World Toilet Day is Here!

Dearest Poopers, If you've already had your morning movement, you may have noticed something different about your toilet today. You may have noticed it was slightly puffed up, proud of itself. It may have been wearing an extra big smile, showing off its porcelain whites. And after your product was whisked away down the drain , perhaps you could sense that your toilet was patting itself on the tank.

Yes indeed, this World Toilet Day, toilets everywhere are luxuriating in the acclaim that's so seldom afforded to them. Just think of all the wonderful things your toilet does for you! Six times a day (on average), the toilet takes away your pain. Your toilet doesn't judge you or call you names. It's there for you through pizza, hot dogs and taco night, lovingly accepting that which your own body has rejected.

But toilets are not just convenient, they're critical. World Toilet Day stands as a celebration of a technology that has prevented countless deadly diseases in the past 150 years, and as an act of solidarity with the over 40% of our world population still living--and dying--without access to safe toilets. Yet in a recent survey of things they could not live without, British museum-goers ranked toilets 9th, behind sunshine, internet connection, Facebook and email (clean water was 3rd). In India more people have access to a cell phone than to a toilet, and the amount GDP that is lost in Africa due to sanitation exceeds all foreign aid dollars. What a waste.

Across the spectrum, changing our relationship to the toilet requires us to reassess our understanding of value. Though poop may smell bad and be not the prettiest product to every emerge from our bodies (what is, really?), it is essentially a product. It is a nutrient-rich commodity that must be handled and processed like any other, from which there is money to be made. In the "developed" world, we are only beginning to compare the value of poop to that of the water we flush it in, or the energy and infrastructure required to maintain it (hear more from Science Friday on NPR). In the "developing" world, we are beginning to understand how making toilets "cool" can generate demand for them in ways simple health lectures never could. (Read more on the changing attitudes toward toilets from World Toilet Day founder, Jack Sim.)

The POOP Project is proud to be part of an awakening shaking abdomens around the world. As gross as it may be, poop is undeniably a part of us. It is our shadow, our shame. But it is also THE shit; it is our gold. It is the part of us that connects back to the earth and renews our relationship to the universe. We can turn our waste into a world of opportunity, and it all starts with four simple words:

"I love you, toilet."

A Joyous World Toilet Day to you all, and peaceful pooping.

Shawn "The Puru" Shafner

Com-POO-sting

Dear Poopers, Thank you to all who made it out last week for our conversation on Technology for Green Communities. I hope you'll join us for the final event in the Fall Speaker Series this Tuesday, Nov. 1 all about COMPOST!

Join me for presentations and a panel discussion with special guests:

Daniel Tainow, all around green guru, "Compost Dan" is Education Director at the Lower East Side Ecology Center and a good friend of The POOP Project.

Jennifer Blackwell, a self-described composting fanatic, is also an objectively-described expert and manager of the The NYC Compost Project in partnership with the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens.

David Hurd is Director of the Office of Recycling Outreach & Education with GrowNYC, going block by block to help New Yorkers recycle more and use less.

Tuesday, November 1 6:30-8:30pm Visitor Center at Newtown Creek in Greenpoint, Brooklyn (Click here for directions.)

Looking forward to seeing you there, and peaceful pooping.

Shawn “The Puru” Shafner

Tuesday: Technology for Green Communities

Dearest Poopers, First off, thanks so much to all those who made it out to Dixon Place for the work-in-progress premiere of Eat $h*t: How Our Waste Can Save the World. Ironically, I was quite artistically constipated in the weeks leading up to the premiere, and then filled page after page with text in the days just before the show. It was a little messy in the end, but what do you expect from crappy art? Looking forward to future revisions and a finished piece in the new year.

I also enjoyed my first radio interview this past Monday with Danny Valdes of Radio Provacateur. If you missed the live broadcast, you can listen in HERE.

It was fun to be the one answering questions, but now I'm looking forward to heading back into the moderator's chair this Tuesday, Oct. 25, 6:30-8:30 for the penultimate panel in the Fall Speaker Series with the Visitor Center at Newtown Creek, "Technology for Green Communities."

