Muriel, the toilet types that you list (outhouses and composting privies) are actually feasible technical solutions to the problem (with a couple minor caveats). However, they are not desirable or even acceptable to the vast majority of the population. For outhouses (1) no one wants to go outside to use the bathroom and (2) outhouses are seen as technology for either the impoverished or for the 19th century. As for composting toilets, nearly everyone wants to “flush and forget.” It is a small percentage of the population that are willing to either handle or compost their feces.
If affordable alternatives to the flush toilet are to address this problem, they will need to be seen as aspirational and/or yield adequate economic or social benefits to be widely accepted. I have heard the comment in rural Alabama that composting toilets “aren’t much better than an outhouse.” Among environmentalists, composting toilets are seen as aspirational and yield increased social status in that subculture. At this point that is simply not true among most Americans.
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City Life Versus Country Life
Born and raised a city boy, I often wonder how different my life would be had I been raised in the country. Imagine having to choose to reside in one place for the rest of your life. Which would you opt for? Some people would argue that the hyperactive lifestyle that a big city has to offer has more benefits. However, others would contend that the calm and peaceful environment of the countryside is much more rewarding. Several people move from the city to a farm to get away from the hustle and bustle. Likewise, farmers have traded in their tractors and animals to live a fast paced city life. Of course, not all large cities are the same nor are all of the places in the country identical. Realizing this, ten years ago, I decided to hang up the city life in Indiana to pursue a more laid back approach to life in rural Tennessee. Certainly, both city life and life in the country have their benefits, but they also have distinguishable differences.
Working environments, for instance, vary among people who live in the cities and those in the country. Large cities are exploding with state-of-the-art skyscrapers, high-rises office buildings and banks that seem to block the light of day, creating an oppressive aura of concrete and shadows, yet, jobs for the city man or woman are plentiful. However, city dwellers generally have a commute to the downtown areas, sometimes a long, arduous and congested jaunt. Albeit, jobs are more plentiful in a city setting, but the fast paced working environment and concrete jungle atmosphere in the city can cause great displeasure. Some would dispute, though, that it would be easier to get another job because the market is higher. Although I agree the job mark...
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...ent atmosphere, the crime rate in the country is lower. As a matter of fact, unlike homeowners in the country, a city man would never even consider locking the doors as optional.
So whether it is the crazy, energized, stress-filled life of living in the city you prefer or the laid-back, relaxed way of life the country has to offer, both have their advantages. The choice is dependent on what is important to each individual. I have many fond memories of living in the city during the first part of my life; however, it is the move to the countryside that has more of an impact on my life. Industrial employment opportunities were greater in the city and extracurricular activities were in abundance, nonetheless, I prefer to treasure the slower paced life in the country, the kindness of friends and neighbors I have here, and the down-home flavor of rural living.
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