I have seen a lot of pooh on this trip. From animals, from people, in holes, on fields, on railway tracks, in rivers. And, one recurring thought is about its place in the appropriateness of our cultural attitudes to pooh. The ecological context is that Phosphorous and other nutrients are finite resources, yet essential for our food production and therefore civilisation. More on the ecology is that Australia is running out of water in agriculture and population centres.
And we use 9+ Litres per flush of freshwater, another precious resource, to take these valuable nutrients away. But not really ‘away’, rather into the ocean where they algal blooms, destroy coral reefs, and change the ecology of low-nutrient nearshore waters (such as exist in WA). These nutrients in our pooh are often from food (containing nutrients) that has, in itself, been transported from far away at great energetic expense.
We then import nutrients from other countries (e.g. the guano from Nauru ) or use fossil fuels to make fertilisers. Which we then apply to the land in ways that ensure they run-off into rivers and are minimally effective at aiding plant growth.
This grand combination of resources (nutrients, water) that are so essential to our civilisation makes me think that future generations will be dumbfounded at the way in which cultural attitudes prevented us more intelligently using such a precious resource for so long. When I get back to Australia I am going to do something smarter with what comes out of my bottom.