Join me for presentations and a panel discussion with special guests:

Michael Heimbinder, creator of HabitatMap, an online mapping and social networking platform that connects citizens to their communities.

Shai Lauros, helping New York City's buildings go green with sustainable building methods and materials as Executive Director of GreenHomeNYC.

Gennaro Brooks-Church from Eco Brooklyn, a full service design and building firm creating Brownstones with zero waste, zero new materials, and zero energy to run.

Inger Staggs Yancey from Brooklyn Greenroof, using thirsty plants to and high-tech soil containers to transform city roofs into ecological mega-machines.

Tuesday, October 25 6:30-8:30pm Visitor Center at Newtown Creek in Greenpoint, Brooklyn (Click here for directions.)

Looking forward to seeing you there, and peaceful pooping.

Shawn "The Puru" Shafner

Eat $h*t

Dearest poopers, There's a lot to be excited about around The POOP Project right now.  An article I wrote about the swaddled American experience, "Huggies for Hanukkah," just came out in Alef: The NEXT Conversation. This Monday night from 10-11 EST, I'll be giving an interview to Danny Valdes on Radio Provacateur. And this Wednesday at 7:30pm, my new one man show, Eat $h*t: How Our Waste Can Save the World will premiere as a work-in-progress in the lounge at Dixon Place.  It's FREE!

Imagine a world that utilizes our most natural bodily function instead of flushing doo into our drinking water. This renewable resource can fertilize fields, build homes and power cities, while we confront an international sanitation crisis that kills a child every 20 seconds. But to do this, we’re gonna have to own our $h*t.

Journey from kitchen to commode for an uncensored look at the imbalanced bowels of an American society consuming itself.

Eat $h*t: How Our Waste Can Save the World Dixon Place, 161A Chrystie Street 7:30-9:00pm FREE! Light refreshments will be served.

Created and Performed by Shawn Shafner Developed with the help of director Simon Hanukai, dramaturg David Carter and chef Amanda Melpolder.

Tinkle, Tinkle Little Star

Dearest Poopers, I am so looking forward to tabling at The NEW New York Block Party this Saturday, Oct. 1 in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. But even more exciting are the FREE giveaways we'll be featuring to help you green your home from your bottom up!

Drumroll please...

Bum Boosa Bamboo toilet paper is one bathroom product your behind can get behind! When toilet paper first came out in the 1860s, it was a total flop. The very idea that people should use a clean, new product reserved specifically for wiping their butts just to dispose of it immediately after was completely foreign to a population used to cleaning themselves with the Sears Catalogue. Seriously. (You can read about that and see many fascinating vintage TP advertisements at the Virtual Toilet Paper Museum.) Still, the idea that we should be cutting down fresh, virgin trees for the same purpose--especially those from the Canadian Boreal Forest, as Kimberly-Clark did until Greenpeace stopped them in 2009--is just as ludicrous. Unfortunately, it's the only way to get the long fibers that make that lusciously soft toilet paper Americans crave.

In those terms, recycled toilet paper is a MUCH better option. However, recycled toilet paper contains all paper types, including thermal papers like receipts, which are loaded with Bisphenol A (or BPA), a known carcinogen, estrogen mimic, and endocrine disruptor. Thus, using recycled toilet paper puts these chemicals directly onto your tender derriere and, when flushed, ushers them into the water system--just one of the many chemicals and pharmaceuticals currently in our drinking stream according to this US Government Accountability Office report (PDF). To quote the Dresden University study (PDF) that first made this issue known:

“Toilet paper was shown to being an important source of xenoestrogen emissions to wastewater. Thermal paper again is estimated being a major source for the contamination of recycled paper with BPA. Thermal paper represents a very small portion of the entire paper production but due to its extremely high BPA content it certainly mainly causes BPA input into the paper cycle...”

