Saturday, September 5, 2015

California Water Policy Challenge

It is a crystal clear morning here in the San Francisco Bay Area, and the air is cool.  I can see San Francisco lit up by morning sun from my porch in Richmond, an outer suburb about 15 miles from downtown SF.

But for a brief moment in time before getting out of bed, around 6:45am, with my curtains closed and the air cool, I thought I might have heard some sprinkles outside.

Me and my cat both looked up at the same time with an inquisitive expression -- why, that is a sound we haven't heard for some time!

But alas, it was only the sound of birds crunching across dried leaves.......

I have noticed that there are fewer birds in my yard than this time last year.  Then they were busy, fluttering about and hustling for the winter.  Now......I barely see or hear them.

The drought is in full swing here in California, the trees digging deep, deep underground to find any remaining moisture.  The mid-range critters such as raccoons, opossums, coyotes -- where are they getting their water?  

I have been leaving bowls of it in my yard for the raccoons and opossum that come around.  I have seen them lapping it up...

The state is also going to great lengths, digging deep, trying to respond to immediate areas of crisis:  there are many towns in the central valley who literally have no water coming out of their faucets.

Just think about that for one second: there is no water coming out of your faucet.

This is the reality for many people, right now, living here in California.

That's why my team and I are submitting an application to the California Water Policy Challenge.

We think the state would do well to reconsider its use of flush toilets, and implement a wide-spread change in policy around sanitation.

We recognize that in order to do this, it will require a paradigm shift about what waste is, and how to manage it.  We realize folks think of dry, composting toilets as a great idea for those "poor people in the developing world", and not something "we do here in the civilized world".

But we are interested in changing that thinking by creating interest in and strategies for alternative ways to dispose of and manage our waste.

In Bristol, England they are transforming it into methane gas and fueling public transportation with it. In Port au Prince and throughout Haiti they are transforming their waste into rich, organic fertilizer (hello

We are excited to be a part of creating a * global movement * to eliminate the need to waste our precious water for flushing down our waste.

Do you think the California Water Policy Challenge will go for it?

Stay tuned....

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