the transformation of a very widely established set of human thought and behavioral patterns, but the imperative nature of the accelerating catastrophe requires that the transformation begin without delay. We must disseminate the ideas that will purify our waters, properly enrich our lands, and alleviate our anguished consciences as to the legitimate viability of our species and our modern technology in the midst of our vibrant and naturally abundant Life System, as a precious part of the glorious and ever-progressing evolution of natural Life.
Silt and Toxic Spew that generates the Gulf of Mexico “dead zone”(10.)
It should not require a lengthy rhetoric to explain that the depths of the human conscience are justifiably addressed when empirical data such as that contained in the following article are considered carefully:
“Ocean 'Dead Zones' Trigger Sex Changes In Fish,
Posing Extinction Threat”
“Oxygen depletion in the world’s oceans, primarily caused by agricultural run-off and pollution, could spark the development of far more male fish than female, thereby threatening some species with extinction, according to a study published on the Web site of the American Chemical Society journal, Environmental Science & Technology. . .”
“The finding, by Rudolf Wu, Ph.D., and colleagues at the City University of Hong Kong, raises new concerns about vast areas of the world’s oceans, known as "dead zones," that lack sufficient oxygen to sustain most sea life. Fish and other creatures trapped in these zones often die. Those that escape may be more vulnerable to predators and other stresses. This new study, Wu says, suggests these zones potentially pose a third threat to these species — an inability of their offspring to find mates and reproduce.”
“The researchers found that low levels of dissolved oxygen, also known as hypoxia, can induce sex changes in embryonic fish, leading to an overabundance of males. As these predominately male fish mature, it is unlikely they will be able to reproduce in sufficient numbers to maintain sustainable populations, Wu says. Low oxygen levels also might reduce the quantity and quality of the eggs produced by female fish, diminishing their fertility, he adds.”
“In their experiments, Wu and his colleagues found low levels of dissolved oxygen — less than 2 parts per million — down-regulated the activity of certain genes that control the production of sex hormones and sexual differentiation in embryonic zebra fish. As a result, 75 percent of the fish developed male characteristics. In contrast, 61 percent of the zebra fish spawn raised under normal oxygen conditions — more than 5 parts per million — developed into males. The normal sex ratio of zebra fish is about 60 percent male and 40 percent female, Wu says.”
"Reproductive success is the single most important factor in the sustainability of species," Dr. Wu says. "In many places, the areas affected by hypoxia are usually larger than the spawning and nursery grounds of fish. Even though some tolerant species can survive in hypoxic zones, they may not be able to migrate out of the zone and their reproduction will be impaired."(11.)
This article ends with a provocative statement: “In the Gulf of Mexico, for instance, a ‘dead zone’ the size of New Jersey, some 7,000 square miles, develops each summer. Other affected areas of the United States include coastal Florida and California, the Chesapeake Bay and Long Island Sound.” It is interesting but not surprising to note that although this piece was written only three years ago, in April, 2006, that the scale of the problem has changed somewhat dramatically. The PBS Frontline program which aired on 21 April, 2009, which we mention in some detail later in this piece, and authored by the most respectable sort of journalistic staff, noted the present size of the ‘dead zone’ in the Gulf of Mexico again using the analogy of one of the 50 states. But at this time, three years later, the analogy was drawn not to New Jersey, but to Massachusetts: area 10,555 square miles.
This NASA image shows the most intense region of the
Gulf of Mexico ‘dead zone’ in Summer, when warmer temps
cause more energetic algal blooms, and
considerable expansion of the anoxic area.(12.)
Dramatic Expansion of Dead Zones In Oceans Likely With Unchecked Global Warming
ScienceDaily (Jan. 26, 2009) — “Unchecked global warming would leave ocean dwellers gasping for breath. Dead zones are low-oxygen areas in the ocean where higher life forms such as fish, crabs and clams are not able to live. In shallow coastal regions, these zones can be caused by runoff of excess fertilizers from farming. A team of Danish researchers have now shown that unchecked global warming would lead to a dramatic expansion of low-oxygen areas zones in the global ocean by a factor of 10 or more.”
“Whereas some coastal dead zones could be recovered by control of fertilizer usage, expanded low-oxygen areas caused by global warming will remain for thousands of years to come, adversely affecting fisheries and ocean ecosystems far into the future.”
“Professor Gary Shaffer of the Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen, who is the leader of the research team at the Danish Center for Earth System Science (DCESS), explains that "such expansion would lead to increased frequency and severity of fish and shellfish mortality events, for example off the west coasts of the continents like off Oregon and Chile".”
Large extinction events
“Together with senior scientists Steffen Olsen oceanographer at Danish Meteorological Institute and Jens Olaf Pepke Pedersen, physicist at National Space Institute, Technical University of Denmark, Professor Shaffer has performed projections with the newly-developed DCESS Earth System Model, projections that extend 100,000 years into the future.”
“He adds that "if, as in many climate model simulations, the overturning circulation of the ocean would greatly weaken in response to global warming, these oxygen minimum zones would expand much more still and invade the deep ocean." Extreme events of ocean oxygen depletion leading to anoxia are thought to be prime candidates for explaining some of the large extinction events in Earth history including the largest such event at the end of the Permian 250 million years ago.”
Series of changes
“Furthermore, as suboxic zones expand, essential nutrients are stripped from the ocean by the process of denitrification. This in turn would shift biological production in the lighted surface layers of the ocean toward plankton species that are able to fix free dissolved nitrogen. This would then lead to large, unpredictable changes in ocean ecosystem structure and productivity, on top of other large unpredictable changes to be expected from ocean acidification, the other great oceanic consequence of high atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations from fossil fuel burning.”
“Professor Shaffer warns that as a result, "the future of the ocean as a large food reserve would be more uncertain. Reduced fossil fuel emissions are needed over the next few generations to limit ongoing ocean oxygen depletion and acidification and their long-term adverse effects".”(13.)
The time is thus evoked for the dissemination of a revolutionary new paradigm of re-integration of the human bio-substance with the natural environment. The change is so basic that the self-concept of our species will transform, causing long-term elevation of the sense of self-worth within our species, based upon the legitimate standard of the quality of the effect we cause within and upon Life Itself. It is time to begin to engineer the systems that actualize the optimacy of the solid-into-solid methods of organic fertilizer production from the bio-emissions of humanity and our domestic animals. The later section of this piece will examine some of the composting systems already in operation, most notably the Clivus Multrum system developed in 1939 by the Swedish inventor Rickard Lindstrom. The solid into water paradigm never was intuitively wholesome or sanitary in the comprehensive sense. It is time, perhaps, for Humanity to be thinking in terms of the construction of great subterranean vaults of steel animated by automated mechanisms that electronically monitor and mechanically advance the great quanta of material emissions originated in the modern mega-cities and municipalities through progressive stages until sublimated organic fertilizer products are the valuable and environmentally harmonious results.
Global Perspectives on the ‘Dead Zone’ Phenomenon:
Analysis of the Following Two Images Dramatically Illustrates
Once Again, This is Dr. Diaz’ Year 2000 ‘dead zone’ Map,(14.)
Diaz and Rosenburg, Science, 2008, ‘Dead Zones’ worldwide, from online EPA Power Point(15.)
This is the more recent map of ‘dead zone’ areas, published in Science in 2008. You will note that the number of anoxic zones referenced by this more recent chart is over 400 sites, dramatically up from the 100-odd sites referenced in the graphic representation produced by Dr. Diaz and staff only eight years earlier. And the clear preponderance of these ‘dead zones’ on the coastal areas of the most industrially advanced cultures mentioned earlier cannot escape our recognition.
The complex ramifications of such vast realms of bio-disruption are innately beyond the reach of all but the most highly trained imaginations. Clearly the potentials are horrific, but specific empirical consequences are already legion and, as we have seen, have begun to be quantified by investigative teams. The mollifying mega-effects of ‘dead zones’ have even begun to devitalize inland waters. The following article from The University of Michigan on the web resonates with stridently timely innuendo:
“Researchers to study why dead zone returned to Lake Erie”
“A $2.5 million grant will fund a 5-year study examining why dead zones have returned to Lake Erie, and researchers hope the findings will allow them to detect the cause and stop the spread before the fishery and tourism industries suffer.”
"This is a very serious problem," said University of Michigan's Donald Scavia, professor in the School of Natural Resources and Environment, and lead investigator of the project. "In the 1960s and 1970s the Lake Erie dead zone was a key driver for enacting the Clean Water Act and stimulating the environmental movement. We thought the problem was solved, and the surprise is in the last few years the dead zone is back."
“Researchers from University of Michigan, the Cooperative Institute for Limnology and Ecosystems Research, NOAA, and several other universities will study the possible causes of the dead zone, as well as develop management and policy options and guidance on a course of action to alleviate the problem. CILER is one of 11 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration joint institutes and is administered by the SNRE. The grant, funded by NOAA's Center for Sponsored Coastal Ocean Research, provides scientists $506,190 for five years.”
“A dead zone is an area of oxygen starved water that cannot sustain aquatic habitat, said Scavia, who is also the director of Michigan Sea Grant. In the Lake Erie case, researchers will examine three main culprits and the relationships among them: excess phosphorous; zebra mussels; and global warming.”
“Of the three causes, nitrogen from farm runoff and treatment plants is the most well known. The nitrogen in fertilizer causes algae blooms that sink to the bottom and are consumed by bacteria, which consumes oxygen.”
“The second theory is that the zebra mussels may shunt the oxygen-consuming organic matter from the near shore to the bottom waters. In the third scenario, global warming has caused the layer of bottom water to become thinner, with less oxygen.”
“The dead zone materialized in Erie's central basin and can cover as much as three quarters of the area, Scavia said. It was discovered through routine monitoring of the lake.”
“The Great Lakes contain 18 percent of the world's surface freshwater and 90 percent of the surface freshwater in the U.S. They serve as the focus for a multi-billion dollar tourist and recreation industry, supply 40 million people with drinking water, provide habitat for wildlife and fish, and support transportation and agriculture production. Lake Erie is the smallest of the five Great Lakes.”(16.)
The oceans of our Planet are so stupefyingly huge that perhaps we must exercise a measure of extraordinary indulgence for our species in the name of reason. If the oceans have been the physical correlate within the subconscious human mind with infinity, the intuition might have hypothesized for Humanity only quasi-rational expectations for the illimitable seas. Recall that it was not so very many generations ago that impassioned discussions echoed within cultural centers of post-Renaissance Europe to debate whether mariners would be risking lives and vessels by sailing out beyond the horizon. Only the bravest and most visionary dared to suggest that these explorers would not “sail off the edge and fall into the abyss”. Thus perhaps our instincts might have pre-supposed a sub-conscious respect for the oceans analogous to the respect of a small child for the sublime experience of the parents. If in this way some naïveté developed that permitted humanity to expect that the vast seas would absorb and obviate anything our species might spew at them, let us suppose that we have to write off this phase, of presuming upon the absorptive resilience of the Oceans, as a learning experience. Then the task of actualizing a re-formulated relationship with our Planet’s Oceans is no less momentous in itself, though perhaps a little less onerous if we comprehend our irresponsibility in terms of the error of a trusting child, rather than a ruthless opportunist.
But how do we formulate our own forgiveness for the abuse of The Great Lakes? These momentous aqueous orbs cover 94,000 square miles (244,000 square kilometers), and include over 8000 miles (12,800 kilometers) of shoreline, and 30,000 islands. This magnificent system of freshwater watersheds holds approximately 20% of all the available clear sweetwater upon this Planet. That sweet one-fifth constitutes a mere 0.0072% of the 326,000,000,000,000,000,000 gallons (326 million trillion gallons) of water, both fresh and salt, in existence here, and it ought to be valued preciously by every intelligent living being. What could industry have been thinking, pouring poisons into these great, essentially humanly encompassed systems? We saw in the 1960’s the grotesquely gnarled and twisted beaks of Great Lakes birds, and responded with the strident legislation of the CWA and clean-up efforts against the injection of damnably toxic industrial by-products into the once magnificent and pristine Lakes. With continued deposition of human material bio-emissions, combined with the concomitant usage of synthetic fertilizers, the ‘dead zone’ degradation of the Great Lakes was inevitable, and indeed is now seen and measured, to the considerable anguish of the modern descendents of the proud “voyageurs”, and other early white explorers, as well as our predecessors from the Red Race, who, with us, so recently lavished praise upon the natural beauty of this realm.
It is estimated that 20 major cities located on the shores of the Great lakes watershed spew 3 trillion liters of mixed, treated sewage, and 93 billion liters of raw sewage into these unquestionably precious bodies of water every year. In one year alone, 2005, Detroit had more than 260 CSOs (“combined sewage overflows”) and released more than 50 billion litres of CSOs into this precious lake water.(17.) This says nothing of the 74 other significant municipalities (smaller than cities) that spew effluent into these irrefutably precious paragons of freshwater life systems. Indeed some effects, already causing ominous results, threaten to spin the ecological balance of the Great Lakes out of control. A tiny shrimp, only the size of a grain of rice, that has long been the foundation for the food chain that extends from the shrimp to minnows and juvenile gamefish, and up to the other great fishes may in fact be a keystone species for the health and stability of the entire Great Lakes ecosystem. This miniscule creature whose body contains an amazing 30% lipids, or fats and oils, an energy source needed and sought by other species, has been suffering mysterious disappearances in the Great Lakes. The cause for this potentially debilitating loss to the Great Lakes’ web of Life is still unknown. It could be directly hypoxia related, or algae-bloom related, which is again causally related to the hypoxic-anoxic or ‘dead zone’ problem. It could be caused by a virus, a fungus, a bacterium, or an invasive species. Even if it is one of these “other” causes, the lowered vitality inevitably concomitant with dwelling in oxygen-depleted waters certainly would make the tiny shrimp less able to resist infection and invasion. It is an almost inconceivable but already proven fact that if their little biological niche collapses, many other seemingly mightier bio-systems will collapse on top of them. And, the complexity of the interdependent interactions within natural ecosystems being what it is, the weakening caused by the presence of human effluents might therefore, very well be the “without-which-nothing” to bring about the terrible collapse.
The Ecologically Precious Diporeia Shrimp
A Great Lakes Mystery: The Case Of The Disappearing Species
Science Daily (June 2, 2008) — “Throughout the overlooked depths of Lake Michigan and other Great Lakes, a small but important animal is rapidly disappearing.”
