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Humanure Part 1: Why Should We Give a Crap?

HUMANURE PART 1: WHY SHOULD WE GIVE A CRAP?

Permaculture is not just about garden design. Even if you don’t have land or access to land, looking at life from a permaculture perspective can help you to make life decisions and take actions towards  upholding the ethics of permaculture in your daily practices. This article series will take a look specifically at one of these practices which we all share, examine the benefits of changing our habits from a scientific perspective, and offer some practical ideas of what to do next.

That which cannot be named

It’s something which everyone engages in, sometimes as often as once or even twice a day. It can often be the first sign of illness if it is uncomfortable, and if it’s comfortable can help us to feel healthy and of course relieved. We do it almost as often as we eat and yet many people only feel comfortable talking about it with their closest friends or doctor. This could be seen as unbalanced, but probably even more unbalanced (especially from a permaculture perspective) is how we deal with our faeces. The most popular way of treating faeces globally is still by using water, either to flush to a public sewage treatment facility or to an onsite septic tank, or, in many places, by flushing it directly into the sea or a river (1). There are many reasons why using water to treat poo is environmentally detrimental, and most readers may well be familiar with these already. However, below I will briefly go into a few. Likewise with reasons why you may wish to change your pooing habits (if you haven’t already) to that of non-water treatment.

Why do we do what we do with poo?

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

What Preppers Can Learn from Cape Town, Where Residents Live on 13 Gallons of Water Per Person Per Day

What Preppers Can Learn from Cape Town, Where Residents Live on 13 Gallons of Water Per Person Per Day

Living in Cape Town South Africa, after we have gained experience with rolling blackouts, our city (and surrounds) ran out of water … a first-world major metropolis ran out of water.

This is my summation of what happened and how we personally dealt with it.

Two things to note:

  • Cape Town falls in a winter rainfall area. (Similar to Northern California)
  • In our country, clean water is a constitutional right. Building dams, desalination plants, and maintaining the dams is the responsibility of the national government. Local governments are responsible for distributing the water. They are not allowed to build dams or desalination plants. Cape Town was forced to do both, at taxpayers’ cost.

This is to give you some background on how things are (or are supposed to be) here. You will see that how things are supposed to be are not how things are.

How did Cape Town almost run completely out of water?

There were basically four main reasons, as Cape Town knew of this pending problem:

  • An unforeseen severe drought triggered it all.
  • Unbeknownst to most, because of “state capture” (a kind phrase for corruption), the National Department of Water and Sanitation had no funds left to build dams. The South African public was blissfully unaware of this.
  • The local budgets, the part that the city must budget in order to distribute the water, was used to build a dam, effect some repairs to local national water infrastructures, and because year after year there were good rains, the rest was used for other pressing political promises, like schools, toilets (yes toilets), and housing etc.
  • There was a huge influx of people into Cape Town from other provinces, seeking jobs, as the Western Cape is one of the best-run provinces in SA.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

How To Protect Your Skin From Wind, Cold, And Sun During Winter

How To Protect Your Skin From Wind, Cold, And Sun During Winter

These crisp cool winter months are beautiful. The fresh snow lingers on the ground as you wake up to a lovely frost coating what used to be vibrantly colored trees just a few weeks ago. But now that winter is here, many still have to be outside to care for animals or land, and because of that, we’ve designed this helpful guide with natural alternatives to help keep your skin perfectly beautiful and healthy even in the icy cold and dry winter wind.

Winter presents some seriously interesting problems for those with already problematic skin.  Have no worries! There are some things that can be done to minimize the effects of the harsh cold and dry weather on your skin. Here they are:

DRINK MORE WATER

During winter months, the body is going to need more water. According to a previous Ready Nutrition article by Jerimiah Johnson, getting enough water could even end up being crucial to your own survival. As Johnson puts it:

During the winter, you’ll need about a quarter to a half extra water than your body normally requires, and this increases further if you are working hard physically or exerting yourself.  Remember what is happening in the cold weather.  Your body is burning up calories and extra sugar and carbohydrates to heat your muscle tissue.  This requires a tremendous amount of metabolic energy, down to the cellular level.  Water is fuelnever forget that.  With the increased cold temperatures, your metabolism works harder to stay warm.  Food intake is critical, and so is water. –Ready Nutrition

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

55 Ways To Save Money on Your Utility and Water Bills

55 Ways To Save Money on Your Utility and Water Bills

The single biggest expense most households have are their utility and water bills. Sometimes those two bills combined are more expensive than the mortgage. Sometimes those two bills are the same as the mortgage and monthly groceries. In other words, they are just expensive.