Let's file that under bad news. The good news? Bum Boosa bamboo toilet paper!! Unlike traditional paper trees, bamboo grows 2-3 feet each day, and can be harvested sustainably to make all sorts of paper products, including the toilet papers, baby wipes and other environmentally friendly personal products made by Bum Boosa. Interested? See their website to buy online or find a retail location near you, OR stop by our booth at the block party tomorrow and you just might win a squeezably soft, sustainable roll of your own!

Now, I've often written about the amazing fertilizing powers of urine (see The Puru Pees in His Plants), and as a male, it's easy for me to get urine into my watering can. Less so, I'm afraid, for women and trans men. Until now!

Introducing, The pStlye!!

Ever been camping, on a long car trip, faced with sitting on a nasty port-a-pottie seat, or simply wanted to pee standing up? The pStyle is a discreet, reusable funnel that tells women and trans men, "Urine Charge!" with a powerful pee-pee tool. Made by the same mastermind as the reusable menstrual solution, The Diva Cup, the pStyle is incredibly easy to use--and fun!  Just unzip, pull aside your underwear, and maneuver the widest part of the pStyle directly under your urethra. Tilt down and watch the water flow, feeding the plants and flowers with the nitrogen they need to thrive. (Note that you will actually want to dilute your urine with water, especially for home use, as too much nitrogen will burn their tender buds. See Carol Steinfeld's Liquid Gold for complete information.)

Wanna know more? Visit the POOP table at The NEW New York Block Party where we'll be raffling off 2 pStyles, browse the pStyle website for complete usage instructions, or watch their charming promo video below.

(The pStyle presented by afriska.ch from Franziska Neuhaus on Vimeo.)

Till then, may you all tinkle like little stars and enjoy peaceful pooping.

Shawn "The Puru" Shafner

Green Your Home from the Bottom Up!

Dearest Poopers, Thanks so much to all those who made it out this past week for our POOP Project events; they're always poopy, but never crappy! We fed our metropolitan minds on the topic of urban farming last Tuesday with visionary ideas from Inger Staggs YanceyAnnie Novak, Dr. Dickson Despommier and surprise guest Alec Baxt in a panel conversation with the Visitor's Center at Newtown Creek. Then Saturday night we ranted, raved and exorcised the demons of shameful shitting at the VENT Performance Festival. And look! I even got my name printed on the wall like a fancy artist!! Mama would be so proud...if only it wasn't about poop.

But it is about poop. It always is.

And it gives me great pleasure to know that this Saturday, Oct. 1 from 11am-5pm, I'll be helping people green their homes from their bottoms up! The POOP Project will be holding court at GreenHomeNYC's NEW New York Block Party, a revolutionary reinterpretation of the traditional street fair that will transform one city block into an urban classroom and bring practical, environmentally-friendly ideas straight to your doorstep. That is, if you happen to live on North 11th Street between Berry and Wythe in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, because that's where the event is. Otherwise, I invite you to make that block your temporary doorstep for the day!.

But wait--there's more!

People often say to me: "Puru! I love you. You know so much about poop! Do you want to get married?" And I say, "No. Anyway, not to you." To which they say, "Ouch! Oh, wait. I'm over it! Still, oh great Puru, how can I put some of your wise environmental principles into practice with my very own potty?"

In answer to this query, it brings me even greater pleasure to know that this Saturday I'll be bringing you two--count them--1, 2 ways to put your money where my mouth is. The POOP Project has partnered with two companies that excite me so much I just might tinkle! Which is exactly what they'd want me to do.

So, what are these mystery organizations? It's a mystery!!! That will be revealed over the next few days.

Till then, peaceful pooping.

Shawn "The Puru" Shafner

Fall Speaker Series Starts Tuesday

Dearest Poopers, Thank you to all those who came out to Club Make and Do's show this past Thursday. It was a smash! And I got a chance to show off my new hat.

But that's old news now. And I know you crave more. More!  MORE!!!