“Until recently, the animal - a shrimplike, energy-dense creature called Diporeia - was a major food source for commercially important species like lake whitefish and many prey fish upon which salmon, trout and walleye rely.”
“Scientists are employing new research methods in a quest to explain their population freefall, which threatens to negatively affect the Lakes' ecosystems and $4 billion sport fishing industry, said Purdue University researcher Marisol Sepúlveda.”
“ "We want to narrow down likely causes for this decline," said Sepúlveda, an assistant professor of forestry and natural resources. "It may help us halt the animal's further disappearance." ”
“Sepúlveda has begun to identify substances involved in Diporeia metabolism, the set of chemical reactions that maintain life and allow organisms to respond to stress. Differences in levels of these metabolites between individuals and populations in various regions of the lakes may point toward the stressor or stressors responsible for their decline, she said.”
“In the same biological class as krill and shrimp, these rice grain-sized crustaceans dwell on lake bottoms and feed on descending algal plankton. Their bodies contain 30 percent to 40 percent lipids like fats and oils, making them a vital energy and nutrient source for the entire food web.”
“They are already gone from many large areas of lakes Michigan, Huron, Erie and Ontario, said collaborating researcher Tom Nalepa. In Lake Michigan, there are almost no Diporeia found at depths shallower than 90 meters. Just 15 years ago, their density often exceeded 10,000 animals per square meter at such depths, said Nalepa, a research biologist with the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory.”
“The spread of invasive zebra and quagga mussels - voracious filter feeders with an overlapping diet - largely coincides with Diporeia's decline and is widely believed to be at least partially responsible. But research cannot yet explain the link, Nalepa said. "We don't know why Diporeia are responding so negatively to the mussels," he said.”
“Sepúlveda is looking into another possible contributor to Diporeia's decline: water pollutants like pesticides, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), flame retardants or others.”
“Detailed in a study to be published in print and online next month in the journal Aquatic Toxicology, Sepúlveda measured Diporeia's response to a common pollutant and also began to identify differences between declining populations in Lake Michigan and those native to Lake Superior, the only Great Lake where populations remain stable. The latter comparison found the groups shared only 5 percent of their total metabolites, suggesting that animals from the two lakes are biologically quite different, Sepúlveda said. "The answer to Diporeia decline may be found in these variations," she said.”
“Sepúlveda and University of Michigan researcher Tomas Hook were awarded a four-year, $560,000 grant by the Great Lakes Fishery Trust in January of this year to further investigate possible causes for Diporeia's decline. Both researchers are co-principal investigators of the project.”
“ "We are casting a wide net to basically address a number of hypotheses at the same time," said Hook, a fisheries ecologist hired by Purdue who will begin work there this July.”
“In Sepúlveda's study, she and her team contrasted levels of metabolites between a group of control animals and that of an atrazine-exposed population of laboratory-reared Diporeia. They found that animals subjected to atrazine, a commonly used pesticide present in minute levels in Lake Michigan, significantly increased or decreased bodily production of five identifiable chemicals. These included an insect pheromone, a fatty acid, an amino acid and a hydrocarbon, she said.”
“ "We are just beginning to interpret these data, but they give us a better idea of how pollutants affect them," Sepúlveda said. "If nothing else, our results suggest that seemingly insignificant levels of pollution could significantly harm animals like Diporeia." ”
“The project should help address suggestions by some researchers that Diporeia and/or invasive zebra and quagga mussels may be capable of bioaccumulating or affecting levels of pollutants in a way that might intensify their harmful effects, Sepúlveda said.”
“The project also should deepen understanding of exactly how the invasive mussels hurt Diporeia, Hook said. Researchers have looked into, but have yet to determine, the extent to which the mussels outcompete the crustaceans for food, contaminate their surroundings with their effusive waste material, or influence the transmission and spread of diseases.”
“Regardless of the reason, Diporeia's decline has already had some measurable negative effects on various fish species. Alewives, an important prey fish that provides Chinook salmon well over 80 percent of its food, have declined in growth rates, condition - measured as the ratio of weight to length - and caloric density since Diporeia populations began declining, said Charles Madenjian, research fishery biologist with the United States Geologic Survey.”
“ "Alewives used to regularly reach 10 inches in length," Madenjian said. "Now we're lucky to find one that breaks 8 inches." Diporeia previously supplied 50 percent of the food source for the commercially important lake whitefish and now supply only about 5 percent. Since the crustacean's decline began in the 1990s, growth rates and the condition of lake whitefish have substantially fallen off, Madenjian said.”
“If Diporeia's decline proves to have similar negative consequences upon other species and continues to worsen, the most severe effects may be forthcoming, although it is difficult to predict such outcomes with any certainty, Nalepa said.”
“Hook said he believes the initial step in taking action is to pinpoint causes. "The first thing we can do is find out more precisely why they are declining," he said. "If we guess, any management decision we make could be counterproductive." ”
“Zebra and quagga mussels were almost certainly spread to the Great Lakes from Europe or East Asia in the fresh water ballasts of oceangoing vessels, beginning in the late 1980s, Nalepa said. People need to be aware of the risks of spreading harmful invasive species and such ballasts should be more tightly regulated or possibly banned, he said. In one simple preventive measure, boats exchange their freshwater ballast for salt water ballast in the open ocean, thereby killing any freshwater species present.”
“The study by Sepúlveda used a process called gas chromatography to separate metabolites and matched them with known chemicals on a national database. Researchers identified 76 metabolites among lake-dwelling animals and 302 among the control and atrazine laboratory populations. Results from the two comparative analyses suggest that fatty acids and hydrocarbons are important to the animal's survival or may be interfered with by particular stressors.
Diporeia put on much of their weight during the spring bloom of diatoms, algal plankton they feed upon, during which energy capture and storage are particularly paramount. This leaves them vulnerable to disruptions in food or their ability to store it, a process in which fatty acids play a key role, Sepúlveda said.”
“The four-year grant includes researchers from three major universities - Purdue, University of Michigan and the State University of New York - as well as two federal institutions, Hook said.”
“The published study was funded by a grant from Purdue's Center for the Environment. Co-authors include Sepúlveda 's doctoral student Kimberly Ralston-Hopper as well as Jiri Adamec, Amber Hopf and Cheolhwan Oh, scientists at Purdue's Bindley Bioscience Center.”(18.)
Horrific as the pollution of the Great Lakes may have been and indeed continue to be, this is not the world’s worst example of Humanity’s self-degrading abuse of natural landlocked waterways that have been encompassed, and theoretically thoroughly managed by our species. Indeed, the Black Sea is noted as the locus of the largest ‘dead zone’ on our Planet, and other areas in the Middle East are facing similar problems. The Aral Sea, of course, in nearby southwestern Russia, no longer faces the dangers of anoxic suffocation. Human abuse of water resources there have resulted in the actual virtual disappearance of this once precious resource. For all practical purposes, it no longer exists as a major body of water. Human abuse of this precious resource simply drained it away. More consideration for Nature’s vital bodies of the fluid of Life is imperative, and more effective planning for sustainable water use is the self-evident response to this need.
The following information on the cruise ship industry needs to be put into perspective. Cruise ships are only the small fraction of the totality of vessels, licensed and unlicensed, that ply the waters of our great rivers, lakes and oceans. The other vessels also have human crews, staff, and passengers who produce material emissions. The USS Enterprise and other great aircraft carriers have been referred to as “floating cities”. The effluent from their “sanitation” facilities represents a small but significant proportion of the oppression that is wrought upon our Oceans and other waters by humanly engineered aquatic conveyances. Just as the modern composting toilets have been made available to the motorhome and RV users, the composting systems can fill the niche for satisfying the sanitary needs of boaters, from casual day-trippers to world cruising tourists and the world’s massively equipped navies. And again, when the human material emissions are blessing the land with fertility, not only will the natural waters be relieved of the burden of our bio-silt, the waters will also be relieved by the replacement of the synthetic fertilizers with carefully composted organic fertilizer.
The data from the cruise ship industry leaves no room for doubt that the influence of floating humanity is a profound one, especially, certainly, in their home ports as well as within the sensitive “paradise harbors” that attract their tourist fares. The currents of the Ocean flow like great rivers within our vast seas, and the tales are substantiated of the trash from New York City washing up on the coasts of Northern Europe, Iceland, and Greenland. We do not need to think deeply in order to recognize that the other materials alien to the ocean will be carried by the oceanic conveyor belt also.
The ResidentSea Ocean Liner Carries around 5,000 people (19.)
The following article excerpt was drawn from the website of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. The information it discloses was therefore compiled by skilled and dedicated professionals. A few of the comments that apply especially to the Monterey Bay Sanctuary are included because their lessons have a more general relevance as well.
Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary
Resource Management Issues
Resource Protection Issue: Cruise Ships
“Large cruise ships began visiting Monterey, with three visits in 2002, 14 visits in 2003, 21 visits in 2004, 9 visits for 2005, 2 visits in 2006, 1 visit in 2007, and 3 visits scheduled for 2008. These ships can provide local businesses with economic benefits, particularly if they introduce the region to tourists who may return for later visits. However, both the public and businesses have raised concerns about environmental issues associated with these ships. Cruise ships are of enormous size, capable of generating massive volumes of waste. Currently the largest vessel in the global cruise line fleet, Royal Caribbean’s Voyager of the Seas, is larger than an aircraft carrier at 1,017 feet in length and holds more than 5,000 passengers and crew.”
“Worldwide, cruise ships constitute a large and rapidly growing industry. The industry consistently grew at a rate of eight percent per year between 1992 and 20022. By the end of 2001, the worldwide fleet of cruise ships totaled 167 vessels; the industry will increase the fleet by 38 vessels by 2005, an increase of forty-five percent for this five-year period. Passenger numbers in North America are expected to increase from 6.8 million in 2001 to 11.9 million in 2010.”
Environmental Impacts of Cruise Ships and Current Regulation
“Due to their sheer size and capacity for passengers, cruise ships can cause serious impacts to the marine environment. The main pollutants generated by a cruise ship are: sewage, also referred to as black water; gray water; oily bilge water; hazardous wastes, and; solid wastes.”
“While large cruise vessels are the equivalent of small cities in regard to waste production, they are not subject to the strict environmental regulations and monitoring requirements that land based facilities are required to comply with, such as obtaining discharge permits, meeting numerous permit conditions and conducting monitoring of discharges. However, there are a number of existing laws that address some aspect of cruise ship discharge. The various pollutants contained on cruise ships, their environmental impacts, and their current regulatory controls are outlined below.”
“Sewage includes vessel sewage and wastewater from medical facilities. Sewage from ships is generally more concentrated than that from land based sources, as it is diluted with less water when flushed (three quarts versus three to five gallons). Sewage discharge can contain bacteria or viruses that cause disease in humans and other wildlife. It can present a public health concern, if discharged in the vicinity of marine life harvested for human consumption, or in or near waters used for recreational activities such as swimming, diving, or boating. Nutrients in the sewage can cause eutrophication, whereby excessive growth of algae depletes oxygen and can lead to the death of fish and other organisms. Additionally, chemicals and deodorants including chlorine, ammonia, or formaldehyde are often used in Marine Sanitation Devices (MSD), and can present a threat to marine organisms. Volumes of sewage for a typical cruise ship have been estimated at between five to ten gallons per person per day, or up to 210,000 gallons per week.”
“Sewage is classified as a pollutant under the Clean Water Act (CWA). However, cruise ships are not subject to the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Permitting Program, which requires land-based facilities to obtain a permit for discharges under the CWA . Black water from cruise ships is regulated under Section 312 of the CWA, which requires vessels to possess a US Coast Guard certified MSD. A MSD is a piece of equipment designed to treat or store sewage prior to discharge. A type II MSD must meet a water quality standard of 200 fecal coliform per 100 ml of water, for sewage treatment. A type III MSD, also referred to as a holding tank, is designed to contain sewage until it can be disposed. Section 312 of the CWA is jointly implemented by the USCG and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and states may also enforce Federal standards. Section 312 requires the use of MSDs for all vessels within 3 miles of shore, and vessels over sixty-five feet to have a type II or type III MSD7. In certain cases the Act can also be applied to any discharge that occurs beyond the three-mile limit but may affect waters within the limit.”
“Under the Clean Water Act, raw sewage can be legally discharged beyond three nautical miles. However, MBNMS regulations prohibit the discharge of raw sewage and require that discharges from vessels throughout the Sanctuary occur through a properly functioning Type I or Type II MSD that meets the standards of Section 312 of the Clean Water Act.”
“Graywater consists of wastewater from sinks, showers, laundry, and galleys. It can contain a number of pollutants including: suspended solids, oil, grease, ammonia, nitrogen, phosphates, copper, lead, mercury, nickel, silver and zinc, detergents, cleaners, oil and grease, metals, pesticides, and medical and dental wastes. A typical cruise ship produces an estimated 1,000,000 gallons of graywater per week.”
“Bilge water consists of fuel, oil, and wastewater from engines and machinery that collects, along with fresh water and seawater in the area at the bottom of the ship’s hull, as a result of spills, leaks, and routine operations. It may also contain other materials such as rags, cleaning agents, paint, and metal shavings. A typical cruise ship generates an estimated 25,000 gallons of bilge water per week.”
“Discharge of fuel or oil, including oily bilge water, is subject to stringent requirements of the Oil Pollution Act and section 311 of the CWA11. Under this law, which is enforced by the USCG, vessels are prohibited from releasing any discharge with an oil content of greater than fifteen parts of oil per one million parts water (ppm). Beyond twelve miles, discharges with oil content greater than 100 ppm is prohibited. Several cruise line companies require their vessels to have additional equipment that treats the oily bilge water to 5ppm. Discharge of oily wastes is also addressed under the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL), and under the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships (APPS), which incorporates MARPOL provisions into federal law. They set requirements for the release of oil and noxious substances, set standards for reporting discharges, and establish monitoring and record keeping protocols. MBNMS regulations prohibit the discharge of oily wastes from bilge pumping at any concentration.”