In the twenty plus years of paying for a utility bill and growing up in a house that was very conscious of its water and electrical use, I have learned some tips and tricks to drive down the costs of those bills. Some of these tips will not cost you a thing and will provide immediate results. Some results will not be immediately seen. For some of these tips, you will need to pay to save. You will need to purchase items will that will pay for themselves in the future.

I realize some towns/cities/companies have minimum usages for utilities and water. If you are above the minimum usages, you want to get down to those if you can. You can also call and try to negotiate the minimum usage amount, but most places do not allow that.

55 Ways To Save Money on Your Utility and Water Bills

1. Shut off the lights. Most houses are lit up like they are a light show. If you are not in the room, shut off the lights. Use lamps, oil lamps, or candles instead of overhead lights to save money. During the day, use natural lighting.

2. Unplug the small appliance especially the ones with lights or a display. They draw power even though they are not in use.

3. Hang your laundry instead of using the clothes dryer. You can hang inside or outside depending on your weather. Hanging inside during the winter also provides some needed humidity too if you live where it is cold.
…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Total Planetary Collapse: The World’s Vertebrate Population Has Fallen By An Average Of 60 Percent Since 1970

Total Planetary Collapse: The World’s Vertebrate Population Has Fallen By An Average Of 60 Percent Since 1970

The clock is ticking for humanity, and it is not just because our financial system is heading for the biggest implosion that any of us have ever seen.  The truth is that we are literally running out of everything.  We will not have enough oil to meet our energy needs long before we get to the end of this century.  The lack of fresh water is already a major crisis in many parts of the world.  Our air and our soil are more polluted than they have ever been before.  And at this point we can barely feed the entire planet, but global demand for food is expected to escalate dramatically in the years ahead.  If we continue doing things the way that we have been doing them, a future filled with famine, civil unrest, environmental chaos and war appears to be inevitable.  We are literally on the verge of total planetary collapse, but because this is happening in slow-motion most people don’t feel an urgency to do anything about it.

And to a certain extent, the damage has already been done.  This week, the WWF released a report which found that the vertebrate population of the world has fallen by an average of 60 percent since 1970.  the following comes from NBC News

The population of the planet’s vertebrates has dropped an average of 60 percent since 1970, according to a report by the WWF conservation organization.

The most striking decline in vertebrate population was in the tropics in South and Central America, with an 89 percent loss compared to 1970. Freshwater species have also significantly fallen — down 83 percent in that period.

You may be thinking that you are not a big fan of the WWF, and I certainly am not either.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The REAL Reason Bottled Water Has An Expiration Date

The REAL Reason Bottled Water Has An Expiration Date

Bottled water is a popular item to store in case of an emergency, and for good reason. It is normally readily available and water should be able to be stored forever, right?  So then why is there an expiration date on bottled water?

Of course, water doesn’t expire, but you should still check the expiration date on the bottle before you drink it. According to Live Science, there a few different reasons why water bottles come with expiration dates, and the first one, you shouldn’t worry too much about, but the second one should make you think twice.

Since water is a consumable product, regulations and laws require bottles to be stamped with an expiration date even though water doesn’t ever “expire.” Rational people understand this, but the government feels the need to step in and protect us from ourselves anyway. The only reason they were put there in the first place was that a 1987 New Jersey state law required all food products to display an expiration date, including water, according to Mental Floss. Since it wasn’t very cost effective for companies to label and ship batches of expiration-dated water to one state alone, most bottled water producers simply started giving every bottle a two-year sell-by date—no matter where it was going. Because the law is rather arbitrary, don’t worry too much about drinking expired water just because a law demands a company stamp the bottle. However, the expiration date serves more of a warning about the bottle itself than the water contained inside.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Over Half The U.S. Has Now Been Hit By Drought As Lake Powell And Lake Mead Drop To “Dangerous” Low Levels

Over Half The U.S. Has Now Been Hit By Drought As Lake Powell And Lake Mead Drop To “Dangerous” Low Levels

The worst drought in years in the western half of the United States has sparked hundreds of wildfires, has crippled thousands of farms, and has produced what could ultimately be the worst water crisis in modern American history.  As you will see below, Lake Powell and Lake Mead have both dropped to dangerously low levels, and officials are warning that we may soon be looking at a substantial shortfall which would require rationing.  Unfortunately, many in the eastern half of the country don’t even realize that this is happening.  The mighty Colorado River once seemed to be virtually invulnerable, but now it doesn’t even run all the way to the ocean any longer.  Demand for water is continually increasing as major cities in the Southwest continue to grow, and this is happening at a time when that entire region just keeps getting drier and drier.  To say that we are facing a “water crisis” would be a major understatement.

