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Stinky dry toilets, or demand the right to have ponds..

 
gardener
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Sorry i need to vent.

I have been to some people who are the proud owners of a dry toilet. Sure they save some water, sure they reuse all their nutrients. Sure it's great when it's done well and it doesn't smell like a bastard. 50% i'd say.
So i don't want one. Why, because i am furious about the fact that we can't hold water on our lands here in France.
Why? The capital faced a drought once! The Seine was dry and Paris was out of water. So off course the solution was more centralization. Build some dams, flood some villages and chase the villagers out for a pittance. Big lakes. And forbid that villagers can make their own water systems.

And that's the one, here you still can have a small pond if you jump through a million and a half hoops. Fist thick dossiers you have to fill with questions like was there a pond in Napoleonistic times, if the answer is no request declined....
So now the situation is like this, in winter rain falls, it all goes in the waterway system, it flows past Paris into the ocean! The oceans are too full anyway!!
In summer lands are bone dry we have no water and need financial from Paris and the EU while they empty the dammed lake slowly.
They have water we have none. Structurally.

But it gets better, we have a system where the water we drink comes from down in the villages and is pumped back up using nuclear powered electricity into the hills. In the meantime it is polluted with round-up and chlorine and since the system is declining it is filled with mud or bacteria at times. And we pay for their rubbish! And we put up with this shit!
But ho,ho,ho the ecologist have a solution! Just have a dry toilet. Many people in this movement are ashamed of having friends and family over, don't deny it!
It is really off putting to people who otherwise would maybe be interested in a green life style. I hear people on Permies about hiding the piss bucket and stuff.

We need more water on the land! We are becoming desert, there are forest fires all over! What's a few flushes going to save when hundreds of billions gallons of clean water are being flooded into the ocean every winter.
Sure every bit helps, but the real reason is the Government and their ever increasing Bureaucrazy and their complicit media who will never ever highlight this simple fact. We need our own water systems!

This little text is a simplification of things, i am well aware, but to both sides of the argument.
 
pollinator
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I was thinking of a dry toilet, but I can't carry the heavy bucket... but I have an opportunity to get an abandoned allotment. I think it doesn't have any rainwater harvesting system (except for a broken gutter which points to the ground), nor a toilet. But it has a quite good bower (almost a tiny house) and impressive glass greenhouse (many glass windows broken and stuff needs repair, but still...).

That sounds crazy, if you can't use rainwater on your own land...
 
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It is really off putting to people who otherwise would maybe be interested in a green life style. I hear people on Permies about hiding the pee bucket and stuff.



hahaha...that would be me? or at least that's what I wrote in the 'you know you're a permie' thread.
https://permies.com/t/56757/permie#477180
It was not because of smell at all though, just that I really didn't feel like explaining to anyone else my choices.

...since then the pee bucket is in a more out of the way spot and used and (as always) also dumped every day and there really is no odor

I do miss our sawdust bucket toilet and we still consider one although living in town it would take a lot more production to compost as opposed to our forty acres...possible, but at seventy we are not likely to pursue.

Sounds as though a request (demand?) to have a pond is totally reasonable, not just for a flush toilet but so many things....maybe there are some in between choices though and it's not such an 'either/or' situation as described?  
 
Hugo Morvan
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Flora what is a bower?

Yes Judith it was you!!! Haha.

I've got nothing against dry toilets if they don't smell. The thing is people are so busy trying to change everything in their lifestyle, it gets tiring and people are on edge and just can't afford about the smell. I guess it's not so bad when it's your own smell.
Sure there is always some in between way. I said i am just venting and i say it's not so black and white. I could just put an IBC in my bedroom, lead the gutterpipe of the neighbor through the wall and pipe that water to my toilet. Or build an outside toilet to the horror of the people. Or start a fight to get permits for watertowers... I could do this do that.
Easiest would be to do a radical overhaul and have small ponds all over the lands. It would be so good for the biodiversity, for the lands to suck water in, it would stop this crazy drought.We could pipe this water into the houses and after filtering we could use it gravity fed local rainwater. So my complaint is multi-layered. In stead of trying to fix one aspect of the water situation and fight for dry toilets we could have a lot more. That would really chance the whole situation drastically. The drought, the loss of biodiversity, the fires, the reason why people don 't continue having a food garden. It has been so dry for the third year a month ago trees just dropped their foliage. It is like autumn already. And after that a heatwave arrived.

 
Flora Eerschay
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Hugo Morvan wrote:Flora what is a bower?



I mean the tiny house that people build in allotment gardens, not to live in but to keep their stuff inside.

I agree that sometimes people want to be 100% eco-friendly from day one and they're just exhausted, sometimes not even knowing what the good thing to do is.
 
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Hugo, that sounds maddening. Even though they can be great for many reasons, in that situation, dry toilets sound like a serious greenwashing band-aid. As you say, the solution is so obvious. Keep the water where it lands! Let people have their own water systems! It puzzles me no end why governments seem to make such strange decisions around watershed management. Sounds like they really aren't looking at the big picture or even basic cause and effect. Plus it's ridiculous they should be able to keep you from having a pond or water system on your own land.
I could understand why you might not have, but have you tried writing to the people who make these decisions? At least educate them? They may not have even considered the connections between the problems you describe cause they just don't understand. Especially in light of climate change, I would hope they might be more open to considering better solutions to these problems.

