the TAO of CHANGE

a boots-on-the-ground view of the change that's a-foot

Posts Tagged ‘books’

Pee on Plants – your Liquid is Gold

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2008

I’m outing myself today. I’m Tao and I don’t pee in my toilet.

Ahh. I feel better already – and encouraged by the increasing acceptance of visibility (figuratively speaking) of people who distribute pee outdoors rather flushing it away along with gallons of purified water. With drought increasing in frequency and intensity around the world, people are saving water in every way and beginning to understand the logic of recycling this nutrient-rich “liquid gold” back into the soil.

For me, it all started in the NC drought of 2001, when the idea of flushing away gallons of water with a little clean urine suddenly seemed ridiculous. “Letting it mellow” just wasn’t cutting it anymore, especially when bathroom odor became an issue. I knew about composting toilets, which actually turn waste in rich soil supplements, but alas and alack, they are not yet implemented into the urban system. Instead, I piled some sawdust in my backyard and started my own odor-free, compost pile, which I distributed around my yard over time and refreshed occasionally with new dust. These days I simply dilute and pour around my trees and plants All it takes is a user-friendly pitcher kept in the loo and a stroll to the garden after use.

Emma Cooper of HowToDoThings.com provides details about using urine in the garden. In diluted form, it nourishes all plant life and used straight-up, can effectively and safely eliminate weeds. As she puts it, “…it’s not a backward step, it’s space-age technology…” Read the complete article here.

Carol Steinfeld, writer, researcher, and resource-recycling specialist is the author of Liquid Gold, The Lore adn Logic of Using Urine to Grow Plants. Educated in ecological resource management solutions, she leads workshops worldwide and is projects director of Ecowaters, a nonprofit public information project. Mark your calendar – from the website:

Pee On Earth Day(s) announced

Pee On Earth Day, a day to bring one’s urine outside to nourish plants and save water used to flush toilets, will be June 21 in the northern hemisphere (Dec. 21 in the southern hemisphere). A free downloadable kit with tips for safe outdoor urine application will be available on the Liquid Gold web site soon!

Swap Before We Drop

Thursday, May 8th, 2008

by Tao Oliveto, Carrboro, NC

Over several years, I’ve been taking big, bold, practical and fun steps out of the death-grip of a consumerist-dependent lifestyle. It feels good and I will not try to tell you why (today), I’ll ask you just to trust me that it does. It has something to do with giving away what you don’t need, wanting what you already have, breaking the ties of conformity that bind us, being creative, being smart and having fun. That’s where SWAPPING comes in.

Thrift-shopping, vintage shops, yard sales and Craig’s List sustain me in most of what I want and need, whether it’s fashion, furniture or recreational supplies. I save a lot of money and always seem to find what I need – always – and am satisfied I’m not dipping into our resource reserves. (And it IS fun – just last month, I reconnected with an old friend when I bought his used bicycle rack on Craig’s list!)

But then there are the books. I know I’m not alone – many people share my bookaholicism. So, I visit used book stores a lot, but get impatient waiting for newly released reads. In fact, I’m perfectly happy to let that oscar-winning film get to dvd, but a book just can’t seem to wait – and Amazon knows it – which my credit card will reveal.

SwapTree is my 12-step program – but in 4 steps or less. At SwapTree.com, you can trade books, cds, dvds and video games easily and for free. Your only cost is shipping your items but wait – keep reading – they make is super-easy because they calculate and send a postage label online – you simple print it out. Even better, when using the media mail service rates, you can usually ship for under $2.50.

How does all this work? You list by UPC code what you have and what you want and you receive a list of everything available that you can trade. This saves you time searching for available items. A book junkie like me also loves to read comments and join discussion groups about certain books and topics, so I get my fix and then some. SwapTree will also provide you with latest staff picks and most wanted lists so you can keep up without having to read the NY Times Book Review each week. Ok, maybe I’ll still do that…

Swapping makes sense – less resources making less stuff, less stuff in landfills and sitting unused on shelves. I’m signing up today and I’ll report back soon.



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