I have written quite a bit about the drought in the Southwest in recent months, and it just keeps getting worse.  According to Forbes, more than half the nation is now experiencing some level of drought…

Drought conditions across the United States have worsened throughout the summer, culminating in more than half the country experiencing abnormally dry or drought conditions by the end of August.

The latest update of the United States Drought Monitor shows that more than half of the country—nearly 56 percent—is abnormally dry or mired in a full-on drought. More than a third of the country is experiencing drought conditions, and almost eight percent is in an extreme or exceptional drought.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Climate change, water and the infrastructure problem

Climate change, water and the infrastructure problem

I was watching an episode of the science-fiction noir thriller “The Expanse” recently. Set hundreds of years in the future, the United Nations has now become the world government and its main rival is Mars, a former Earth colony. The UN is still in New York City and a new fancier UN building is now tucked safely behind a vast seawall that protects the city from rising water resulting from climate change.

It’s a world that looks like an extension of our own, but one that has survived the twin existential threats of climate change and resource depletion. But will it be so easy to update our infrastructure to overcome these threats?

The naive notion that we can, for example, “just use more air conditioning” as the globe warms betrays a perplexing misunderstanding of what we face. Even if one ignores the insanity of burning more climate-warming fossil fuels to make electricity for more air-conditioning, there is the embedded assumption that our current infrastructure with only minor modifications will withstand the pressures placed upon it in a future transformed by climate change and other depredations.

That assumption doesn’t square with the facts. Take, for instance, the Miami, Florida water system. One would think that Miami’s first task in adapting to climate change would be to defend its shores against sea-level rise. But it turns out that the most troublesome effect of sea-level rise is sea water infiltration into the aquifer which supplies the city’s water.

Once that happens the city would have to adopt desalination for its water supply, a process that currently costs two and one-half times more than current water purification processes. And, of course, desalinating water for a city as large as Miami, a city of more than 400,000 who consume 330 million gallons per day, would require a huge, expensive new infrastructure.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Fracking Wastewater Spikes 1,440% in Half Decade, Adding to Dry Regions’ Water Woes

Fracking Wastewater Spikes 1,440% in Half Decade, Adding to Dry Regions’ Water Woes

Permian Basin, Texas, pumpjacks

Over the same time, the total amount of water used for fracking rose roughly half as much, 770 percent, according to the paper published today in the journal Science Advances.

Previous studies suggested hydraulic fracturing does not use significantly more water than other energy sources, but those findings were based only on aggregated data from the early years of fracking,” Avner Vengosh, professor of geochemistry and water quality at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment, said in a statement. “After more than a decade of fracking operation, we now have more years of data to draw upon from multiple verifiable sources.”

The researchers predict that spike in water use will continue to climb.

And over the next dozen years, they say the amount of water used could grow up to 50 times higher when fracking for shale gas and 20 times higher when fracking for oil — should prices rise. The paper, titled “The Intensification of the Water Footprint of Hydraulic Fracturing,” was based on a study conducted with funding from the National Science Foundation.

Even if prices and drilling rates remain at current levels, our models still predict a large increase by 2030 in both water use and wastewater production,” said Andrew J. Kondash, a PhD student in Vengosh’s lab who was lead author of the paper.

More Water than Oil

The shale industry has been heavily focused on amping up the amount of fossil fuels it can pump per well by drilling longer horizontal well bores and using more sand, water, and chemicals when fracking (which raises the costs per well and, as DeSmog recently reported, raises risks of water pollution).

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Leaking Las Vegas: West’s Biggest Reservoir Nears Critical Threshold

Lake Mead – the West’s largest reservoir – is running dry again and is on track to fall below a critical threshold in 2020, according to a new forecast by the Bureau of Reclamation.

In 2016, Lake Mead water levels drop to new record lows (since it was filled in the 1930s) leaving Las Vegas facing existential threats unless something is done. Las Vegas and its 2 million residents and 40 million tourists a year get almost all their drinking water from the Lake and at levels below 1075ft, the Interior Department will be forced to declare a “shortage,” which will lead to significant cutbacks for Arizona and Nevada.

