Friday, August 21, 2009

Urban compost loos

That little building there? It's a two-story outhouse, of the kind that one used to have in cities before indoor plumbing became the norm. Folks would have a potty indoors for emergencies, but the rest of the time they would haul themselves to a thunderdome like this one.
It was filthy business, mostly. So people were glad to see this system go.
Some dude would come by regularly and empty the contents that accumulated in the chamber below. (The loos in the second story had chutes.) You can be pretty sure he didn't have much going for him in terms of income or social status.
This system could have been less hideous than it was, if city dwellers had been disciplined to add lots and lots of fibrous matter (cut grass, say) into the hole after doing their business and spend a minute or two cleaning up after themselves. But as anyone who has ever been to a music festival knows, most of us just don't feel called upon to behave well in shared toilets. There's something about the combination of nobody watching and the need to get out as soon as possible that is just not very conducive to doing your best.
If the price of oil and gas rises, so will the price of artificial fertilizer, so one day soon there might be an increased demand for, ahem, the kind of produce you would find in a place like this. Hopefully, the guy who has to shovel it all out will be handsomely paid for his efforts.
It might be me.


Anonymous said...

Demand for energy leads to supply of energy, so alternative sources of energy will be developed as the future supply of conventional energy sources diminish. That said, there will be a few decades of turmoil as the world shifts gear. MILLIONS of people might be forced out of the cities, to survive as forest-dwellers as best they can.

Anonymous said...

holy shit
technology of dealing with germs.