“Cruise ships take in millions of gallons of ballast water, in order to stabilize the vessel for safe and efficient operation. During the process they take in thousands of species of marine organisms, including various types of larvae, fish eggs, and microorganisms. The water is often drawn in from coastal waters in one area, and discharged at another location. This process has led to the introduction of invasive species, which disrupt marine ecosystems, and cost the U.S. billions of dollars per year.”
“Ballast water operations are currently regulated by the state of California by the Ballast Water Management for Control of Nonindigenous Species Act. The Act requires vessels to exchange ballast water, in waters beyond 200 nautical miles from land and at least 2000 meters deep, or to retain all ballast water. However, no similar regulations yet address vessels involved only in coastal transits.”
“Hazardous wastes produced on cruise ships include by-products of dry cleaning and photo processing operations, paints and solvents, batteries, fluorescent light bulbs containing mercury, and wastes from print shops. A typical ship produces an estimated 110 gallons of photo processing chemicals, five gallons of dry cleaning wastes, and ten gallons of used paints per week. These substances can be toxic or carcinogenic to marine life.”
“The U.S. Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) imposes management requirements on cruise ships and other vessels that generate or transport hazardous waste and requires that hazardous materials be offloaded to land based treatment or disposal facilities.”
“Solid wastes generated by cruise ships include large volumes of food waste, cans, glass, wood, cardboard, paper, and plastic. Plastic debris can be ingested or cause entanglement to marine life including marine mammals, seabirds, and sea turtles. In some cases the wastes are incinerated on the vessel and the ash is discharged at sea; other wastes are disposed of on shore or recycled. A typical cruise ship generates eight tons of solid waste per week.”
“The discharge of solid wastes is regulated under APPS and CWA. The Marine Plastic Pollution and Control Act regulates the disposal of plastics and garbage pursuant to ANNEX V of MARPOL. Under these regulations the disposal of plastics is prohibited in any waters, and floating dunnage and packing materials are prohibited in navigable water within twenty-five nautical miles from land. Other garbage including paper, glass, rags, metal, and similar materials is prohibited within twelve nautical miles from shore (unless macerated, in which case it can be disposed of beyond land).”
Cruise Line Industry Violations
“The cruise line industry historically has had a relatively poor record regarding environmental violations. The vast majority of cruise ships are foreign flagged. According to a report published by the Government Accounting Office, there were eighty-seven confirmed illegal discharge cases from cruise ships between 1992 and 1998 in U.S. waters. Eighty-one of these cases involved oil, and six involved plastic or garbage. Seventy-five percent of these violations were accidental (human or mechanical error).”
Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary staff on patrol(20.)
Cruise Line Industry Initiatives
“A number of cruise lines have made significant improvements to address environmental concerns in recent years. The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) is the main trade association that represents 16 of the world’s largest cruise lines (95% N American Market, 85% worldwide), and serves as a consultative organization to the International Maritime Organization. CLIA lines reported a reduction in waste by more than 50% between 1992 and 2002. In 2001, the Cruise Industry Waste Management Practices and Procedures document was adopted by CLIA members, and is now a mandatory condition for membership in the organization. Among the principles in this document are: full compliance with international laws and regulations; maintenance of cooperative relationships with U.S. and international regulatory agencies; design, construction, and operation of more environmentally sensitive vessels; utilization of new technologies; adoption of strategies for conserving resources through purchasing and product management; minimization of waste and increasing reuse and recycling; optimization of energy use/efficiency; management of discharges; and, education of guests and staff. These standards are then placed into the Safety Management System for each vessel. Several cruise lines have adopted even more stringent voluntary measures, including Celebrity cruises, whose vessels are required by corporate policy to discharge black water no closer than 12 miles from shore.”
“Within the Sanctuary, three cruise lines which visited in 2002 voluntarily adopted a no discharge policy within the Sanctuary, following numerous conversations and meetings with Sanctuary staff, State and local government officials and environmental organizations. While the Sanctuary welcomed these voluntary agreements, one of the cruise lines subsequently broke the agreement by discharging within Sanctuary boundaries upon its departure from Monterey. Critics argue that these voluntary industry initiatives are self regulated, not taken seriously by cruise ship operators, and unenforceable.”
Monterey Bay NMS Management Plan Initiatives
“As noted above, a wide array of pollutants may be discharged in large volumes from cruise ships. Although there are a number of existing laws and regulations that partly address this issue, there is a need for a more comprehensive prohibition on cruise ship discharges within the MBNMS. These will be developed further as the main components of the JMPR Cruise Ship Action Plan. This plan outlines specific strategies and actions for addressing the threats posed by harmful cruise ship discharges. They include developing a regulation which prohibits these discharges, outreach to the cruise industry regarding Sanctuary policies, developing enforcement and monitoring programs and creating a cruise ship passenger education program.”(21.)
If the above exploration of the dimensions of the issues of concern regarding proper regulation of emissions from aquatic vessels seems complex and tangential, consider this: the frankness and comprehensiveness of the article’s exploration of the subject serve to give us a realistic grasp upon the range of considerations required to genuinely examine the topic. I reiterate that the essential solution is pure and simple: fertilize the Land, not the water with our material bio-emissions. Here we are moved to add that we should be wise to bear in mind that conquering the challenge of anoxic regions will not be the sufficiency in the effort to restore the purity of our water planetwide. Our eventual victory over the ominous threat of aquatic ‘dead zones’ will certainly be a significant milestone. As we progress in the realm of our sense of mastery over our own human creations and causations, we will have a firmer footing knowing we have re-established and re-affirmed our conscious contract within the greatest partnership with the Life System which evolved us and which sustains us. That is the conscious partnership between the provider of our breath and our nourishment, the Plant Kingdom, and ourselves. Through both empirical and experiential science, we are re-discovering that we serve as the provider also to the dimension of the Great Life that provides for us.
A little aside here is in order concerning what we mean by the terms “carefully composted”. We continually assert that human and domestic animal material bio-emissions are the simple and natural satisfaction to numerous significant needs of modern human culture, but only when the organic fertilizer is carefully and properly prepared. Just as the designer fertilizer products of the chemical companies are crafted to address diverse needs for the rebuilding or revitalization of the soil, the organic composted products can and should be crafted to address each particular type of soil depletion. Thus alkali soil might be composted with a soil amendment that had been composted with the mix richly strewn with highly acidic citrus peels from the citrus industry. Another specialized compost could be mixed to produce nitrogen rich product. Still another might be composed to restore phosphorous to the soil, and so on. “Organic” does not mean tossed in a heap for a while, then onto the land. Given the complex nutritional needs of Humanity, let alone the increasingly crucial environmental imperatives of our times, this very central and very essential process needs to be moderated by careful scientific monitoring at every stage. We should find, as I have said, the companies whose synthetic products we are thus replacing more than willing to contribute time and talent to the task of developing a range of “compost recipes” to restore or fortify every sort of soil condition. The transition to the abundant organics can and should be a benefit to everyone.
Through generations of self-obsession with the things of our own human productivity, Humanity had lost its Center. We are regaining our sense of citizenship within the Life Process through recognizing that co-creative essence dwells not only within the human species, but pulsates through the Life System around us, re-affirmed constantly in the most fundamental transactions that maintain our very metabolic processes. With a new sense of enlightened wholeness we can authentically believe and bring into being the vision that seemed ‘too good to be true’ only a generation ago: the vision of the simultaneous fulfillment of both Humanity’s scientific-technological aspirations, and Nature’s desire for purity, passion, abundance, and security. Water is, again, the very substance of the concept of purity within Nature’s Life. Removing the toxic stain of our self-obsession with human industry from our pristine natural waters, will itself take us a long way toward removing the guilt and self-doubt from our sense of worthiness as a people and as a species.
Foundations and Ramifications:
to the Correct Re-Direction of Human Bio-Emissions
Humanity is “the Intellectual Species”. The first moment of existence for each of the numerous human sub-families of the great family of Humanity began with the identity-defining experience of Unity that establishes each human existence as a function of the objective mind of the One, protected by the new unified group vision, the Intellect. . . “We are all One!”
This experience is not a deviance from the natural evolutionary flow of Life’s progression. It is the inevitable consequence of the striving of Life Itself within each living being to appreciate origin.
Drawing of the foetus of White-Sided Dolphin, revealing stage where head is perpendicular to the spine, and other human-like qualities, such as fingers and ears, remain evident.(22.)
The species that achieves realization of the Unity that the originating Light is, becomes, in that moment of realization, a species with Intellect. In the primordial levels of the Life of the human species, we are constituted of aeons of previous successes, each glorious attainment building upon the adaptations of its predecessors in the more primal realms to achieve its new and exhalted perspective. The factual essence of this assertion is borne out by the examination of the stages of development of the human embryo (and the embryos of other higher life systems). Although we never really need gills to gain the oxygen required to sustain our embryonic metabolism in the womb, these, and each of the many previous and following embryonic stages are given form as the young organism develops, as material proof of and to celebrate the glorious progression of the great successes that constitute our ancestry within the timeless, inexorable and beautiful manifestation of Life’s evolutionary process. Once having attained the perspective of the Light of Life through the “We are all One!” experience, we humans are expected to express the meaning of seeing and knowing from within the perspective that encompasses all beings within the Great Unity of Life.
Hence environmental conscience should not be regarded as a peculiarity manifesting in the odd individual, and having no special significance for the whole. Rather, such conscience should be regarded as part of the natural maturity of the glorious experience of Unity that brought forth our species and all Life. The experience of Unity is the definitive experience of human beingness. Our natural sense of feeling is not restricted solely to our own species. We feel compellingly strong loyalties to many other lives we associate with, especially our horses, dogs, and cats. These feelings also expand to embrace birds, fish, other primates, deer, and great ones like our bears, big cats, dolphins and whales. These feelings and intuitions even co-spatially celebrate the vibrance and centrality of the Life principle with the intelligence of the plant kingdom for some. And our sense of unity with other lives and Life Itself is not restricted to the realms of feeling and intuition. The dimension of communion of the human with all Life includes cognitive aspects as well.
Since our sense of Unity with the scintillating potency of the Life of Nature derives directly from the experience that caused this and every sub-family of the human species, the causal core of our being, it is patently facile to suppose that we can seriously degrade the beauty or functionality of Nature’s irreproachable endeavor without inflicting analogously central and damaging trauma to our own species and our prospects for survival and progress.
Directionless frustration at the apparent incongruousness of oppressive, destructive human nature with the sublime “Eternal Ideals” which we proclaim, swear our sacred oaths upon, and celebrate, results in the directionless aggression of anti-social or criminal behavior that may attach itself to contented people as convenient victims, both near and far. Thus we are puzzled and troubled by horrific statistics on domestic violence, crime in our streets, and crimes between nations, and we are assaulted by a barrage of mollifying scenes of carnage, as, night after night, the world news reveals a cavalcade of shocking and violent exceptions to the rules of civil behavior between human persons, and these initiated often by the greatest vessels of our civilized ideals, the modern religions and nations. Passing these events off to human nature initializes another anguished conundrum, because again, the nature of Humanity originated within the experience of Unity. The conflicts examined in the modern media reveal a profusion of behaviors that are diametrically opposed to the cherished ideals of civil society. The feeling of self-betrayal gives rise to the sense of absurdity which is the obviation of all effective human pride, creativity, and initiative. And it is this quality of human despair that manifests as the pointless aggressions, the obsessive greed, the other unhealthful diversions of a Humanity dearly in need of a firm re-grounding. Separation from our Unity with all Life is directly correlative with separation from our sense of true purpose. We have to start transforming the basic things that shame us and distance us from our primal core, such as air and water pollution, as well as the abuse of the soil, the forests, and the coral reefs, and so on, if we will rationally approach rediscovery of our own primal innocence, wherefrom our true dignity and all happiness and meaningful productiveness express.
Here, we assert to you that the betrayal of our clear, pure, natural waters for the sake of the habitual convenience of the water flush toilet is already a cultural archetype that has effectively passed into obsolescence. These Victorian Era modern marvels of hygienic home-living may have been stylish in that day, but a more comprehensive sense of satisfaction should be the goal today as we conceive the maturity phase of Humanity’s relationship with itself and with Nature. Our technological creativity is capable of producing today a system that removes the material emissions from the home in a manner that is both efficient and pleasant, sensually and aesthetically, while simultaneously transforming this material into a gift that reconnects us with and vitalizes Nature, who has provided for our tables so bountifully from her fecund topsoils.
The following article by Environmental Scientist Maj-Brit Quitzau of Denmark lends credence to our assertion of the need for transformation of water-based systems and the development and deployment of the more environmentally agreeable composting systems. The headlines which accompany this same article at various locations on the net were a message in themselves: “The Western World’s Dependence Upon Flush Toilets Could Be Its Environmental Downfall” ; “Study- Flush Toilets May Need to Be Disposed Of” : “Flushing Toilets May Trigger a Disaster in the Western World” . . .It is obvious that the matter-of-fact style of the researcher provoked some strongly felt responses among the reviewers in the press.
“Toilets that use less water, such as the "squat toilet" in which one squats over a hole in the ground, are prevalent in parts of Asia, Europe and Africa, but a new historical study suggests that after decades of flushing, it will take radical innovations for the mainstream West to adopt any new system.”
“ "Most people can hardly imagine that other ways of handling human waste have ever existed," said study author Maj-Britt Quitzau, an environmental sociologist with the National Environmental Research Institute of Denmark. "But actually, systems did exist prior to the flushing toilet where human waste was collected within the cities and re-used in farming areas." ”
“Since the 1900s, scientists have known that flushing away human waste comes with environmental consequences , such as using precious, potable water. Each year, a typical person will use almost 4,000 gallons of drinking water to flush away 75 pounds of feces and 130 gallons of urine, according to a 2001 study by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency.”
“While drinking-water shortages plague millions in such places as India and in some African nations, Westerners continue to oppose alternatives to the flushing toilet.”
“To understand the West's preference for flushing toilets, Quitzau surveyed historical research on attitudes toward human excrement and the technological development of water and sewage systems. She then analyzed statistical data on current attempts to introduce alternative solutions.”
“The research suggests that in order to succeed, toilets designed to save water must hurdle our culture's long history of city planning and well-intentioned obsession with hygiene.”
”Westerners have not always been addicted to flushing toilets. In the 1850s, for example, a recycling "earth toilet" was as American as apple pie. “It consisted of a seat placed over a container filled with dry earth. After use, more dry earth was piled into the container. Instead of throwing away the waste in the container, farmers put it to use in agricultural fields as compost.”
