Start drinking water, friends–Pee-On-Earth Day is coming fast! On June 21st (also the Solstice, of course) people across the hemisphere will be celebrating the clean, phosphorous and nitrogen rich liquid we produce every day. Green design theorist, William McDonough (coauthor of the iconic Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things), likes to say, “Waste is food.” In the natural world, all biological waste, both plant and animal (including both daily waste products and dead organisms) provides nutrition for the whole system. By removing human waste from the biological cycle, we contribute to a net loss of nutrients. Instead of mixing urine with pristine water, then using more water to flush it away, then even MORE water and energy to clean it all up again, Pee-On-Earth day invites us to re-think the ways we use the water and wastes we take in and flush out of our homes, starting with PEECYCLING–nourishing plants and soil with our very own “liquid gold.” Join the celebration!
Peecyle directly or by peeing into a container you can carry outside and:
–Add to your compost pile (pee helps leaves and woodchips to compost more quickly)
–DILUTE with 9 PARTS WATER to 1 part pee and pour around (not on) plants (distribute widely to prevent nitrogen burn).
Goodness, I hope my friends will still eat salad at our house after reading this!
For more information on the process and hygiene of peecycling, see Carol Steinfeld’s book, Liquid Gold: The Lore and Logic of Using Urine to Grow Plants.
No matter what you think about peecycling, it’s time to reconsider our shockingly wasteful water treatment system. Separating wastes and toilet paper at the source, rather than mixing them directly with clean water, makes good societal and ecological sense. The wonderful folks at Eco-Waters, a Massachusetts-based nonprofit, are exploring ways to incorporate source-separation, graywater use, and composting privies into our everyday lives. Steinfeld’s newest book, Reusing the Resource: Adventures in Ecological Wastewater Recycling, available through the Eco-Waters website, is enlightening.
Meanwhile, the invitation to awareness offered by Pee-On-Earth day is a great place to start.
At dawn on the Solstice (also the anniversary of my wedding to Tom!), I will be, inshallah, climbing the ruins at Tikal, Guatemala with my family. I promise I will not pee on the ancient, sacred ruins! But I will be thinking of you all, and wishing you a beautiful Solstice in the spirit of another favorite William McDonough quote: “Celebrate Fiercely.”