halifaxearthtech: Photo by Panphage from the Wikimedia Commons (Soil)
Day 4 at Occupy NS was kind of epic; where nearly every system and individual had a breakdown, including myself, and I don't even live there! Part of last night was spent in consoling weeping friends. The General Meeting included a special subsection for the airing of grievances.

My grievances were not in fact any more serious than those from the first day. On the bright side, sawdust was being used appropriately and we were no longer carting sloshing buckets of straight-up urine. My one remaining volunteer and I were feeling burnt out, but members from the camp had taken transportation upon themselves. That having been said, I gather at the meeting it was brought up that it was unacceptable that kitchen staff should be taking on this responsibility as well, because of the risk of cross-contamination.

The upshot is that I will no longer be hauling, but will continue to try to secure future composting sites, donating a bike cart to the effort and organizing volunteers. I haven't been down there today yet but I hope that other systems will have been reforged into more sustainable forms, in terms of workability for the protesters.
halifaxearthtech: Photo by Joe Shneid of Louisville Kentucky, from Wikimedia Commons (Pattern)
Whew! I've been too busy to be able to post about this until now. I've slept for twelve hours last night, and spent the past 4 days contacting volunteers, gathering sawdust from some stumps that the city ground up and left in a happy coincidence, going to consensus-based leaderless meetings, and driving around at night in enormous pickups with some beautiful souls, picking up and transforming pallets.

We will probably be able to service 40 people a day. Onsite is a porto-booth made with pallet lumber and tarps. In the booth is a bucket with a seat, toilet paper, and another bucket with sawdust. There are signs explaining what people should do to use the apparatus. Outside the booth are two garbage bags of sawdust, more clean buckets with tight-fitting lids, and a pop bottle of hand sanitizer made with 2L of water and 3/8 tsp of chlorox bleach. I have four volunteers with bicycle carts including myself to show up every day and take filled buckets (with tight fitting lids) to composting sites (of which I have three, so far). At the sites are more (like ten) garbage bags filled with sawdust and carbon medium, which can also be bike-carted to the occupy site.

Police stood by in mild curiosity as we set up the booth and wrote "composting toilet" in marker on the tarp. The response has been overwhelmingly positive. I was a bit trepidatius about unleashing this technology on Halifax in such a bold way without more grassroots support being in place first, but the temptation to teach up to 2 or 3 hundred receptive people was just too much for me! At the meetings the chair stumbled over what to call it "the eco-sanitation facilities?" "the eco outhouse?" "What about composting toilet?" I suggested. It made it into the minutes as "eco sanitation composting toilet".

I gave a workshop yesterday on humanure to those interested in the theory and a walkthrough on using it.

No pictures of the facilities yet! Pending! Pending!
halifaxearthtech: photo by Lykaestria from Wikimedia Commons (Energy)
First on Wall Street and then in other places we are seeing a movement in opposition of: The concentration of wealth in the top 1% of the wealthy of the United States, high tuition fees, of joblessness, of mismanagement of funds by the largest American financial institutions, of austerity measures and of predatory mortgage rates and a general situation of poverty and desperation by most Americans.

In discussions on these topics I have yet to see an analysis of the impact of Energy Descent. While I wait for someone to articulate it better than I can, I will write what I can. The Occupy movement has many valid points but the call to end austerity measures and cutbacks looks to me like a tragic waste of energy.

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