Convenience and City Planners
“However, with the introduction of sewer systems in major cities and new moral attitudes toward human waste products, the labor-intensive method lost out to the convenience of the flush, according to Quitzau's research, detailed in the August issue of the journal Technology in Society.”
“The flushing toilets required water and sewage system to facilitate easy and enclosed removal of waste. Even with its added expense, Quitzau said, "city planners and health personnel became some of the principal spokesmen for flushing toilets. They were troubled about the problems that growing urbanization brought along in the Western cities at this time." ”
“In the city of Stockholm alone, the number of water-flushing toilets rose from 127 to more than 80,000 between 1890 and 1925, according to a study reported in a Swedish Science Press journal. At the same time, environmentally sound earth closets, considered less sanitary, went extinct.”
“Although many Westerners would never consider turning in their flushing toilet for a night pot or a cesspool, some pioneers are thinking outside the bowl.”
“Composting toilets (which rely on bacteria to convert fecal matter into fertilized soil) require no water, and urine-separating toilets rely on a minimal amount of water to wash waste into one of two compartments in the bowl.”
“The technologies remain relatively unpopular because people in developed countries are programmed—and their houses and cities are built—to flush it all away.”
“ "Perhaps sometime in the future," said Quitzau, "people in Western cities could accept the idea of using human urine and feces as resources instead of as wastes." ”
“Until then, the unsanitary stigma will haunt some of the modern replacements for water-flushing toilets. Quitzau says composting toilets are unfavorable because, although much improved technologically, they still remind people of ancient, unappetizing waterless technologies, such as the earth closet or outhouses.”
“Building flush-free toilets to satisfy the masses will not be simple and, unlike the composting toilet, may require mimicking toilets that flush and must be user-friendly, Quitzau said.”
“ "This is not something, which can be suddenly changed," she said. "Houses are built with respect to flushing toilets, not with respect to composting toilets requiring a collection chamber in the basement. Urban planners are taught about sewage systems and not sustainable toilet systems, where human urine and feces are collected and transported to farming areas." ”
“Currently, toilet technologies are focused on convenience, comfort and design, rather than sustainability, Quitzau says.”
“However, the vacuum toilet—familiar to airplane passengers—is one technique that has some potential for appealing to Westerners stuck in their old flushing ways. The noisy vacuum toilet functions similarly to a flushing toilet. Yet the environmental costs of the energy-sucking suction may not be worth the tradeoff.”
“The most likely candidate to replace the flushing toilet will most likely incorporate the convenience of flushing toilets with the sustainability of composting toilets.”
"The stability of flushing toilets is still strong, and it will take both technological advancements and changes in social and cultural patterns in order for more sustainable toilet solutions to gain a stronger foothold," Quitzau said.”(23.)
In addition to the most apparent benefit of establishing planetwide the pattern of the composting of human and domestic animal bio-materials with agricultural trimmings and municipal, as well as residential grass clippings, autumn leaf collections, and the like, is the measurable relief afforded by this intelligent re-direction of incidental bio-fiber production away from the already straining system of “garbage dumps” and “land fills”. The mass of organically valuable bio-fiber that is being consigned to the toxic tomb of trash dumps and “land fills” amounts to a prodigious amount of material, constituting a significant proportion of the total substance within these “disposal” sites. We are told that bio-fiber, including both paper and wood, as well as residential and municipal garden trimmings and grass clippings, should always be separated from the technologically generated garbage in our trash and given proper re-integration with planetary bio-processes, and this is quite obviously one of the most efficient modalities, if not the most efficient, for achieving such re-integration. This separation could be happening automatically, monitored by electronic sensing technologies, as part of our routine trash processing infrastructure within modern societies. But, as we are all aware, the dirty and impractical “garbage disposal” processes that have injected foul excrescences into our ground water and which quite frequently add, by the way, significant burden to our suffering estuaries, are still the predominant pattern. Little inspiration has been made available to the mind of the general citizenry of our culture as to the practicality of the ideal of 100% recycling of all technologically produced materials, or the relative simplicity of an automated recycling technology that separates all paper, cardboard, wood, plastic, glass, stone, electronic circuit boards and so on, so swiftly and efficiently as to result in cost-effective and even profit-making municipal trash-mining operations. Although there is some strong interface between this area of endeavor and the present study, we shall let the above comments suffice. Diversion of private and municipal grass clippings and related trim from already over-burdened landfills into profitable organic fertilizer production is irrefutably still another “all-win” aspect to the necessary and quality-of-life enhancing endeavor getting our bio-soils back to the land, and purifying our precious natural waters.
It is only the habitual instinctivism in our recent past that designed an inappropriate technology to industrially enhance a pattern that always has been illegitimate – the use of water to “get rid” of our material emissions. It is the flush toilets themselves, I dare to tell you, that need to be gotten rid of now. Water, the virtual substance of, and the natural symbol of Life’s purity, ought never to be used as the conveyance for humanly originated corruption or dirt in any significant quantity. Of course, this means even our wash water, from our dishes and our bathing, needs to be completely recycled, either by filtering or ionic purification for human re-use, or perhaps by careful diversion to the hydration needs of agriculture.
As we examine with some degree of specific detail further on in this piece, our more primal peoples learned hard lessons that clearly communicated Nature’s displeasure with the deposition of any but the purely incidental amounts of the terrestrial animal’s bio-emissions. Having today attained to a stature in the power to manifest Human culture where it seems merely a pleasant option to devote genuine attention to the concerns of the primal nature of Mother Life, we have shown not the grace but the disgrace of technological culture by ignoring her concerns until they are anguished cries or even desperate pleas. When we have poisoned our own sense of inspiration in the precious waters and lands which once renewed the Faith in Life and Freedom for our illustrious predecessors, then real harm is already being done to Humanity as well as to Nature. At such junctures existential shifts are occurring within our depths which cause us to be less capable of appreciating each other and life, and thus less able to grasp the formulae that equate with our own survival, as a species, and as individuals. Hence lasting health and the harmony of Humanity as a whole have been gradually degraded until these practical guidelines for a good life often seem to many people like abstractions or unattainably ethereal ideals.
When I say “when we have poisoned our own sense of inspiration”, I am not referring to an abstraction. We have made reference to the abundant correlation, not only in literature but in science, of water to the dimension of feelings. The understanding of modern psychology today is progressing from the mundane relationships of persons and their thought into and beyond the para levels, where real-time thought interactions have been quantitatively assessed. The union of all Life, associated previously only with the meta-levels of thought, is routinely becoming accessible for the appreciation of the general awareness of Humanity. With the recognition that all of Life is of a unity within awareness, the viability of concepts such as the “Gaia” paradigm, that might have seemed quaint in Georgian or Victorian times, is now acknowledged as legitimate and experientially validated. “Gaia” is the Hindu name for our Planet that conveys the idea of this celestial orb as a fully sentient living entity in and of Herself. She is the Unity of All Life at the planetary level, and is addressed as the living Mind and Heart of our World as a whole.
One had to be a mystic in previous centuries to be able to genuinely appreciate this paradigm. To humble Nature lovers in all times, of course, this idea is a mere formalization of what they have always known, at least in feeling or intuitively. The Planet is the being of Mother Nature, and anyone who might sincerely ask if Mother Nature is alive should be immediately pitied as an idiot or scoffed as a devil. And the seasoned biologist or ecologist of our times is empirically approaching the same level of intimate self-assurance with regard to the cognitive viability of the Life principle. If such a person were asked if the Bio-Sphere is alive they should think the questioner was joking. Life Itself knows It is alive, and we all know. The forest knows. The river knows. In fact we are coming to realize that it is only through the Life within us that we are knowing, self-aware, and cognitively illumined beings.
Humanity, in this unfolding maturity phase of expression, has begun to take the awareness of this fact of livingness even for granted. At least at the most energetically self-aware and self-evolving end of the spectrum of culture, the human identity is less and less thinking of itself as progressing within a mechanistic, an unknowing, or an unconscious material world.
And the dimension of awareness that we refer to as the feelings have much more than a mere abstract correlation with water; they have always had a direct existential correspondence with the natural waters of our Planet. I say this now because of the ripening of awareness referred to above. The connections of the personal experience with the meta-dimensions of Life’s awareness are no longer “taboo”, or relegated to the fantasy realm. People are becoming able to acknowledge their actual feeling correspondence with the great being of Life, with Nature, and this gives the modern mind a more comprehensive grasp upon reality. Her waterways are the experiential actuality of feeling within the Mother Life who is the totality of beingness of our World. Her rivers, lakes and oceans are the organs of Her Emotions. At least the broadest dimension of human feeling emerges from the latent or omnipresent symphony of feeling pulsating within the Unity of Life in Mother at the foundation of all of our experience. Hence, in a very real way, Her rivers, lakes, and oceans are conduits of our own emotions as well. Our sense of identity in both feeling and thought are thus founded within the being of Life Itself. Therefore, the quality of Identity that we derive from existence as persons is directly and concretely related to the quality of life substance that is imparted by human culture to the living Bio-Sphere of Mother Nature. Having a deep feeling connection with Life is having a close connection with the authentic foundation of our feelings. And therefore failing to acknowledge that the fouling corruption caused by human sewerage and other pollutants is directly responsible for a fouling corruption of human feelings as well as the disturbingly evident disruption of natural life-systems, is simply disingenuous. It is expressive of a bid for legitimacy of an incredibly dis-connected experience of reality. At this point in the evolution of the rational intellect and human culture, such a view, or lack of a view, would have to be labeled as unacceptably myopic, callous, or simply dishonest. And if we allow unhealthfully dishonest views to influence, much less guide, the direction of human industry and culture then we must be accounted as reprehensibly, and perhaps at this juncture, even self-destructively irresponsible.
Therefore it simply is time that we take full authority and responsibility for an unacceptable situation that has developed incrementally, but has amassed into a global problem which is causing irrefutably negative effects, and which we can and must remedy. The innuendo of simplicity transmitted by the previous statement is legitimately applied to only the most obvious and glaring offense to the natural waters of our planet, the problem of bio-emissions from human culture. Other challenges to the purity and dignity of the living waters of our World are being brought to bear by chemical industries and by warfare. And these must indeed be addressed, but this challenge is outside the purview of the current study.
Although the matter of restoring the human and domestic animal material emissions to the land is, in fact, essentially simple, it is, for the mere massiveness of it, as we have stated before, by no means easy.
In concise language, the answer might be stated: “We must keep and compost all human and domestic animal bio-emissions with residential, municipal, and agricultural vegetative trimmings, and produce from this a pleasingly neutral and rich soil amendment for terrestrial utilization.” It sounds elegantly simple until one thinks of all the flush toilets there are in the World, (there are many hundreds of millions) and all the hundreds of thousands of miles of pipe that connects these to the many thousands of miles of sewer lines which join with the plethora industrially engineered sewage treatment facilities. All of this must change. The physical transformation alone is an awesome concept, without regard to the multitude of professional plumbers who would have to be re-trained to work with new equipment. However, effecting the process of re-direction of the natural soil gift of Humanity to the green kingdom and away from the natural waters, through transformation of the material bio-emission in a well-conceived process of organic fertilizer production entails more than mere replacement of the outmoded “sewage treatment” systems.
Significant segments of planetary culture are energetically engaged in the exploitation of the energy contained within the material bio-emissions in scenarios which give indication of only a slight regard for the natural pattern of perfection, referred to above, of returning gift to the plant kingdom. This matter of unawareness of the natural essentiality of this pattern, has profound origins and similarly profound ramifications.
As we are given to emphasize, Humanity is the intellectual species, whose identity itself abides within a shared experience of Unity. Many of the traditional disciplines that have prepared our philosophers and mystics for the experience of the dimension wherefrom the essential identity of Humanity was derived have been steeped in the ideas of self-denial, even asceticism, for the disciplined preparation they offer to enable the perception and expression of the Truth, Eternal and/or Universal. The ascetic traditions frequently demand specific denial of the body as a locus of identity as the aspirants are cultured for the experience of identity that transcends all personal feelings, thoughts, and sensations. This quest for attunement to the dimensions that strengthen the viability of the junction of Humanity with the Source of order, and the wellspring of all proper civil and spiritual Law, is, in itself, an irrefutably good and commendable goal, therefore the innuendo of un-naturalness implicit to practices such as fasting, prolonged isolation, and exotically contorted physical postures, or for that matter, the extreme self – deprivation imposed by the ambitious corporate climber, or zealous bureaucrat, have generally been recognized as acceptable, and even normal, in spite of their apparent conflict with our natural instincts and bodily processes. The need for renewal with knowledge from the central life-stream of our Purpose is imperative enough to justify anguished austerities. However, the deeply-rooted respectability, even reverence, generated by the expressions emanating from the culture of self-denial for the sake of knowledge has a profound effect of distinctly contrary character that requires compensatory effort in order that the goal of clear and balanced understanding of the Laws of Life is not compromised.
The contrary effect we speak of derives from the fact that self-denial is inseparably joined to denial of the body and thereby of Life, whose very essences we are intending to reverence by the undertaking of such disciplines. As every living being is of the substance and essence of Life, this aspect of the present phase of the development of human identity has carried with it the odd effect of a duality within human nature that reveals a pride that may even spill into the excesses of presumptuousness or pomposity, and simultaneously shelter a groping, doubtful, or tentative sense of groundedness or connectedness with Life that makes many humans feel somewhat unworthy and disconnected from Life. There is, then, an inevitable compulsion to driving the normal field of view of Humanity away from the immensity, antiquity, and subtlety of Life because of this sense of unworthiness.