And now, two years later, the situation appears to be getting worse as The Wall Street Journal reports, in a prediction released Wednesday, the Bureau of Reclamation, a multistate agency that manages water and power in the West, said there is a 52% probability that water levels will fall below a threshold of 1,075 feet elevation by 2020.

Source

“The very big concern is the perception that water supplies are uncertain,” said Todd Reeve, chief executive officer of Business for Water Stewardship, a nonprofit group in Portland, Ore., that works with businesses on water use nationally.

“So if a water shortage is declared, that would be a huge shot across the bow that, wow, water supplies could be uncertain.”

The Colorado River, which supplies water to 40 million people from Denver to Los Angeles, has been in long-term decline amid what bureau officials call the driest 19-year period in recorded history.

Lake Mead, which serves as the biggest reservoir of the river’s water, resumed its decline this year after the region returned to drought conditions. As of Wednesday, it stood at 1,078 feet, about 150 feet below its peak.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

MIT Computer Model Predicts Dramatic Drop In Quality Of Life Around 2020 And The “End Of Civilization” Around 2040

MIT Computer Model Predicts Dramatic Drop In Quality Of Life Around 2020 And The “End Of Civilization” Around 2040

Is humanity approaching a major turning point?  A computer model that was originally developed in 1973 by a group of scientists at MIT is warning that things are about to dramatically change.  If the computer predictions are accurate, our standard of living will start to decline dramatically around the year 2020, and we will witness the “end of civilization” around the year 2040.  Of course this is not the first time ominous predictions such as this have been made about our future.  For years, experts have been warning that we are heading for severe shortages of water, food and oil as our limited natural resources begin to run out.  For years, experts have been warning that our economic model is not sustainable and that we are heading for a historic collapse.  For years, experts have been warning about the alarming increase in seismic activity all over the planet and about the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.  Society is crumbling all around us, and the elements for a “perfect storm” are definitely coming together.

So maybe this computer model is on to something.

The name of the computer program is “World One”, and it was originally created by Jay Forrester

The prediction came from a programme nicknamed World One, which was developed by a team of MIT researchers and processed by Australia’s largest computer.

It was originally devised by computer pioneer Jay Forrester, after he was tasked by the Club of Rome to develop a model of global sustainability.

However, the shocking result of the computer calculations showed that the level of pollution and population would cause a global collapse by 2040.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

When Clean Water Isn’t Available, Make it So – With a Sawyer

When Clean Water Isn’t Available, Make it So – With a Sawyer

As you well know, many surface water sources must be treated before drinking because they are repositories for bacteria, viruses, and a slew of parasites both microscopic and/or larger.

I have written several articles for Ready Nutrition about water purification methods, as well as methods for water storage. What we’re doing here is “cutting to the chase” to let you know about a product that will do more than just do in a pinch: it will suffice for a long, long time and work quickly and almost effortlessly.

The Sawyer Mini Water Filtration System is a compact, portable, three-part “system” that you can stick into a cargo pocket of your pants or shorts with ease. It can be put together and placed over a drinking vessel such as a water bottle, or you can hook up the straw that comes with it and drink directly through the filter itself. It can also be hooked up to a Camelbak water pouch. It comes with a pouch of its own that you can fill up with water and then squeeze through the filter into a bottle or other drinking vessel.

The Sawyer was invented a few years back through experimentation with kidney dialysis equipment, and they came up with a filter that uses a 0.1-micron filter that circulates the water to be filtered through fibrous micro-tubes, for a central collection of filtered water.  It works on protozoans such as giardia, bacteria such as E.coli, cholera, and salmonella, and also on more “difficult” organisms such as Cryptosporidium. Want the “kicker” for this thing?

It filters up to 100,000 gallons

If you drank 2 gallons a day, in 100 years, you would drink about 74,000 gallons. Pretty good, huh? The whole thing weighs less than 2 ounces. Now, JJ’s tips here are simple when you use this thing.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Water Harvesting Earthworkds “Design to Reality”. Part 1.

WATER HARVESTING EARTHWORKS “DESIGN TO REALITY”. PART 1

So, you have been contacted by a client and you’ve discussed the client’s brief. You’ve started to look at the contour map, aerial images, whatever data you can find on the site. And with the client brief in mind, always remembering WATER IS LIFE, you set to the task of patterning the landscape using functional forms.

