The Franco-English blogger Telefinn, also known as Olli Miekka, has published in his blog Finnish from Afar an article called “The Dark Side of Mökki-Life” (Cottage-Life). The summer cottages in Finland are usually located on lake shores in the countryside, and often there is no proper sewage system. Because of the lack of sewage system, the summer cottages do not have a water closet, but an outhouse. For some descendants of the old European “high cultures”, this issue is difficult to digest, when people must at least look civilized or “cool” (whatever it means for different people).
Even if some people have both nice modern sanitized indoor toilet and an outhouse, they prefer using the outdoor option, which in Olli Miekka’s view is merely silly. He thinks that outhouses are primitive, disgusting and pitiful places. Prior to getting to know the outhouses in Finland, Olli Miekka had heard that they are used in developing countries and that ancestors made similar constructions long ago before the invention of the sewage system. Youtube videos suggest, however, that these “primitive structures” are becoming increasingly popular among people, who are looking for sustainable solutions for our challenges.
Life in Symbiosis with Microbes
I was born into a family, where the outhouse (dry closet or compost toilet) was in use throughout the year. In our house there was no tap water and no electricity, so as a child I got a good idea of life in natural conditions under the laws of nature. All resources we had were used with great care. Water was lifted from the well in the middle of the plot, and in addition to things we harvested from the forest, nutrition was mainly grown on our own field and vegetable beds. In this regard the outhouse was our most valuable energy source.
Nowadays, many people have a severe bacillophobia and they wage a neurotic war against dirt and microbes. Bacteria or microbes are not dirt when they are in the right place. Microbes are responsible for the cycle of life, the carbon cycle at its each stage. Barbara O’Neill gives about this a clear presentation on the video “DNA and The True Cause of Disease” (video timeline 27:34 – 58:25). She says that 92% of the DNA damage among Australian population is due to a mineral deficiency. This is due to the fact that in the soil where our food grows, there are no micro-organisms that would transfer soil minerals and trace elements to plants (video timeline 14:00 – 17:00).
In addition to lack of minerals, diseases are mainly due to the imbalance of the microbes that maintain the vital functions of our body. When we become ill, the harmful microbes in our body have gained the upper hand. If we want to stay healthy we must learn to live in symbiosis with microbes.
People already largely understand the importance of micro-organisms for our health. Nowadays there are lots of probiotic and lactic acid bacteria products in the market that are designed to balance the microbial flora in our digestive tract. Microbes are responsible for digestion and absorption of food in our bodies and improve our resistance to harmful microbes. Microbes in soil have a similar function as the microbes in our gastrointestinal tract. They break down the minerals and make the nutrients needed by the plants available to them and keep them strong and healthy, so that diseases and pests can not harm them.
Therefore, people should stop handling the faeces that come out of our body as filth or worthless crap. They become filthy only when they are handled in a wrong way and as a consequence cause a filthy, unhealthy environment. Properly handled humanure is our most valuable source of energy. Our faeces contain 100 million bacteria or micro-organisms per gram. They grow our plants. We just have to take care that we provide them good working conditions.
Lost Connection and its Consequences
A few years ago I watched a document describing aid activities in an earthquake area with dry toilets. I found it very confusing that young, strong men complained that their toilets were not cleaned and emptied on time, and they were filthy and people could not use them.
It seemed as foolish as the fact that in the West water is cleaned for drinking time and time again and we use the water to flush the toilets. It does not only waste huge amounts of money, but even greater waste is that we flush the best fertilizer of plants down to drains and give artificial fertilizers to plants.
Artificial fertilizers do not contain microbes that would transfer soil minerals and trace elements to plants. They deplete the soil and do not generate organic growth. However, even well-informed people in the West, who want organic crops have the same kind of attitude to humanure as Olli Miekka. Some even think that a toilet compost should not be used as fertilizer for edible vegetables. How should one put microbes into the soil?
Our Connection with Nature
Research shows that tomatoes that are grown in a living, organic soil have up to nine times more iron than those grown with artificial fertilizers. Barbara O’Neill says that the plants transfer 50% the fuel generated by solar energy during photosynthesis to microbes living in the soil (video timeline 35:25 – 35:45).
Modern composting toilets are so convenient that they would also be suitable for urban use. It would be the greatest eco deed, if people started using them instead of water closets. It would save tremendous amounts of taxpayers money, but the best thing would be that people could make their own soil and grow their fruits and vegetables by themselves. When there would be real local food at hand, less food should be transported from the outskirts of the world through many intermediaries to consumers.
The images next to this paragraph are from the vegetable garden of the pH-balance lecturer and owner of healthylife.fi website Rauno Moilanen. He says that a carefully cultivated and well-maintained 150m2 organic vegetable garden produces 1000 kg of vegetables under Finnish climate conditions during the summer.
In addition to food production, our healthy connection with nature could radically alter the urban environment. Studies show that nature reduces people’s stress levels and increases productivity. Just looking at images of nature has such an effect. For example, looking at abstract paintings do not have the same effect. That is why the European Union had in the past years an action program, which aimed at increasing green elements in office environment.
Our Connection with God
One of my dearest memories is when my older sister started school. I was only five years old and I was too young to go to school. I had to wait for one more year that the school doors opened for me too. As I had to stay at home with my mom and my little sister I complained to my mother my hard destiny. I also wanted to do something as important as going to school.
Without further parley my mother sent me to the woods to pick mushrooms. She gave me one simple advice that I with my five-year-old mind could digest: All mushrooms that exude milk are edible. Break them a bit on one edge and you will see. (This advice applies in Finland. In other parts of the world it may not be applicable.)
Nature nourishes us physically, mentally and spiritually. In addition, our connection with nature is a tangible relationship with God. For our peaceful coexistence it would be extremely important that everyone strengthens own relationship with nature. Not only in the sense of recreation, but feeling the undeniable fact that our relationship with nature is the prerequisite for sustainable, happy life. For God lives in the laws of nature.
Telefinn (Olli Miekka): The Dark Side of Mökki-life
Rauno Moilanen, healthylife.fi: Luo kasvisten paratiisi kasvimaallesi – Maanmuokkaus ja parantaminen (e-kirja)
Barbara O’Neill (website)
C-Head Portable Composting Toilet
Barbara O’Neill: DNA and The True Cause of Disease
C-Head – The best composting toilet
Plantagon: The Future of Urban Food