Where I live, we have gone to endless government meetings trying to address a similar but also kind of opposite problem. Most people here treat rainwater as a waste product, trying to drain it away from their land as quickly as possible. The reckless development of McMansions, shopping centers and such are considerable offenders, since they aren't responsible for all the run-off they create by destroying soils water holding ability and/or replacing it with impermeable surfaces. Since the water has to go somewhere, the rivers and storm-sewer systems flood. And their chosen solution for some reason is to build massive, expensive flood walls and other shortsighted infrastructure. Which of course lead to further development and thus more run-off and flooding..plus, they don't even work, thereby allowing more harm to occur when they fail. When we talked to the folks in charge of these things and suggested a more holistic approach to watershed management, like infiltrating water into the soil where it lands, creating small ponds for it, etc. their engineer said it was impossible and silly to think that would help. It's beyond illogical. I'm fairly certain the people making these calls have no understanding of how watersheds and soil actually work. But I also think some of them can be convinced to change. Some such folks here were starting to get it, til a town council person brainwashed them with fear tactics.
I hope better things unfold where you are and that sanity and the right to water is restored!
 
Hugo Morvan
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Hi Heather, thank you for your reply and understanding. I appreciate people who fight like you do, with the pen! And then they do not give up!! I admire that truly. It's not in my bones to be that kind of warrior.
No I haven't written to the government, i just recently have puzzled this picture together and was just venting.
So far nobody has come with a reason that the whole system works like it works because there is a good reason that i overlooked.

In the past there were many small ponds scattered all over the hills here. There was not much else but well water so people had to. As well this area was a wood provider for Paris. All ponds were full in spring. All wooden stems were marked and dragged to the streams and every year at a date when the flow of water would have maximum effect all ponds were emptied to swell the streams and all wooden stems were flood out of the hills. People travelled to a city at the river downstream and recollected their wooden stems. They build rigs with them and travelled on them for weeks to the capital.
All that dissapeared and with the arrival of the chemical water system the need for ponds reduced further.
People have moved away from nature and into a financial system/straightjacket.
There were little capturements everywhere in the villages where the women used to wash the clothes and were they kept fish to consume later, there were no refridgerators. The hedges were kept higher and were full of fruit trees. Good for wildlife and people used the fruit to make vinegar and alcohol.
All is gone. The last remaining moonshiners do it as a hobby, there is a movement of neo rural folk here and there are some permaculture projects by foreigners mainly, but the locals are very conservative. The odd exception granted.
What's left are a chemical farmers who only see a meaning of existence by expanding their terrains, get bigger farms, buy more lands, buy bigger tractors, cut more hedges, spray more chemicals, cut the last remaining woods and plant Douglas plantations or Christmas trees. There is a ground roots movement here a resistance, but they're not very holistic. Still i will spread the message wherever i can to whoever will listen. Hope it get's picked up upon.
I have little hopes French aristocratic bureaucrat are going to lend an ear to an immigrant. They don't even listen to their own. Some lower civil servants might be sympathetic if i manage to wake them up out of their daydreaming, but the upper ones never will.
I believe they like the control of deciding who gets water and who doesn't. And whatever happens to the lands up here in the hills, they didn't care in the past, they don't care now and they will not give a hoot in the future. They just extract and squeeze out of it as much money as they can, just like it ever was.
Still holistic approaches are gaining ground, there is a flourishing organic market, people are aware of different systems, it's up to us to grow them now. I have quite a nice piece of land and it's starting to become productive and gain attraction. Things will take time, but it's fun and good for the health so i keep going!
 
Heather Olivia
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But of course, Hugo. Thank you for your kind words. I haven't given up, but it's hard to keep up the fight lately. I'm not sure it's quite in my bones either at times. We shall see. We all have our gifts to bring to the world, and one way of working for the good is no better than another.
Venting is definitely necessary to maintain some semblance of sanity in this insane world. Hope my solution focused-ness didn't detract.

Such strange shifts in behavior and thinking. The past you describe sounds much richer in so many ways. I think it's really important that people hold onto that kind of history of place and share it. It's hard for people to know what's been lost when they don't know what once was. That connection to place and nature is so valuable and if that connection can be restored, amazing things are possible.

Still holistic approaches are gaining ground, there is a flourishing organic market, people are aware of different systems, it's up to us to grow them now. I have quite a nice piece of land and it's starting to become productive and gain attraction. Things will take time, but it's fun and good for the health so i keep going!


Glad to hear there's some hope. I think you're right to focus on what you can do on your own land and affecting change at the grassroots level rather than from the top down. The latter can be crazy making. Plus, you never know what can happen. You may well be aware of this fellow, but his town has serious problems with how they treat water and like you, he just did what he could on his own property...and then his neighbors got interested, eventually his whole neighborhood, and it kept spreading from there, all the way up to the local government making laws based on his work. If nothing else, he's very uplifting and inspiring.
 
Hugo Morvan
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Thanks Heather, great film, teared me up.
I loved how he spoke of going from a mindset of scarcity to a mindset of abundance!
That hits to the core.
water cup
This is what the poorest can do, imagine what we could do!
 
pollinator
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Hugo, I am reminded of Sepp Holzer's attitude regarding "creating" water catchment, by merely "encouraging" natural low-lying areas. Slight changes, a little at a time, playing the long game... eventually, it becomes understood to "have always been that way" and for the marsh to become a pool, or the pool a pond, is a reasonable progression. Your mention of having to "prove that it was so in Napoleonic times" seems to be begging for "evidence" that Sepp's method could provide.
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