Humanure can be naturally recycled by feeding it to the organisms that crave it as food. These voracious creatures have been around for millions, and theoretically, billions of years. They've patiently waited for us humans to discover them. Mother Nature has seeded our excrements, as well as our garbage, with these "friends in small places," who will convert our organic discards into a soil-building material right before our eyes. Invisible helpers, these creatures are too small to be seen by the human eye and are therefore called microorganisms. The process of feeding organic material to these microorganisms in the presence of oxygen is called composting. Proper composting ensures the destruction of potential human pathogens (disease-causing microorganisms) in humanure. Composting also converts the humanure into a new, benign, pleasant-smelling and beneficial substance called humus, which is then returned to the soil to enrich it and enhance plant growth.
Incidentally, all animal manures benefit from composting, as today's farmers are now discovering. Composted manures don't leach like raw manures do. Instead, compost helps hold nutrients in soil systems. Composted manures also reduce plant disease and insect damage and allow for better nutrient management on farms. In fact, two tons of compost will yield far more benefits than five tons of
Human manure can be mixed with other organic materials from human activity such as kitchen and food scraps, grass clippings, leaves, garden refuse, paper products and sawdust. This mix of materials is necessary for proper composting to take place, and it will yield a soil additive suitable for food gardens as well as for agriculture.
One reason we humans have not "fed" our excrement to the appropriate organisms is because we didn't know they existed. We've only learned to see and understand microscopic creatures in our recent past. We also haven't had such a rapidly growing human population in the past, nor have we been faced with the dire environmental problems that threaten our species today like buzzards circling a dying animal.
It all adds up to the fact that the human species must inevitably evolve. Evolution means change, and change is often resisted as old habits die hard. Flush toilets and bulging garbage cans represent well entrenched habits that must be rethought and reinvented. If we humans are half as intelligent as we think we are, we'll eventually get our act together. In the meantime, we're realizing that nature holds many of the keys we need to unlock the door to a sustainable, harmonious existence on this planet. Composting is one of those keys, but it has only been relatively recently discovered by the human race. Its utilization is now beginning to mushroom worldwide.
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