Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Composting human manure...

The True Green Heroes

As I continue to read on the topic of sustainability from the thought leaders in this space, I come across some gems, which resonate so much with the current environment around us that the best I can do is to imbibe them in my thought process and propagate them further. In this week’s blog, I share one such excerpt from Joseph Jenkins, The Humanure Handbook: A Guide to Composting Human Manure.

“We line up and make a lot of noise about big environmental problems like incinerators, waste dumps, acid rain, global warming and pollution. But we don't understand that when we add up all the tiny environmental problems each of us creates, we end up with those big environmental dilemmas. Humans are content to blame someone else, like government or corporations, for the messes we create, and yet we each continue doing the same things, day in and day out, that have created the problems. Sure, corporations create pollution. If they do, don't buy their products. If you have to buy their products (gasoline for example), keep it to a minimum. Sure, municipal waste incinerators pollute the air. Stop throwing trash away. Minimize your production of waste. Recycle. Buy food in bulk and avoid packaging waste. Simplify. Turn off your TV. Grow your own food. Make compost. Plant a garden. Be part of the solution, not part of the problem. If you don't, who will?” 

About the Author and The Humanure Handbook:
The Humanure Handbook was something of an accidental literary phenomenon. Joe Jenkins began writing the book as a master's thesis while attending Slippery Rock University's Master of Science in Sustainable Systems program in northwestern Pennsylvania in the early 90s. Not content with academic convention, but fascinated with the topic of humanure composting, Jenkins decided to convert the book's language into a popular format and self-publish the thesis as a book.

The intention was to learn how to "self-publish" using a book that probably no one would ever read. As expected, every possible publishing mistake was made on the first edition of the book, published in January 1995. Yet, an unbelievable 10,000 copies sold. Clearly there was more interest in this topic than Jenkins had expected, so he revised the book and published the 2nd edition in 1999. This edition sold another 15,000 copies and won awards. See reader feedback of the Humanure Handbook.

The 3rd edition was published in 2005, sold out its first 10,000 printing, sold out its next 10,000 printing, and is working on the next 15,000 copies, most of which have already been sold. The book and topic receive regular coverage in the news and have been mentioned on Howard Stern, BBC, CBC, NPR, the New Yorker Magazine, Grist, Seoul Broadcasting (SBS), Playboy, Wall Street Journal, Mother Earth News, and many others. 

The following image sums up the book’s content.

I will publish such excerpts as and when I come across them under the title of ‘The True Green heroes’, as these people not only preach but also practice what they preach, thus enabling sustainability and more importantly making people think and discuss about it. Also, do share any ‘True Green Heroes’ that you have come across. If we don’t celebrate them, then who will!!

-Meera Mahajan Rotti

    Samuchit Enviro Tech.

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