And this same sense of unworthiness results in the casual indifference to the perfection of the pattern of re-integration of Humanity with Nature at every juncture, including, of course, the essential interface of discussion in this piece. This is the pattern of the natural return of the human and domestic animal bio-emissions to the Plant Kingdom, whose bio-processes virtually alone bind the energy of sunlight into the organic compounds with which we have constructed and with which we sustain our bodily existences. The modern person should not have to be reminded that, whether we sustain upon plant substance directly, or indirectly through other animals, plants must originally synthesize protein and the other important organic nourishments before they become constituent to our flesh. The modern person should not have to be reminded that plants must originally release oxygen from its bond with carbon before it becomes available for animal respiration. The point being that Humanity is usually marginally aware of the central fact that we have evolved within an intimate co-creative mutualism with the green plants. And this lack of awareness is caused not only by our carelessness in prioritizing the fruits of our prodigious scientific knowledge. We have inherited a sense of detachment from our bodies that has caused us to undervalue central and fundamental data and our sense of belongingness to the Life Process, and thus to fail to notice the difference between a dutiful necessity and a viable option. Our well-grounded natural perception will not fail to notice and respond to a dutiful necessity. But the modern life, appalled by the unconscionable abuses thoughtlessly committed against the blameless perfection of Gaia, our Mother Nature, is in a state of shock, disconnected from the natural dutiful responsiveness toward Life. The intellect, disconnected from the vector that calls forth the natural sense of duty will produce plethora possible solutions to a given problem, only the fewest of the few imbued with the efficiency of genuine responsiveness to the comprehensive sense of duty toward Life. The strong correlation between efficiency and dutifulness toward Life is due to the correspondence of the will of Life with the power of the Unity we have been referring to. No other vector in mind or physical will carries the full approval of the Creative Principle within all existence.
Thus, bio-degrading human and domestic animal bio-emissions within bio-gas production digesters has seemed a viable option. But it never should have been considered, or even noticed, because it is a dutiful necessity for all to return the material gift of vital blessing to the locus in Life that generated the nourishing gift of most vital blessing for our kind. And that locus is, of course, the green plants.
We ought to look carefully at the data describing the production of methane during the normal process of transformation of compost into organic fertilizer. Usable amounts of methane accrue from this process directed toward fertilizer production. We should of course, appreciatively integrate this fringe benefit to the composting process to address some small part of the energy challenges that we face. But we must be adamant in maintaining the primary focus of the process as the grateful return of efficiently composed fertility blessing to the vegetal realm in return for the material potency they have bestowed upon our vitality.
Because the whole Planet is a living entity, and the realms “the Plant Kingdom”, and “the Animal Kingdom” are meta-realms, the completion of the perfect pattern of mutually beneficial exchange between Humanity and the Plant Realm promises benefits of meta-dimension effectiveness as well. Expect such completion to carry with it the notable decrease of disease within the normal human life. The flux of vital force at the interface between the plants and Humanity is both central and mighty. It is the locus of the fire of being that brought forth humanity and all modern animal species. Appreciating and affirming that Flux of Life is essential to real wisdom. Thus, not only our physical well-being, but our intellectual grasp upon the true reality will be advanced by orders of magnitude when we co-create fully and consciously with the Plant Kingdom. In truth, our right recognition of the relationship with the bountiful provider vegetal will restore our human sense of legitimacy as inheritors of the infinite legacy that the species with intellect is meant to experience and express. Of course, failure to recognize the essentiality of the relationship with our great symbiote within the process of Life, the Plant Kingdom, would promise the logical extrapolation of the ungrounded sense of fearfulness and misunderstanding that has already caused so much harm to the healthy expectations of Humanity within our recent history.
I am going to insert here a synopsis of a PBS “Frontline” program entitled Poisoned Waters that aired only recently, on 21 April 2009. This special begins to explore the ‘dead zone’ phenomenon which has been making the horrific consequences of Humanity’s emissions grossly evident in the places they examine, the Gulf of Mexico, Chesapeake Bay, and Puget Sound. This study placed more emphasis upon the non-point sources of pollution than is justified within the comprehensive view of the situation, because, had proper re-integration of human and domestic animal bio-emissions as perfectly benign organic soil amendment been the law of the land for decades previous, the gross contribution to the eutrophication problem by artificial nitrates and phosphates would have been largely mitigated, probably all but obviated. Perhaps their emphasis upon non-point sources was a concession in the name of “achieving progress where we can”, simply because the problem of mis-direction of sewage is so massive and unpleasant that there has been a notable reticence or laxity of cultural will to recognize the foundation of the problem as it really is. It is endemic. This somewhat disconcerting shift of emphasis from the unpleasant error at the base of the problem to the agricultural consequences for our waterways that are essentially an effect of the latter indiscretion, has been noted in official publications on hypoxia by the USGS(24.), by the “dead zone” article published by NASA(25.), in the EPA Power Point cited in this piece, and other official sources. Therefore we judged this slight shift of emphasis in the “Frontline” as understandable and forgivable, and commend the presentation heartily nevertheless. The stellar cinematography, and the adroit reporting by Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Hedrick Smith coalesce to deliver a compelling “wake up call” for what I would describe as the meta-effects of the kind of naïve indiscretions which might have been barely noticeable in the early colonial times of the USA, but which today approach catastrophic proportions.
“More than three decades after the Clean Water Act, iconic American waterways like the Chesapeake Bay and Puget Sound are in perilous condition and facing new sources of contamination.
“With polluted runoff still flowing in from industry, agriculture and massive suburban development, scientists note that many new pollutants and toxins from modern everyday life are already being found in the drinking water of millions of people across the country and pose a threat to fish, wildlife and, potentially, human health.”
”In Poisoned Waters, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Hedrick Smith examines the growing hazards to human health and the ecosystem.”
“ "The '70s were a lot about, 'We're the good guys; we're the environmentalists; we're going to go after the polluters,' and it's not really about that anymore," Jay Manning, director of ecology for Washington state, tells FRONTLINE. "It's about the way we all live. And unfortunately, we are all polluters. I am; you are; all of us are." “
“Through interviews with scientists, environmental activists, corporate executives and average citizens impacted by the burgeoning pollution problem, Smith reveals startling new evidence that today's growing environmental threat comes not from the giant industrial polluters of old, but from chemicals in consumers' face creams, deodorants, prescription medicines and household cleaners that find their way into sewers, storm drains and eventually into America's waterways and drinking water.”
“ "The environment has slipped off our radar screen because it's not a hot crisis like the financial meltdown, war, or terrorism," Smith says. "But pollution is a ticking time bomb. It's a chronic cancer that is slowly eating away the natural resources that are vital to our very lives." “
“In Poisoned Waters, Smith speaks with researchers from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), who report finding genetically mutated marine life in the Potomac River. In addition to finding frogs with six legs and other mutations, the researchers have found male amphibians with ovaries and female frogs with male genitalia. Scientists tell FRONTLINE that the mutations are likely caused by exposure to "endocrine disruptors," chemical compounds that mimic the body's natural hormones.”
“The USGS research on the Potomac River poses some troubling questions for the 2 million people who rely on the Washington Aqueduct for their drinking water.”
“ "The endocrine system of fish is very similar to the endocrine system of humans," USGS fish pathologist Vicki Blazer says. "They pretty much have all the same hormone systems as humans, which is why we use them as sort of indicator species. ... We can't help but make that jump to ask the question, 'How are these things influencing people?'" “
“ "The long-term, slow-motion risk is already being spelled out in epidemiologic data, studies -- large population studies," says Dr. Robert Lawrence of the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. "There are 5 million people being exposed to endocrine disruptors just in the Mid-Atlantic region, and yet we don't know precisely how many of them are going to develop premature breast cancer, going to have problems with reproduction, going to have all kinds of congenital anomalies of the male genitalia, things that are happening at a broad low level so that they don't raise the alarm in the general public." “
“Smith also investigates the state of Puget Sound's environment, where decades of pollution have endangered such species as orca whales, whose carcasses have shown high levels of cancer-causing PCBs.”
“ "We thought all the way along that [Puget Sound] was like a toilet: What you put in, you flush out," says Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire, who notes that about 150,000 pounds of untreated toxins find their way into Puget Sound each day. "We [now] know that's not true. It's like a bathtub: What you put in stays there." “
“Smith reveals that some of today's greatest pollution threats stem from urban sprawl and overdevelopment, as new housing and commercial developments send contaminated stormwater into rivers and bays, polluting local drinking-water supplies.”
“Smith speaks with scuba diver Mike Racine, who describes runoff into the depths of Seattle's Elliott Bay as a "brown, noxious soup of nastiness that is unbelievable." “
“ "The irony is that everybody looks at that [picturesque] scene and thinks that it's great; everything is right with the world in Elliott Bay," Racine says. "But in point of fact, not 100 feet away from where they are drinking a nice glass of wine off their white linen, there is this unbelievable gunk coming out of the end of this pipe." “
“In addition to assessing the scope of America's polluted-water problem, Poisoned Waters highlights several cases in which grassroots citizens' groups succeeded in effecting environmental change: In South Park, Wash., incensed residents pushed for better cleanup of PCB contamination that remained from an old asphalt plant. In Loudon County, Va., residents prevented a large-scale housing development that would have overwhelmed already-strained stormwater systems believed to contribute to the contamination in Chesapeake Bay.”
“Reversing decades of pollution and preventing the irreversible annihilation of the nation's waterways, however, will require a seismic shift in the way Americans live their lives and use natural resources, experts say.”
“ "You have to change the way you live in the ecosystem and the place that you share with other living things," says William Ruckelshaus, founding director of the Environmental Protection Agency. "You've got to learn to live in such a way that it doesn't destroy other living things. It's got to become part of our culture." “(26.)
The maturing or ripening of the meta – dimension of appreciation for the feeling awareness that we described earlier is precisely analogous to the enhanced appreciation currently underway in a low-key manner, within the realm of Humanity’s sensitivity to the livingness of the plant kingdom. During the twentieth century, numerous experiments were conducted to explore the indications of responsiveness that might give empirical proof of the intelligence of plants. Early in the century Sir Jagadis Chandra Bose, PhD., in India showed experimentally that anesthetizing trees with chloroform during the process of transplantation resulted in dramatically improved survival rates for the transplants. The physical traumas remained constant among all transplants; the improvement was attributed to alleviation of the mental or psychic stress of the individual trees. Additional support for this view is found in what we all were told in Psych 101 about the pair of flowering plants that were raised together, and when placed in two separate rooms, one responded “sympathetically”, (as measured by galvanometers recording bio-electric signatures from both plants), when their plant neighbor suffered pain. Indeed, much vital dynamism is left out of our experience, both physical and mental, by the failure to notice that plants are not only living things, but in point of fact, are conscious beings, very much alive. It has been shown by science that vegetal entities are, in truth, sentient conscious entities, just as we are. The following was excerpted from an online source:
Acharya Jagadis Chandra Bose, A Pioneer
of Modern Indian Science
by Subodh Mahanti
“Bose demonstrated that plant tissues under different kinds of stimuli like mechanical, application of heat, electric shock, chemicals and drugs, produce electric response similar to that produced by animal tissues. He also tried to demonstrate that similar electric response to stimulation could be noticed in certain inorganic systems. For his investigations Bose invented several novel and highly sensitive instruments.”
“Among these the most important one was the Crescograph – an instrument for measuring the growth of a plant. It could record a growth as small as 1/100,000 inch per second. Bose’s experiments on plants were mostly performed on Minosa pudica and Desmondium gyrans (Indian Telegraph plant). In all his investigations Bose attempted to offer original interpretations. He attempted to devise models which were illustrative of physical basis of memory. His findings subsequently influenced subjects like physiology, chronobiology, cybernetics, medicine and agriculture.”(27.)
Dr. Bose’s glad assertions as to the livingness of the vegetal realm were quoted carefully by the noteworthy Yogin, Paramahansa Yogananda in his “Autobiography of a Yogi”, which was released for publication by the latter’s “Self – Realization Fellowship” sometime in the 1960’s.
"By first chloroforming a huge tree, I achieved a successful transplantation. Usually, such monarchs of the forest die very quickly after being moved." Jagadis smiled happily as he recounted the life-saving maneuver. "Graphs of my delicate apparatus have proved that trees possess a circulatory system; their sap movements correspond to the blood pressure of animal bodies. The ascent of sap is not explicable on the mechanical grounds ordinarily advanced, such as capillary attraction. The phenomenon has been solved through the crescograph as the activity of living cells. Peristaltic waves issue from a cylindrical tube which extends down a tree and serves as an actual heart! The more deeply we perceive, the more striking becomes the evidence that a uniform plan links every form in manifold nature."(28.)
The higher plants have co-evolved with mammals both temporally and spatially, and, through millions of years of experience, plants have intimate knowledge of the desires and potentials, as well as the physical functionalities of the bio-systems that we are. And they are designed by evolution to be needful of the precious potency of our material bio-emissions as we continue to co-evolve, in ever more intimate ways. The anguished guilt that we humans feel, much of it suppressed, over the fouling of our pristine rivers and lakes, to say nothing of the contamination of our vast and precious oceans, is therefore a focus of anguished pain and insult for the plant kingdom as well. Their pain of deprivation is of such a central concern to us within the super-personal core of being that only the rarest, most central individuals have some meaningful degree of appreciation for it. Since our very existence issues from the co-creative exchange at the interface between the animal and plant kingdoms for both the nourishment and the breath of Life, the norm will be to place as little notice upon that profound level of Reality as we place upon breathing. Since the concept of a full and carefully conceived fullness of symbiosis with the plant kingdom remains something of a novel suggestion to so much of Humanity, the notion of regarding the material bio-emission as a potential source of electricity, whether through bio-gas generation, or by burning, is not beyond the scope of the human imagination, though indeed it should be and should have been, had we been imbued with the knowledge of purpose in the giving of our material bio-emission. The place for this material emission within the grand design of Life is, in actuality, far greater than the routine awareness of Humanity has been assuming. Identity itself is formulated in the co-creative interface between the meta-dimensions of Life Itself, and Humanity today regards those who appreciate that fact at the level of the mutually gratifying interface between “the man and the woman” as wise ones whose views ought to be sought out, contemplated and respected. The deeper level of symbiosis where the man and woman as a Unity, and indeed all animal life, co-create with the plant kingdom is all but completely ignored. But as this level of co-creative Union within the Life is more fundamental, hence, more central, its significance for human survival is even more essential than the vital value of the self-evidently essential Unity between man and woman. In fact, as fundamental as the co-creative conjunction between plants and Humanity is to the natural design of our Life, it also seems natural that we continually overlook this essentiality. Hence the imperative importance of perfecting our symbiosis with the Plant Kingdom cannot be over-emphasized. And the gesture of return of the nourishing gift to the life of the plants that manufactured the gifts of nourishment for us is as integral to the symbiotic embrace between plants and Humanity as is the exchange of the vital breaths of Life between these oxygen breathing and carbon-dioxide breathing realms.
