From Whence We Came

Every interest starts somewhere. There’s always the spark that sets off the imagination. Even if you can’t identify it at the time, and even if that spark makes the imagination smolder before truly setting it afire perhaps months or years later, it’s there: burning, whispering…

If that’s a little too romantic for describing the beginnings of an interest in a concept as down-to-Earth as composting toilets, so be it, because what’s earthly is also what’s human, and composting toilets are more than just taking a dump in a bucket.

Even when it’s literally taking a dump in a bucket.

In hindsight, my interest in composting toilets started around 2010 as an offshoot to a more encompassing interest in off-grid living, sustainability in general, water conservation and, to a slightly lesser extent, the tiny homes movement.

It was then I started to truly enjoy the outdoors, taking my city-blinders off and, for the first time, looking forward to time spent in the country: trekking, hiking, nature photography, and seeing the stars for the first time, or at least what felt like the first time.

But like many people who suddenly discover nature, I was also profoundly ignorant of its awesome power.

Nature is not teddy bears.

That prompted a more defined interest in the actual practice of nature, if that’s a term which makes sense, which is to say: an interest in practical sustainability, conservation and the adventure of shedding (a few at a time) comforts or bindings of contemporary, urban life.

The Internet wasn’t one of them, and in fact it helped me find sources of information from which to learn.

One of the articles I remember reading is “The Poop Scoop: Composting Toilets on the Homestead” on the Homestead Honey blog (although originally published in From Scratch magazine), which starts with a list of basic needs to be met when you’re trying to go off-grid:

That’s right, I thought, where do we poop?


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