THE WASTEWATER GARDENER: Preserving the Planet One Flush at a Time by Mark Nelson

  • Written by  Jonathan Wright
  • Published in Books
THE WASTEWATER GARDENER: Preserving the Planet One Flush at a Time by Mark Nelson
01 Oct
2014
Disposing of human bodily waste as quickly and efficiently as possible might strike you as the most obvious idea in the world. The problem is that, for all our technological savvy, we are still not very good at it

Mark Nelson does not expect you to overcome your aversion to excrement overnight, but he invites you to consider various schemes that make use of wastewater and reduce the need for massive, centralised sewage systems. His stock-in-trade is the wastewater garden in which suitable plants are used to filter the products of our toilets, and where the resulting water can produce sustainable and very beautiful landscapes. Nelson has created such gardens around the world and much of the book is taken up with a description of his curious odyssey.

It is a rather inspiring tale and, even if you are unconvinced that a wastewater revolution is in the offing, you might still applaud the basic principles that underpin Nelson’s vision. It is, after all, rather silly to use potable water for horticultural tasks when something less refined will do. And would it really be so terrible if we treated and used human waste at the local level? I don’t imagine that compost derived from the contents of our loos will be appearing at garden centres any time soon, but one never knows for sure.

THE WASTEWATER GARDENER: Preserving the Planet One Flush at a Time by Mark Nelson, Synergetic Press, £21

Share this story...

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to Twitter

EMAIL NEWSLETTER

Get the best stories from Geographical delivered straight to your inbox each week.

LATEST HEADLINES

Subscribe Today

EDUCATION PARTNERS

Aberystwyth UniversityUniversity of GreenwichThe University of Winchester

TRAVEL PARTNERS

Ponant

Silversea

Travel the Unknown

DOSSIERS

Like longer reads? Try our in-depth dossiers that provide a comprehensive view of each topic

  • REDD+ or Dead?
    The UN-backed REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) scheme, under which developing nations would be paid not to cut dow...
    The true cost of meat
    As one of the world’s biggest methane emitters, the meat industry has a lot more to concern itself with than merely dietary issues ...
    Long live the King
    It is barely half a century since the Born Free story caused the world to re-evaluate humanity’s relationship with lions. A few brief decades later,...
    London: a walk in the park
    In the 2016 London Mayoral election, the city’s natural environment was high on the agenda. Geographical asks: does the capital has a green future, ...
    The Money Trail
    Remittance payments are a fundamental, yet often overlooked, part of the global economy. But the impact on nations receiving the money isn’t just a ...

MORE DOSSIERS

NEVER MISS A STORY - follow Geographical

Want to stay up to date with breaking Geographical stories? Join the thousands following us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and stay informed about the world.

More articles in REVIEWS...

Books

At the turn of the 17th century, the idea of…

Books

Mountain regions host a disproportionate share of the world’s conflicts:…

Books

Kit Mayers offers a lively account of Anthony Jenkinson, the…

Books

From food packets to fuel company manifestos, ‘sustainability’ is everywhere.…

Books

Mark Evans is a geography teacher, curious and adventurous, with…

Books

We humans have named ourselves Homo sapiens – ‘the wise…

Books

John Harding is modest about his mountaineering achievements: ‘I might…

Films

Showing at the Banff Mountain Film Festival’s UK tour, The…

Books

Water is ‘the principle of all things’, the element from…

Films

Based on true events, a journey through time and space…

Books

Some adventure stories are all bravado and bluster, a tirade…

Books

A great deal has been written about the dramatic rise…

Books

Panic, Fiennes tells us, is to be avoided at all…

Books

By the late 10th century, Oxford was the crossroads of…

Books

David Moffatt’s charming account of his time as a PhD…

Books

Bettany Hughes describes Istanbul as a ‘place where stories and…

Exhibitions

Thousands of tropical butterflies have come to the glasshouse at…

Exhibitions

An exhibition by Stephen Turner explores the natural life of…

Books

How it could be that a fashion and portrait photographer…

Books

Natural disasters are inevitable but the death toll is up…