Therefore, the widespread proliferation of the bio-gas production digesters in China, Africa, and other parts of the world has to be regarded as a stop-gap response to a situation that must ultimately be stabilized by the universalization of the sublime solutions to what we regard today as the energy challenge. (These include geothermal, wind, solar, geo-static, tidal and wave power generation systems, and the fuel cell, which, ultimately, can provide power for industry and technical culture with zero negative impact upon natural life systems.) Until the superbly sustainable power generation protocols are firmly established, the stop-gap modality described as bio-gas production will probably remain in place, with concomitant compromise of the healthful co-creativeness with the plant kingdom to be expected, and in direct proportion. This might be evidenced in a number of ways ranging from somewhat decreased agri-production, to a lower than optimum sense of fulfillment between persons in the given region, or between persons and their industry, or between persons and their government. It might simply manifest as a somewhat lower general vitality or resistance to aging and disease. But there can be no reasonable doubt that completion of the co-creative re-integration of Humanity’s expression with the great symbiote of all animal life, the green plants, will unburden the heart and the rational conscience of Humanity to the degree of causing life-transforming and society-transforming existential realization.
The transformations we refer to here are of the nature of predictable meta-effects resultant from the greater responsiveness of Humanity to the innate need for closure in the co-creative relationship with the provider of our breath and our protein and other nutriments. Similar meta-effects do certainly result from the simultaneous re-purification of both our natural waters and Humanity’s conscience. And both of these fields of effect, although subtle, hold the potential for the profoundest dimension of influence in the unfoldment of the productive future for Humanity. Although it is seldom spoken of, probably because it crept into our lives by almost imperceptibly small increments of change, the degree of self-critical debasement that moderns have come to take for granted as the norm has become broad-based and massive enough to merit energetic psycho-social and medical investigation and exploration for the cure.
If it were intrinsically necessary within the design of Life for Humanity to violate, foul and deface our vibrant, beautiful, and generous natural Mother, then the whole concept and principle of human existence would be undermined. Thankfully, we have shown ourselves capable of radical self-transformation, and when we face rational imperatives we are proud to step up to the challenge of formulating the logical processes essential for the required transition.
We have arrived at the place where we can see that fouling our precious natural waters with the material emissions from our own bodies is unacceptable. And, remarkably, when we have resolved to relieve Nature from the burden of this most fundamental of all human pollutions, we are gifted with the natural and perfect answer to a whole range of different but related problems. Re-qualifying the cursed pollutions in our lakes, rivers, bays, and oceans as the needed blessing to re-ignite the feeling, and the veritable vital being of the land, with the recognition of our species as its offspring, is the renewal of not only the dignity, but the joy in living, for the beleaguered conscience and presently volatile vital health of modern Humanity. The relief from the burden of guilt for despoiling the innocent biological context of our living experience, Nature, is a beseeching invitation to re-discover our essential Humanity as a co-creator with Life. As Nature is able to trust our expressions, we also are able to believe in the soundness and goodness of the productivity of Humanity. That is to say, as good a feeling that we produce for our Life Matrix Itself, (or Herself), is as good as we feel about ourselves. Therefore our happiness and well-being are inextricably linked with the well-being of the great Life System in whom we were conceived, and by whom we are sustained. Indeed, as joyfully creative a destiny we manage to formulate for Humanity, we will be contributing to our Planet’s own sense of joyful destiny in the unfoldment of Her continued productivity, progress and fulfillment within the celestial immensity of time and space. Despite the apparent disparity between our relative magnitudes, the real actualization of human fulfillment is absolutely and experientially inseparably a function of the fulfillment of the Life that made us. (If we suppose the average person to weigh approximately 150 lbs, or 68.18 kg, and our Planet’s mass to be 5.9742 X 1024 kg, we are quantitatively dissimilar by a factor of 1 to 8.7624 X 1022 kg, individually, and by a factor of 1 to 1.4604 X 1013 kg [ 1 to 14,604,000,000,000 or 14 trillion, 604 billion] as a species of population 6 billion.) As regards the present discussion, this comparison applies certainly to the Planetary level, and as regards future discussions, certainly beyond, as well.
It is obvious that this logical presentation against humanly produced water pollution could, and even should, be used to castigate the practice of garbage production and disposal in the environment, as well as the discharge of every sort of chemical pollution. Every way we are hurting Her, our meta-being at the planetary level, we are hurting ourselves. And the timely pertinence of this line of thinking is as crystal clear as the natural lakes of our beloved Planet need to be. Misconceiving and misdirecting the expression of our natural bio-products such that, instead of manifesting as the perfect returns of blessing they were designed to be, they return to Life as obscurations and poisons, is unimaginably inefficient, even self-defeating. It is totally unacceptable. In truth, I hold that mastery of the resolve to properly transform this most fundamental of all pollutants may be prerequisite to the efficient perception of, and resolution of, all of our other environmental and social problems.
The argument against the shift from a soil-to-water system to a soil-to-soil system really has no qualitative point to make. The only considerations preventing us from effecting this necessary change immediately are quantitative. We have acknowledged that there are hundreds of millions of water based personal sanitation systems already installed and requiring exchange or transformation. And there are upwards of 2.6 billion persons within the developing world who lack any kind of adequate sanitation system at all. The fact that the problem is so massive that it cannot be solved with one sweeping action does not prevent us from initiating this very day myriad significant sub-processes that will eventuate in that essential sweeping transition beginning today and continuing until it is done.
This may sound to some like an ethereally conceived idealist aspiration, but, we are asserting that in fact, today practical procedures have been formulated that can transform the contemporary condition of self-and-mutual obstruction that is evidenced on so many levels of the modern environmental – industrialist tangle, into a landscape and a process that is both unified and healthy, for Humanity, and for the Life Matrix of our Planet. Interestingly, the key to the proper enjoyment of our “pie-in-the-sky” is proper accommodation for the dimension that is as far from the realm of ethereal conceptualization as one might go, in the practical sense. It is concerned with getting our dirt in the ground, in the most actual manner, and not carelessly banishing human bio-emissions to foul the planetary waterways, or putting it anywhere else it should not be. It simply is astounding, and unacceptable, from the standpoint of the simple, straightforward, human common sense, much less scientific rational analysis, that human material bio-emissions are made into any kind of problem at all for the watersheds of our Planet. In a time of technical achievement that maintains an International Space Station overseeing the surveying of inter-galactic space, as well as complex terrestrial electronic communications, and other cognitively specialized technological activities, putting sewage sludge, instead of our joyful bodies, into rivers, lakes, bays, and other bodies of pure, natural water, is a shocking anachronism, and just does not make good sense, whether we are talking about ethical sense, aesthetic sense, common sense, or dollars and cents.
The explanation or justification for such a seemingly inexcusable error finds a place for itself within the human conscience only because the pattern of self-pollution came about within such familiarly established and recognizable habit patterns that we tend to instinctively apply our “inspected and passed” stamp upon the conceptual processes involved under one of the accommodating “business as usual” or “plain old human nature” categories. Judgment against ancestral generations is unproductive. We tend to have to be very understanding toward changes that came about so gradually as to have been virtually unnoticeable. Incremental change in the character of human society is all but imperceptible for the vast majority of human minds, and it continues to be almost as true today as it was in ancestral times. In order to be able to see the design of the mechanism of Time while we are in the midst of It, the arduous development of the discipline of objectivity of intellect is required, which necessarily takes one far enough from the workaday routines of contemporary life that few indeed are the persons who aspire for and attain the exalted perspective of comprehensive view. And that objective view alone enables us to recognize the meaning of the incremental transitions of our cultural substance and character while we are in the midst of them. Therefore, the transition from a cozy colonial American village to a stultifying, congested, depersonalizing, and polluted urban grid would be perhaps the prime example of unnoticeably incremental change. And the transition from our simple, natural ways of materially integrating our human and domestic animal bio-emissions with our natural environs transforming incrementally into the problematic modern situation of the epidemic blight of human and domestic animal emissions upon the living waters of our planet represents a focused extract from that prime example. The effective resolution to the dilemma of our simple, non-industrially caused water pollution is a matter of central significance to the physical and cognitive health of, as well as the dignity of, our entire species.
Think of our ancestors most ancient, the hunter-gatherers of the primordial forests and swamps of our bio-rich Planet. Home life was a lean-to beside a camp-fire. Sanitary facilities included not only the woods, but also the nearby crystal-pure creek. Few tribes buried material emissions. Before metal tools, burying was troublesome. Also, there were authority issues: would the local supervening life systems, vegetal, reptilian, avian, mammalian, or their neighboring human, arouse an eye of disapproval if the land was dug up, roots ripped, etc.? Allowing waste remnants to drift away down the stream probably often was the convenient and expedient alternative. Native Americans reported to me that for some time that they buried their material emissions on sand bars in those beloved clear rivers they camped beside, thinking they had made the kinder, wiser choice. Here, they had not chosen to rip away, trample, or uproot the herbage on the forest floor. They had not chosen to bruise or lacerate the flesh of the roots of elder brother (or father) the tree. But after a camp had been burying their fertile material on the sand bar for some period of time, it was revealed to their being that they had caused serious problems. The little things that lived in the shallows near the sand bars were dying. The more mobile of these simply left. The sand had become noxious and the fish were becoming angry. Not only were the nymphs, crayfish, snails and other aquatic lives departing, the gravel beds in the shallows had become, instead of fish nurseries, graveyards for the fish’s eggs. Native American people were literally attacked by salmonids and other fish in places that had been both beautiful and accommodating when they had arrived. When the tribal Shaman or Medicine Man sought knowledge from the River Spirits as to why the attacks occurred, this knowledge was brought forth to them.
received similar accounts from the people of
In western culture, European hunter-gatherers probably noted similar experiences. There was little to notice about deposition of material emissions unless one wished to stay for something more than briefly (probably a few days to a couple of weeks for small groups) in any one particular area. If there was a large river with a good current, or a particularly swift stream, it might have been that their material deposits were never noticed as anything very significant.
With the advent of agriculture, and the building of
cities, the convenience of the flowing stream as the conveyor for human
bio-emissions had thousands of generations of experience behind it for support.
The flowing stream, if it was a large, swift one, could keep your city clean
almost without worries, it was assumed. The concept was somewhat questionable,
even through ancient and medieval times. But cities were small in medieval
It is gratifying that the focus of our discussion here is the implementation of practical protocols that make the more harmonious relationship with Nature not only economically feasible, but profitable in the broadest sense. When the end products of the metabolism of human nourishment are neatly and efficiently reintegrated with their vegetative source, the benefits to human culture will be multi-dimensional and profoundly far-reaching. Not only will our agricultural endeavors receive immense direct benefit, from the production of rich, naturally produced soil amendment, associated watersheds will receive immense and immediate albeit incrementally progressive relief. The effluent from sewage treatment never was a desired enhancement to the life processes within our natural waters. The presence of effluent within our waters has always represented a degree of burden to the bio-communities within and around the waterways, with the more stringently designed and carefully constructed systems presenting something less of a burden, and the more antiquated, cheaply designed, or carelessly constructed systems presenting something more of a burden. But all of them were oppressive testimonies to the great being of Life that one particular species, humanity, was having a toxic effect upon many of the special places, especially the beautiful rivermouths and bays, that have been celebrated for the naturally precious value of the abundance of Life that they have generated and sustained for millennia unnumbered. Not only will the absence of effluent streams be a recreational benefit to the local populations who will joyfully celebrate the restoration of beaches and lakeshores to a condition acceptable for swimming and other aquatic recreations. The less tangible benefits stand to be of profoundly greater significance to the intelligent center and viable totality of human civilization.
The measurable uplift to the purity of the liquid of life in these precious places will certainly have an immediate and positive effect upon the sentiment of the human community, and there are public health aspects of undeniable significance that will be directly correlative with this improvement, as we have said. But in the long term, it is probable that these tangible and indisputably significant benefits will not outweigh the magnitude of benefit caused by the relief of the human conscience. When European explorers first set their eyes upon the stupendous beauty of the vibrant profusion of pre-colonial America, they were awed to the degree of exaltation and even reverence. Their impassioned descriptions of the wild beauty and abundance are a matter of historical record. Note here the inspired descriptions recorded by William Moraley, son of a British watchmaker, who emigrated to the colonial New Jersey and Philadelphia area in 1729:
“In the Summer time, which begins to appear about the First of May, the long Winter on a sudden disappears, and the mellifluous Flowers and plants, with their fragrant Smell, gratify the Senses with a wonderful Diversity, and the melodious Songsters of the Woods, the Fields and Groves, chant forth their Joy in warbling Notes, forming even a terrestrial Paradise” . . .Fish is so plentiful, I have seen large Boats and Barges loaden to the Brim with them, such as Roach, Pearch and Trouts, larger than those caught in England”(29.)
The personal accounts of Captain John Smith of the Jamestown colony in Virginia in the early 1600’s were similar:
“. . . More plentie of swannes, cranes, geese, ducks, and mallards, and divers sorts of fowles, none would desire : more plaine fertile planted ground, in such great proportions as there, I had not seene. . . fish great plenty, and people in aboundance . . .”(30.)
The effect upon human conscience of being part of a process that caused and continues to cause the degradation of this incalculably precious resource and soulful inspiration is inevitable. Whether the formulation is conscious or unconscious, the self conceptualization of human identity itself as something destructive upon the flesh of the living reality of our Planet is unavoidable. The feelings that accompany this dimension of self perception can only be approached by a compassionate view. They range from self-doubt to self-loathing, to anarchistic, or even to nihilistic feelings. The attempt to instill an inspired sense of purpose within people who inevitably harbor within themselves a resolved guilt for the manner of expression of their species and human civilization itself, into the being of Life, is almost certainly doomed to fail. The result is a society where people, as a rule, are no longer self-motivated from profound sources of inspiration, but always have mixed feelings, and are either depressed or rebellious, if not overtly criminal, in their reaction to the inner sense of existential betrayal. Betrayal of Life is betrayal of ourselves. The alternatives for positive outlets of feeling and expression all are tainted with either stylized superficiality, or escapist bravado, or both. We hear our sincere pastors and our inspired thinkers ask again and again, “Where is the moral conscience of modern man?”…The answer is that it is divided between wanting to celebrate the beauty and intelligence of the essential reality that is the human beingness, and the pervasive shame and guilt, with the contingent desire for punishment, of a being who feels his species is cursed to live as a despoiling influence within the beautiful abundance, and indisputable goodness of Life. The intellectual species cannot long sustain in the presence of such contradiction. We simply cannot feel truly good about loving beauty and natural goodness and simultaneously destroying it.
