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Brad Lancaster in: Waste Not! Transform your waste into soil, water, and energy.

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Here's a great video by Brad Lancaster and Watershed Management Group about permaculture design and closed loop systems.  It does a great job of illustrating what an urban permaculture system looks like right here in the SW (Tucson).  Elements of the system are not "stand alones" - but rather are incorporated into a carefully designed system where they are tied together so that one element's waste is used by another element. 

By themselves, gardening, composting, chickens, strawbale houses, aquaponics, fruit trees, medicinal herbs, passive cooling, solar cooking, etc. are not permaculture.  Rather, Permaculture is the design system that brings all those elements together in a way that cares for the earth (using waste for beneficial purposes like soil building and growing shade) and for ourselves (production of food, passive solar hot water, shade) and even produces a surplus that can be reinvested back into the first two ethics - a net gain instead of a net loss. 

And doesn't use drinking water to rid us of our poop. 

No matter what Jennifer, it still suffers from two problems that will bar acceptance in any place except those with poor soil percolation: Ease of use (push lever to flush versus manually stirring a barrel of shit weekly over a couple of months) and the smell (quenched by immediately submerging the turd versus covering with organic material (sawdust...whose $ource????).

I know very small part of the video.

I think I come from a different perspective since I grew up overseas.  It just doesn't seem weird to me.

Perspective doesn't matter.  What sells does.  I see a very difficult sale ahead unless water gets really expensive and much of the population flees.

A guy who works for the water department, upon seeing my outdoor shower, told me that in my tiny neighborhood (395 homes) there are 4 composting toilets and 6 outdoor showers.  I know at least 10 households that keep chickens (with more coming on line all the time).  This is in the downtown historic district in Phoenix. 

One of my friends who owns rental property in my 'hood also has a business that does custom metal work.  His workmen use a high end EcoSan composting toilet in their fancy guest cottage day in and day out and have been for years.  No smell.  The composted humanure goes on their very exuberant garden.

I think perspective does matter.  The folks with the EcoSan toilet worked in India for quite some time.  And the folks who live in the central Phoenix historic district and surrounding areas are experimenters - oddballs, artists, questioners and questers.  This part of town is like that.  You should have seen when one of my neighbors was installing a French drain in the area between her property and the neighbor's - dozens of people showed up wanting to know what she was doing and helping out.  My 'hood is cool like that.  We are a community.  We like exchanging ideas and getting our hands dirty.

As far as what sells - here's what "sells" composting toilets for me. 

We live in a desert.  We are water dependent on other state's water resources (to which we only have junior rights - meaning if the states upstream from us need the water - they get it first).  Even the proposed desalinization plant would have us dependent on our relationship with Mexico to get water to AZ.  I think each state should protect and enhance it's own natural resources for future generations.  I've got no direct decedents but would really like to leave a better Arizona for those who come after me.  Life doesn't end when I do.

As for fleeing - fleeing to where?  Anywhere people would flee to would have similar problems - either a lack of water or an over abundance causing flooding, etc.  I say we stay put and fix our own problems instead of visiting them on others.

Finally, I am a permaculturist.  Permaculture systems strive to close the loop as much as possible.  This means we have to design carefully so that we can use our waste stream (all wastes) in an effective way.  There is no "away" to throw stuff.

Ran across this link and thought I'd add it to this thread:

http://www.portlandoregon.gov/pbem/article/447707

Good resource!  Thanks for posting.

good bump too ;-)

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