That's "Three-Hole Wind And Solar Powered Composting Outhouse", in case you missed that earlier.
Some time ago, I made a comment over at NoImpactMan, to the effect that "everybody going back to mud huts" IS indeed an "option".
It took me quite a while to realize some of the participants there did not understand what I meant by that. It's not that universal mud huts is an option we would CHOOSE, as a society.
It's that we could all to easily find ourselves living that way- if we don't fix some of the problems facing us. The potential for societal collapse is that big. We won't choose it- the universe will enforce it, if we continue to ignore physics.
Seemed obvious to me- pretty dumb (of ME), huh?
Wherever humans live, there are seasons; either cold/warm, or wet/dry, or light/dark, or calm/windy - etc.
One of the factors contributing to planetary overload is the increasing assumption that whatever dwelling/city you build; it should be built to serve your needs perfectly - 100% of the time.
I think we probably cannot afford it. And I can tell you from long personal experience- it won't kill you to be hot, cold, wet, or dry, some of the time.
We look, for example, at the country farmer housing/village in China/India/Brazil- and the more sheltered among us are appalled. My gosh, the houses are made out of... mud. (Literally; or adobe, or rammed earth, or thatch...) The streets aren't paved. They use outhouses. Each house has one lightbulb. It's horrifying that humans should be forced to live this way! We think.
They frequently don't think so, until they get a satellite tv link, and start watching re-runs of Dallas.
Then, since this is what the whole world tells them, they start to "need" paving, highways, indoor plumbing, refrigerators, and prefab plywood houses. It's a disaster. They have no recognizable "cash-flow" to pay for all this, of course; so they tend to abandon their 8,000 year old sustainable agriculture/polyculture pathways, and plant a "cash-crop" - like cotton, or opium. So they can buy Spam, bagged rice from California... etc. One crop failure of the new cash crop and - they starve.
Sitting cosy in our Chicago condo, it's hard to realize- about HALF of all the humans on the planet still live this way. World Bank data.
As far as I can decipher the bureaucratese, a mere 25% or so of the world lives on $1US (one dollar) per day; or less. What's a little harder to discover is that another 25% or so lives on - TWICE that. That is - $2US/day (two dollars) - or less. Rich folks.
Life in the mud-hut world is far from bucolic; it entails occasional hunger, frequent lack of basic medicine, total lack of advanced medicine; short lives and too much hard work.
Here's what I'm trying to get around to- the capital investment in our "modern" city/suburb infrastructure is utterly incomprehensible to anyone living on $2/day. And a disproportionately large chunk of it goes to make our modern world "100%" functional, 100% of the year.
Highways are not a really good example to work with here; since a lot of the "frills" associated with fancy highways are also for safety - hard to argue against. But the numbers are more easily accessible than most; and for most of us- the costs are surprising. From GAO - (slide 16)
– Reported costs ranged from about $1 million to $8.5 million
per lane mile.
– The median reported cost was about $1.6 million per lane
– Five states reported costs significantly higher than other
states—ranging between about $3.1 million and $8.5 million
per lane mile. (See fig. 1.)
So- when your town builds one mile of 2 lane road- it tends to cost around $3.2 Million. More if it's mountainous, or swampy.
You have any idea what a mud village could do with $3.2M? Build a hospital? (mud would be fine) Educate 3 doctors?
Are all the roads in your neighborhood NECESSARY? How many are there so people can get to work 10 minutes faster? Or because there's one house way at the end of the road?
Staggering amounts of money are spent by us on infrastructure that is useful - for a small percentage of time; or a few people. This is mostly unnoticed- and I think is not being discussed as a possible source of "saved" energy and resources. Of COURSE it's my right to have an all weather road to my door!
Quite a few thinkers believe that one of the "answers" in the coming centuries to humanity's problems has to include a more even access to resources - water, fuel, money. Besides the airy-fairy nonsense about fairness or justice - it's just practical. Those damn poor people eventually get cranky, when they have nothing left to lose- and start banding together, and burning cities, and stuff. (take a look at history, please)
3 billion people now live on less than $2/day. How much more do they have to lose?
Analysis will show, I am quite confident, that the cost of providing services "100%/24/7/52" -is usually about TWICE the cost of providing services "92%/23/7/46". That's huge; and those resources are desperately needed elsewhere.
Would you be willing to put on a sweater for a couple weeks - so a village in India could have a doctor? That's what it could come down to, in the centuries ahead.
SO - where the heck is the THWASPCO in all this blather?
Well. It's a sanitation service that makes many people recoil in horror. "I COULDN'T live like that!" they'll say- and the most astonishing part to me; they believe it. Never mind that a) all your great grandparents lived this way, and b) more than half the people on the planet still do. Yes, you COULD. You just don't know it.
Why do we have one?
A) we couldn't afford a "normal" sanitation system- which would have cost about 6-8 times more. (Freeing resources for much more critical needs.)
B) once we got into the needs and design aspects- this system actually does an environmentally superior job of handling waste- by a long shot.
Oh, yah, and C) luckily for us all, your tushy just doesn't have many "cold" sensors in it. Sitting on a below-zero seat is like jumping into 50°F water- seems chilly for a couple moments, then you're used to it. NO BIGGIE.
Basically, the THWASPCO provides perfectly comfortable services about 8 months of the year. It's got substantial solar heat gain when the leaves are off- making spring and autumn pretty cozy. It MAY get too hot for a few days in mid summer. In midwinter- yeah, you notice it's not cozy.
And how, precisely does one use an outhouse in -20° weather?
Very, very quickly.
More tomorrow. :-)