There is an interesting correlation between feeling and water. All ancient traditions of intellectual discipline, whether through the science of meditation, or yoga, or the arts of dance, song, or instrumental music, make direct and explicit correlations with water to the feelings of the human heart. And modern psychological science has found good reason to affirm the association of water with the dimension of feelings and the feeling mind as we asserted previously. It is self-evident that feelings of worthiness, of dignity and wholesomeness, will be resurrected and revitalized as we renew the livingness and purity of our lovely bodies of water. But there is so much more to this process of healing than that. The waters that had been fouled were not merely precious water itself, they were the veritable home of myriad species who also suffered as that body of water suffered. The water is not merely the current of our feeling, it is the conduit of Life itself for many species. Renewing the purity of the water will not only revitalize the existence of these many species, it will restore the very existence of some of them, in places where they have been forcibly removed by the toxic presence of humanly originated pollutions. Their grateful renewal will be a joy constituent to our own joyous sense of reawakening, as we celebrate the restoration of our rivers, lakes and bayshores. Our joy at having reconstituted and cleansed an inspiring blessing that had moved our ancestors to reverent prose and poetry will resonate in the primal dimensions of consciousness with the vitality of the gratefully renewed species which had been oppressed or removed. It is an accomplishment that Life will celebrate with us. It is not merely the relief of our own feelings of guilt that will reward us, though that peace will be blissful, indeed. Life itself feels, in each of Its myriad species, and their myriad feelings of gratitude and joy in the renewal of pure being will enrich and amplify our own.
There is an indisputable parallel between the experience of a once pristine rivermouth, now toxically polluted and foul with the stench of sewage, and the perception of a ravaged mountainside, clearcut, and strewn with a few splintered fragments of trees, where once a primeval forest, resplendent with the diversity of Life, had stood. The sense of guilt, or shame for our species can be attributed just as legitimately to this dimension of experience as well. Every part, certainly, of the great being of the Life that sustains our existence is precious to us. Every bit of damage to the fundamental being of that great Life is going to add to the sense of guilt that accompanies the realization that we are part of the species that is inflicting pain, and doing significant harm to the Life that has brought forth and sustains all. Freeing our waters from the oppression of effluents from our own material bio-emissions is simply the most natural and self – evident step we can take in a concerted culturally responsible effort to rectify the implicit self – negation observed in the careless or self-indulgent damage to our Life, Planetary. We should feel obligated to seize the challenge of transforming this unhealthfully humiliating situation, even if it should entail great sacrifice, economic strain, exotically innovative adaptations. Attribute it to great luck, or to the merciful wisdom of Life Itself, but, astoundingly, the transformations required promise to be essentially painless. The most familiar measure of strain or ease in the modern endeavor, the financial parameter, promises unexpected blessing in this endeavor. The misdirected material substance involved can be redirected to produce monetary profits, to say nothing of the aforementioned aesthetic, spiritual, and emotional renewal. Thus, the necessary transformation of the situation is at least simple, although, once again, for the mere massiveness of the task, it is certainly not easy.
We simply have to look away from the enormity of the unpleasant result of misdirecting our natural soil fortification into the waterways of our Planet, and concentrate upon the clearly discernable and desirable goal of vastly improving the quality and quantity of organic fertilizer available to guarantee the fecundity of our land. One of the pleasant aspects of the total effort at the individual level is the fact that, to satisfy our need to be actively involved with the change, it is possible to engage with this process in the smallest ways right now, even as we prepare to assemble the facts, and formulate the presentations that one day will convince legislators that socially acceptable pollution of water is no longer practical or necessary. We can purchase composting privies for our private homes, for our nature preserves and scout camps, for our golf courses and recreational sites, or for conference centers, and the like, without having to apply our effort toward changing the public infrastructure supporting the present day sewage system in even the smallest way. While small applications of the composting method continue to prove the efficacy of this way, the appropriate environmental organizations, progressive legislation advocacy groups, and socially activist established churches, may be contacted and enlisted in the effort to inform the contemporary mind as to the optimacy of the pattern that never adds to the pollution burden of our troubled modern watersheds, but returns the fertile blessing of human and domestic animal bio-emissions to their proper place as enrichment to the botanical dimension of our planetary Life.
Bio-emissions from human society, in combination with those of the domestic species controlled by humans, constitute a fertility resource for the botanical dimension of our Planet that is very significant in both magnitude and quality. Bio-emissions from both higher and lower animals are not merely acceptable, but quite likely, the perfect fertilizer for plants. As any farmer can tell you, one cannot take and take and take from a piece of the land, removing tons of precious foodstuff, or other products, from the area, without depleting the farm. You also have to make quantitatively analogous deposits into the land, returning precious minerals and organic compounds to the soil if it will continue to produce abundantly. And, incidentally, as we will show, natural and organic soil fortifiers are superior for the overall well-being of both the farm and the surrounding communities, both civilized and wild, as well as the affected watershed when compared with the synthetic types of soil-fortification, as a rule.
So, for one reason or another, whether it was the mere habit of thinking of human bio-emissions as stuff to be “gotten rid of” as swiftly as possible (“down the river”, or wherever), or whether it was the unpleasant odors that would be associated with working with these substances, or whether it was the expense of having to formulate new processes, and fabricate the suitable facilities to transform raw bio-substance into biologically benign fertilizer, generations of civil engineers have passed over the natural “horn-of-plenty” of this most available and potent organic soil fortifier. Instead, we have routinely accepted over the years, millions of tons of artificially generated, incompletely proven, and dubiously healthful soil amendments in the form of the modern synthetic fertilizers. Obviously these two streams of material endeavor need to be analyzed in a spirit of comprehensive understanding. Perhaps the future should find existing artificial fertilizer companies franchised to package and distribute the rich, natural, and organic final products of the composting process.
The artificially formulated chemical fertilizers, first heralded as miracles of modern science, gradually became sources of profound concern when their use tended to correlate with unexpected but undeniable deleterious effects upon watersheds and associated bio - systems, both in the wild, and in the human and domestic animal life systems.
“One of the simplest things you can do to detoxify your lawn, have a beautiful yard, garden, or turf, as well as protect your pets and family is to stop using synthetic-chemical fertilizers that contain fungicides, herbicides, and insecticides. While these types of fertilizers can be effective in the short term for achieving the results we all desire for our lawns and gardens, they have been shown to have negative side effects on the environment, on people, and on pets – especially those with sensitivities to synthetic chemicals. There are also documented cases of pollution to vulnerable watersheds …attributed to exposure to these synthetic-chemical fertilizers. …synthetic fertilizer products … contribute to erosion, contamination of lakes and rivers, reducing soil health and fertility, and can chemically burn plants.”(31.)
Far beyond the ramifications implied by the above promoter of organic soil replenishment, the following piece from the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization charges us to recognize with significantly greater gravity, the far-reaching consequences of both synthetic fertilizer over – use, and runoff from lands over-enriched by emissions from domestic livestock.
“Agriculture, as the single largest user of freshwater on a global basis, and as a major cause of degradation of surface and groundwater resources through erosion and chemical runoff, has cause to be concerned about the global implications of water quality. The associated agrofood-processing industry is also a significant source of organic pollution in most countries. Aquaculture is now recognised as a major problem in freshwater, estuarine and coastal environments, leading to eutrophication and ecosystem damage.”… “Experts predict that, because pollution can no longer be remedied by dilution (i.e. the flow regime is fully utilized) in many countries, freshwater quality will become the principal limitation for sustainable development … early in the next century”(32.)…(emphasis ours)
The report continues:
“In its 1986 Report to Congress, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US-EPA) reported that 65% of assessed river miles in the United States were impacted by non-point sources. Again, in its most recent study, the US-EPA (1994) identified agriculture as the leading cause of water quality impairment of rivers and lakes in the United States… Fully 72% of assessed river length and 56% of assessed lakes are impacted by agriculture.”(33.)
As stated by our illustrious Professor, Howard Horowitz, in Water Resources class (Ramapo College of New Jersey, February, 2008), “The largest killer of children in the World is still unsafe drinking water – primarily through diarrhea.” The report we examined by the FAO seems to echo that assertion:
“Polluted water is a major cause of human disease, misery and death. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), as many as 4 million children die every year as a result of diarrhea caused by water-borne infection. The bacteria most commonly found in polluted water are coliforms excreted by humans. Surface runoff and consequently non-point source pollution contributes significantly to high levels of pathogens in surface water bodies.”(34.)
Modern researches by the most respectable agencies on our Planet have produced irrefutable data that indicate that both synthetic fertilizers and incompletely composted bio-emission (manure) fertilizers are responsible for the degradation of planetary freshwater resources on a globally widespread scale. Furthermore, as we have emphatically asserted, these contaminated freshwater resources inevitably make their way into the estuaries, bays, and oceans, producing the debilitating meta-effects that scientists have been referring to as ‘dead zones’ for a number of years. Both of the “other types” of agricultural soil amendments, synthetic fertilizers and raw manure, are therefore social challenges, in being sources of self-negation of rational human identity principle, as well as the contaminants responsible for the non-point source degradation of water resources at the Planetary level. The fact is that much of the contamination by raw manure is a consequence not of having been used as fertilizer, but of merely having been washed incidentally or intentionally into the waterways from feedlots or over - grazed pastures. Proper establishment of the efficient processes to turn these substances into carefully composted fertility resources instead of watershed problems is the discernable rational solution. Although there is relatively less research upon the composting of the domestic animal bio – emissions, we are certain that ultimately these substances will be integrated as valuable resource assets into the process that promises to transform our own bio – emissions into fertile blessings for the land, both public and private.
Therefore, the pattern of returning the thoroughly composted material emissions of our species and our domestic animals as benefit to the productive and beautiful green plants is not to be regarded as merely an alternative method of disposal or transformation of a disagreeable substance. It is here recognized and asserted to be the clearly discernable optimum with regard to this situation. The human species, and, in fact, all animal species, are intimately co-creative symbiotes with the Plant Kingdom. The green plants are the perfect, even the imperative recipients of the biotically rich blessing of both human and domestic animal bio-emissions, if, indeed, our life systems, both animal and vegetal, are to be maintained on the vector of progressing harmony, vitality and intelligence. Therefore the ”alternative” uses for human and domestic animal bio-emissions such as “bio-mass digesters” for the production of useful by-products, such as methane, must be recognized as seductive and destructive side-tracks with long-term consequences that could contribute to potentially disastrous future situations.
The reason for our assertion that the supposed alternative of “bio-mass” methane generators would have unjustifiably negative consequences is eminently simple. The hope for the restoration of health to our planet, and contingently, to ourselves, rests upon the realization that the intimate symbiosis between the plant kingdom and the animal kingdom is a symbiosis of the most mutually gratifying or mutually beneficial kind conceivable. The relationship between plants and ourselves is not merely an interdependent relationship, it is a co-creative relationship; a co-creative fusion, really. Evolutionary history shows that in fact higher animals and plants evolved not merely on separate and parallel tracks of evolution, but co-evolved in quintessential ways. We literally cannot draw a breath without affirming the preciousness of our intimate partners in the dance of Life, the green plants. Breath is Life, and the green plants literally bring forth the breath we breathe. As are all truly stable co-creative associations, this relationship is both interdependent and balanced in value and importance on both sides. That having been said, we should not be surprised by the observation that we provide in a corresponding manner, the breath of Life to the green plants as well. They depend as intimately upon the carbon-dioxide that animals bring forth, as we depend upon the oxygen they bring forth. The Amazon basin has appropriately, from the human point of view, been called “the lungs of the Planet”(35.), as this relatively small surface alone produces twenty percent of the total oxygen provided for the respiration of animal life in the great bio-system of our World. This level of intimacy is implicit to the design of both these systems of Life, plant and animal, in the process of evolution. And this intimate co-creativeness is implicit, also at the level of the exchange of material nutrients between these two great realms of Life. At the level of the definitive species of animal, the human, all food comes from plants. (We may receive a minute percentage of nourishment from the microbial realm, but that is normally less than a single percent or two.) Every responsible biologist knows this. Plants synthesize sugars, the definitive essence of our nutritive lives, from sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide. The various sugars are metabolized as glucose within our metabolic processes, which is in turn converted through a series of steps, back into water and carbon dioxide, releasing an awesome bounty of energy along the way, which our bodies store as ATP, “the energy molecule”. ATP then provides power for virtually every muscular movement and cellular process within our bio-systems. We can either receive the power to live our lives directly from the plant species that synthesize the nourishment, by consuming their fruits, or we can receive it indirectly, by consuming the flesh of another animal. The point being, that, in essence, we are nourished by the products of plants’ life process, and that, within the perfect pattern of the intimate co-creativeness of Life, they are nourished by the products of our life process also. If this cycle is broken there is a leakage of precious life essence, energy, that then can no longer re-affirm the goodness and wholeness of the cyclical co-creative process that unites and vitalizes both realms. Both are weakened as a consequence, and that, of course, is of no possible benefit to plant, animal, or to Life Itself.
Therefore, we affirm emphatically that it is an imperative necessity to return to the soil the material remnants of the nutritive experience of both humans and the animal species over whom we have taken responsibility, to enrich the bio-processes of the food and oxygen – producing plants. And it needs to be recognized that the return of these as de-vitalized remnants of the process of methane production is not the genuine participation in the process of mutually beneficial life affirmation. The mutually affirming interaction between our lives and plants constitutes the healthful foundation of our natural existence, and promises to restore the integrity of the natural evolutionary progress of our species with the great Life process itself. That process designed and evolved oxygen breathers and carbon-dioxide breathers as symbiotes. The core of That Process, the co-creative flux at the interface between the great realms of Life, is the resolving source of the light of our intellectual realization, as well as the birthplace of our biological identity and the origin of our vitality as a species and as a Planet. Failing to recognize and respect the essentiality of the template of the co-creative symbiosis at the core of Life is simply unacceptable for those who respond with a conscience to the presence of the Light of Reason. The symbiosis between the Plant Kingdom and the Animal Kingdom is the natural origin, and the core process of life interaction upon this Planet. That simply is a clearly established, empirically verifiable fact.