You start to look at what’s the most economical way to hold water in the landscape, move water around the landscape passively and make it perform as many duties as possible before it leaves the site.

Next is to develop the mainframe design theme. A big part of this is looking for high water storage sites. So we take the approach of looking at the contour map to take into account where the highest possible spot is, where water can safely be stored on the site in dams, (always considering how much catchment area is above the potential dam site or if there are any hard-surface run-off areas above the dam site).

Reader’s will understand catchment area, but hard surface run-off areas aren’t so well utilised and it’s just a bit of pattern recognition to identify when you look at a new site.

Identifying hard surface run off areas

Hard surface run-off areas with a bit of design thinking, can brought into our water harvesting systems. At times it doesrequire good observation skills to identify them, but there are generally clues for the observer.

There are many examples of hard surface run-off areas, sometimes called ‘hard-ware’. Your roof, a road, any compacted surface or a rock outcrop are all examples of ‘hard-ware’.

Gravel roads run off 85% of the water that hits the surface. Concrete areas 100% minus whatever evaporates, and your roof 100%.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Erasing Flint’s Water Crisis: Or How to Lie With Statistics

Erasing Flint’s Water Crisis: Or How to Lie With Statistics

Photo by Pete Souza | CC BY 2.0

Mark Twain famously wrote that “there are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.” This insight is relevant to examining the apologetics of modern-day academics in the rising neoliberal assault on the public. This subservience to power is evident in efforts to rationalize governmental attacks on the most basic of human needs: access to clean water. In seeking to numb the public to basic facts and reality, the New York Times has published an op-ed analysis piece by Hernán Gómez and Kim Dietrich: “The Children of Flint Were Not Poisoned” (7/22/2018).

On the face of it, many might take the above piece seriously in light of its prestigious source. It was published in the most prominent, influential newspaper in the country – the national “paper of record.” Furthermore, the authors are trained experts in their fields, Gómez an “associate professor” of emergency medicine” at the University of Michigan, Dietrich a “professor of epidemiology and environmental health” at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. Furthermore, Gómez’s research on Flint has gone through the peer review process, as seen in the publication of his article, “Blood Lead Levels of Children in Michigan: 2006-2016” in The Journal of Pediatrics. Scholarly peer review is designed to guarantee the highest possible quality of scholarly and medical research, although in this case it appears that the process badly broke down in relation to the study of water in Flint.

Before discussing the New York Time’s claims, it is worth briefly reviewing the history of what happened in Flint, Michigan. In a country where people’s historical memory is notoriously short, many may have forgotten exactly what happened in this tragic case. To provide some context, Michigan Republican Governor Rick Snyder declared an emergency takeover of Flint’s financial management in November of 2011, citing the city’s fiscal mismanagement and its lack of revenues to provide for basic services.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

New Jersey To Now Tax Water Supply as Well – Creative Greed of Taxes

Politicians are truly amazing. When they need money, they are never short of ideas of things to tax. New Jersey is proposing to now tax water from the tap. The proposal is being submitted by State Senator Bob Smith D-Middlesex. Of course, Smith is trying to say it’s not actually a tax and calling it a“user fee” even though you already get a water bill. A “user fee” would be a flat rate. He wants 10 cents per 1,000 gallons so it functions more like a tax than a one-time fee like getting a driver’s license. Smith obtained his J.D. in 1981 from the Seton Hall University School of Law. The only thing law teaches you is how to call a pig a cow and get away with it. It is probably inevitable that they will figure out a way to tax the air for making it clean.

They have in a way managed to tax sex as well over the centuries. In Nevada, they have proposed a $5 tax every time a prostitute performs a service. This is nothing new. The Roman Emperor Caligula (37-41AD) inaugurated a tax upon prostitutes per client (the vectigal ex capturis). There was the bachelor tax which was a punitive tax imposed on unmarried men. The Lex Papia Poppaea was introduced in 9 AD by emperor Augustus (27BC-14AD) to encourage marriage. Penalties were therefore imposed on those who were celibate, with an exception granted to Vestal Virgins. (Ulp. Frag. xvii.1). The law also imposed penalties on married persons who had no children from the age of twenty-five to sixty in a man. Women were taxed who had no children from the age of twenty to fifty (Gaius, ii.111)  (Tacit. Ann. xv.19). As strange as that may sound, New Jersey and Michigan proposed a tax on bachelor men to change their behavior.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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Olduvai III: Cataclysm
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