Practical Considerations and Actual Implementation
We appreciate and affirm that the preceding assertions leave us with the realization that proper composting of human and domestic animal bio - emissions must be recognized as the key to the resolution of three major challenges to the well – being of our modern environment: first, the problem of water pollution directly associated with sewage effluent; second, the problem the problem of water pollution associated with agricultural discharges and runoff; and thirdly, the problem of improper fertilization of both agricultural lands and residential properties, with contingent collateral damages that have effects that range beyond the sphere of water quality concerns. Three distinct and tenacious problems, and all of them alleviated, wholly or in part, by creating a simpler, more natural, and more direct relationship with one of the most fundamental processes of our life. This multi – faceted attribute of the sense of gratification that accompanies examination of this solution is the dimension of reference when we asserted the “all – win archetype” in the title of this piece. We have the sense that this type of realization is an indicator that one of the pivotal concepts conjoining Nature with the creative thought of modern Humanity is being brought forth. We believe that commitment to proper re-integration of human and domestic animal bio – emissions with the botanical realm is fundamental and essential. It is pivotal for the progress in well-being for both our species and for the Life System that sustains us as a whole.
Then, we are simply faced with the challenge of transforming the raw bio-emissions of the human metabolic process into valuable soil amendments that are as neutral as peat moss or rich humus. And this is a challenge that a number of accomplished minds have been applying themselves to for quite some time, with considerable success.
“The original Clivus Multrum composter was developed in 1939 by Rikard Lindstrom, a Swedish engineer. The name Clivus Multrum means “sloping chamber” in Swedish and describes the Clivus system design. The original Clivus used a single-chamber, sloped-bottom design and was constructed of concrete. Eventually, in 1962, the Clivus Multrum system was patented, and in 1964 the first commercial model was constructed out of fiberglass. In 1973, Clivus Multrum, Inc. was founded in Massachusetts under a license from Lindstrom. Clivus Multrum initially marketed its composting toilet and greywater irrigation systems to homeowners. Since then, the market for these technologies has greatly broadened.”(36.)
Broadened, indeed: we find that Clivus Multrum composting toilets, in addition to being welcomed into innovative private residences, offices, and conference centers designed by the likes of Malcolm Wells, a pioneer in the exploration of underground architecture, and bio-efficient design features, (37.) these modern composting privies have been integrated into constructions as diverse as the award winning restroom facilities at New York’s Bronx Zoo, at the Philip Merrill Environmental Center, headquarters of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, of Annapolis, Maryland, at the C.K.Choi Building, Institute of Asian Research, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, B.C., at The Black Rock Forest Center for Science and Education, in the Hudson Valley, New York, at the Bunker Interpretive Center, Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan, at the NJ National Golf Club, at Ski Apache Resort, Ruidoso, New Mexico, at the Visitor’s Center and Museum, Sweetwater Creek State Park, Lithia Springs, Georgia, at Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming, and at the Visitor’s Centers and trailheads of county, state, and national parks and wildlife refuges almost too numerous to mention, as well as at sustainable living, New Age, and alternative technology innovative lifestyle endeavors around the Globe.
The following citation describing the recent installation of Swedish no-flush sanitation systems in an area of scanty water resource shows that planners are willing, even today, to look at this environmentally very friendly option in situations that compel the consideration of water as a precious substance. We hope the “Green Awakening” produces enough inspired sentiment and practical rationality to result in the more thoroughgoing consideration for water not only as a material resource, but as a constituent to our pure experience of Life on every level of awareness and action.
Swedish 'no-flush' Toilets Help Fight Mongolian Drought
29 Jul, 2008 – “Swedish dry toilets have been deployed in inner Mongolia - a booming region of China suffering a chronic shortage of water resources. It took some time to win over the locals however, Svenska Dagbladet reports.”
“Inner Mongolia is a vast province of China lying west of the capital Beijing. The highlands of Ordos in eastern inner Mongolia have become rich thanks to the discovery of vast resources of coal and natural gas.”
“The new wealth has bought with it investors, foreign cars and luxury houses but it has also put pressure on the region's already scarce water resources, according to a report in Svenska Dagbladet.”
“A Swedish-backed organic toilet project has been launched in the region to address at least one of the problems of a water shortage bought about by sixty years of environmental mismanagement.”
“The residents of the city of Dongsheng share the equivalent of 100 litres of water per person per day making it one of the driest places on earth, according to Svenska Dagbladet.”
“When there is only sufficient water for the barest daily necessities a dry toilet seemed a natural step for the inhabitants of this harsh terrain to take and in stepped the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI).”
“SEI has worked on a concept entitled EcoSanRes for several years aiming to find sustainable solutions to areas lacking clean water and drainage.”
“The toilets use no water at all and produce only compost. Dongsheng households employing the technology use a third less water than normal, enough to persuade the city to launch a large scale project in 2002.”
“ "Dongsheng demonstrated that it needed both new solutions and had the financial resources to initiate a full scale project. They agreed to let us test the technology in a new residential area," said Arno Rosemarin at SEI to Svenska Dagbladet.”(38.)
There can be no doubt in the efficacy of the Clivus Multrum system. Presently they offer both the waterless versions that we find in the most rustic locations, and a foam flush model that uses three ounces of water per flush as compared with the 1.6 gallons per flush required by the normal modern “low flow” toilet. Our assurance that these systems are both modern and visually pleasing will be validated by examination of the photos which follow of existing Clivus Multrum installations.
the “Eco Project of the Year , 2007”
awarded by the New York Construction
magazine, the Bronx Zoo installation includes 18 Clivus Multrum fixtures
that save an estimated 1,000,000 gallons per year compared with low-flow
(1.6 gal/flush) conventional fixtures.
Winner of the “Eco Project of the Year , 2007” awarded by the New York Construction magazine, the Bronx Zoo installation includes 18 Clivus Multrum fixtures that save an estimated 1,000,000 gallons per year compared with low-flow (1.6 gal/flush) conventional fixtures.
The Bronx Zoo
installation, designed by Edelman Sultan Knox Wood Architects, features the
“Foam Flush” Clivus Multrum units that use only 3 ounces of water per
The Bronx Zoo installation, designed by Edelman Sultan Knox Wood Architects, features the “Foam Flush” Clivus Multrum units that use only 3 ounces of water per flush.
Most contemporary people, if they have an association with composting toilets at all, will tend to think of the simple, clanky, semi – primitive installations that are occasionally encountered in county, state, or national wild recreation areas. Although these have left positive associations in being generally sturdy and odor – inoffensive, if not odor – free, it is clear from the above photos, that the composting toilet systems have “come of age”, in the sense of having been refined to the point of general acceptability on every level of our modern culture. Consider a few more images:
The Black Rock
Forest Center for Science and Education located on the 3,785-acre Black
Rock Forest Preserve in the Hudson River Valley, New York, is fitted with
Clivus Multrum composting fixtures in all of their bathrooms.
The Black Rock Forest Center for Science and Education located on the 3,785-acre Black Rock Forest Preserve in the Hudson River Valley, New York, is fitted with Clivus Multrum composting fixtures in all of their bathrooms.
The C. K. Choi Building, Institute of Asian Research, University of
British Colombia, Vancouver, utilizes the Clivus Multrum composting system
for all of its restroom facilities.
The C. K. Choi Building, Institute of Asian Research, University of British Colombia, Vancouver, utilizes the Clivus Multrum composting system for all of its restroom facilities.
Pleasantly airy, modern residential Clivus Multrum installation. The absence of flush tank is easy on the eyes.
Some Clivus Multrum systems make graywater available for irrigation. This window garden is nourished by it.
Some composting privies may be constructed by hand from plans available through sustainable living centers, alternative life style communities, back – to – nature magazines, and the like. There are photographic step – by – step descriptions of such endeavors available on the internet. The following photo is of a “saniseco” which was described thus, in the Spanish language.(39.)
This model, built
by hand, was planned after one of the Clivus Multrum designs, and requires
no water, a strong plus for the composting privies in very arid regions.
This model, built by hand, was planned after one of the Clivus Multrum designs, and requires no water, a strong plus for the composting privies in very arid regions.
Here we see a residential
Clivus Multrum central composting unit, with cutaway showing the usual
manner of basement installation.
Here we see a residential Clivus Multrum central composting unit, with cutaway showing the usual manner of basement installation.
composting unit, made by SunMar, is versatile enough to serve in RV’s and
This compact composting unit, made by SunMar, is versatile enough to serve in RV’s and marine vessels.
(1.) BBC News Online, Monday, 29 March, 2004, Sea “dead zones” Threaten Fish, By Alex Kirby, BBC News Online environment correspondent in Jeju, Korea.
(2.) United States Geologic Survey (USGS) Web Page, Definition of Hypoxia: http://toxics.usgs.gov/definitions/hypoxia.html
(3.) NASA “Ocean Color” Web Site, Dead Zone web page: http://disc.gsfc.nasa.gov/oceancolor/scifocus/oceanColor/dead_zones.shtml
(5.) http://www.epa.gov/OWOW/msbasin/outreach.htm, Download: hypoxia_ pres_1008, Science, Diaz, R. & Rosenberg, R. Spreading Dead Zones and the Consequences for Marine Ecosystems. Science. Aug. 2008, v.321, 926-929.
(6.) American Chemical Society (2006, April 3). Ocean 'Dead Zones' Trigger Sex Changes In Fish, Posing Extinction Threat. ScienceDaily. Retrieved from: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/04/060402220803.htm
(7.) Environmental Protection Agency, online, Download: hypoxia_ pres_1008,
(8.) The Christian Science Monitor, online, “'Dead zones' Threaten Fisheries”, By Mark Clayton, Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor. 27 May, 2004,
(9.) Internet Image Search: Keyword: Hanging Toilet
(10.) Mississippi Delta satellite photo, courtesy of NASA, and Science Education Resource Center at Carleton College. http://serc.carleton.edu/details/images/5430.html
(11.) American Chemical Society (2006, April 3). Ocean 'Dead Zones' Trigger Sex Changes In Fish, Posing Extinction Threat. ScienceDaily. Retrieved from: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/04/060402220803.htm
(12.) Picture: NASA “Ocean Color” Web Site, Dead Zone web page: http://disc.gsfc.nasa.gov/oceancolor/scifocus/oceanColor/dead_zones.shtml
(13.) University of Copenhagen (2009, January 26). Dramatic Expansion Of Dead Zones In Oceans Likely With Unchecked Global Warming. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 4, 2009, from
(14.) NASA “Ocean Color” Web Site, Dead Zone web page: http://disc.gsfc.nasa.gov/oceancolor/scifocus/oceanColor/dead_zones.shtml
(15.) http://www.epa.gov/OWOW/msbasin/outreach.htm, Download: hypoxia_ pres_1008, Science, Diaz, R. & Rosenberg, R. Spreading Dead Zones and the Consequences for Marine Ecosystems. Science. Aug. 2008, v.321, 926-929.
(16.) University of Michigan, News Release on the Internet, 31 October, 2006 http://www.ns.umich.edu/htdocs/releases/story.php?id=1023
(17.) Sierra Legal Media Release on the Internet, 29 Nov 2006,
(18.) ScienceDaily, online, June 2, 2008, A Great Lakes Mystery: The Case Of The Disappearing Species, http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080528172001.htm
(19.) Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary website, Resource Protection Issues: Cruise Ships
(22.) Drawing of foetus of White Sided Dolphin, from Mind in the Waters by Joan MacIntyre of Project Jonah, Published by Charles Scribner's Sons, New York, and Sierra Club Books, San Francisco, 1974. Pg 56.
(23.) Fox News online, Friday, 03 August 2007, Study: Flush Toilets May Need To Be Disposed Of, By Maj-Brit Quitzau of the National Environmental Research Institute of Denmark,
(24.) USGS Web Page, Definition of Hypoxia: http://toxics.usgs.gov/definitions/hypoxia.html
(25.) NASA “Ocean Color” Web Site, Dead Zone web page: http://disc.gsfc.nasa.gov/oceancolor/scifocus/oceanColor/dead_zones.shtml
(26.) http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/poisonedwaters/, Editorial synopsis of Poisoned Waters Frontline program available online. Full video available for viewing online as of 05 May, 2009.
(27.) Dream, Monthly Newsletter of Vigyan Prasar, October 2002 issue, online PDF file, “Acharya Jagadis Chandra Bose, A Pioneer of Modern Indian Science” by Subodh Mahanti, Pg 9.
(28.) Wikipedia, Jagadis C. Bose, Ph.D.: http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Autobiography_of_a_Yogi/Chapter_8
(29.) Susan E. Klepp & Billy G. Smith, (Editors), The Infortunate , The Penn State U. Press, 5th printing, 2002, Pg 106, Pg 84.
(30.) Captain John Smith, “A True Relation of Such Occurrences and Accounts of Note as Hath Hapned in Virginia (etc.)” 1608, Courtesy of the University of Virginia, Virtual Jamestown Project, First Hand Accounts of Virginia, 1575 – 1705,
(31.) How to Detoxify Your Lawn, Have a Beautiful Yard, & Protect the Environment, From: http://www.chemicalfreelawns.com/1/a1/detoxify_your_lawn.asp
(32.) Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Control of Water Pollution from Agriculture, by Edwin D. Ongley, of the GEMS/Water Collaborating Centre, Canada Centre for Inland Waters, Burlington, Canada, 1996
(35.) Amazon Rainforest – Climate , http://www.blueplanetbiomes.org/amazon.htm
(36.) About Clivus Multrum Company Overview and History, http://www.clivusmultrum.com/about.shtml
(37.) http://www.malcolmwells.com/designs.html With pictures of Malcolm Wells, architect, designs of conference centers, offices, homes,
(38.) The Local – Sweden’s News in English, online, 29 July, 2008: Swedish 'no-flush' Toilets Help Fight Mongolian Drought, by Peter Vinthagen Simpson, http://www.thelocal.se/13348/20080729/
(39.) http://www.tierramor.org/GranjaTierramor/sanicompostero.htm Step - by - Step Photos of Hand Made Compost Privy (“saniseco”) with instructions in Spanish.