So get your calendars out, because here's what's coming up:

  • Tuesday, Sept. 20: panel conversation about urban farming at the Visitor Center at Newtown Creek
  • Saturday, Sept. 24: performance lecture on the history if shit at the Vent Festival
  • Saturday, Oct. 1: tabling at the NEW New York D-I-Y Block Party
  • Tuesday, Oct. 4: The Clap is featured as part of Adult Education
  • Wednesday, Oct. 19: the premiere of Eat $h*t: How Our Waste Can Save the World at Dixon Place
  • Tuesday, Oct. 25: panel conversation about technology for green communities at the Visitor Center at Newtown Creek
  • Tuesday, Nov. 1: panel conversation about composting at (you guessed it!) the Visitor Center

But it's a Saturday, so for now here's details on just the first two.

The POOP Project is proud to once again play moderator for a series of panel events at the Visitor Center at Newtown Creek, the city's largest wastewater treatment plant. Join us this Tuesday, September 20th from 6:30-8:30pm for presentations and conversations all about urban farming!

Featuring guest speakers:

Annie Novak, who feeds Greenpoint from the Eagle Street Rooftop Farms and teaches urbanites where their food comes from.

Dr. Dickson Despommier whose vision, The Vertical Farms, would enable cities to feed themselves from skyscrapers.

Inger Staggs Yancey from Brooklyn Greenroof, using thirsty plants to transform city roofs into ecological mega-machines.

For more information about and directions to the Visitor Center at Newtown Creek in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, CLICK HERE or on the poster above.

Now if you've got something to say (and who doesn't?), consider joining me next Saturday for the Vent Festival at Gowanus Studio Space!

The POOP Project is pleased to join the Vent Festival from 6-9pm to fume about The Agony and the Excrement, a humorous performance lecture about the history of sanitation and the social factors that lead to "shameful shitting." If you missed this lecture at Adult Education earlier this year, now's your chance! The line-up will also include Damali AbramsDanielle AbramsAisha Cousins, D'LuxeJason Gaspar and the Rant Van.

PLUS come early (from 3-6pm) to make your own cider with Atom Cianfarani, encounter Nurit Bar-Shai's growing organisms, witness Coral Short's 1000 Sighs and more!

THEN come back the next day for a 1pm performance workshop with veteran performance artist Rob Andrews and a 4pm artist's conversation  featuring Danielle Abrams, Rob Andrews, Coral Short, Aisha Cousins and D'Luxe. Moderated by Maya Suess, the beautiful, brainy and benevolent curator of the whole darned thing.

As a bonus, I'd like to leave you with a video from another project I'm involved in that generates applause for the public good. We call it The Clap because the joy's contagious. You can learn more on the Facebook page.

Wishing you a great weekend and, as always, peaceful pooping.

Shawn "The Puru" Shafner

 

Shit and Share

Dearest Poopers,

I admit it: I love poop. There's so much to love! Behind the closed stall door lie fascinating conversations about design, architecture, history, privacy, theories on the body, on dirt and socialization. Intellectually speaking, it's the gift that keeps on giving.

That said, I'm not very interested in sharing my shit in person, in pictures or in smell-o-vision. I understand that not everyone feels this way, which has given rise to websites like (WARNING: Not for Work!) Rate My Doodie and ShareMyShit. The latter is a social network (and Twitter feed) for people who want to...well, you know. Its creator, Jeff, and I emailed a few months ago, and it turns out there's more to it than what meets the big, brown eye:

I am artistically fascinated by the concept of taboo. The unspoken social contracts around certain subjects highlight the dark aspects, the shadow of human identity that most would rather not think about. Individually and culturally, we try to repress our shadow selves, only to find darkness slipping through the cracks in unexpected, unintended or destructive ways. A healthy mind is one that embraces all aspects of our humanity, even the less-convenient ones, and this involves thinking about things that make us uncomfortable.

Professionally, I am fascinated by social media and how it is changing the nature of some of those unspoken social contracts. So ShareMyShit is just a convenient marriage of some of my interests.

We've already opened up our personal lives, thoughts and pictures to the internet--perhaps this is the next step?

What I do share on a regular basis is art. Once a week, in fact, I meet with six other artists as part of Club Make and Do, or c(mad). C(mad) is a dynamic collective of artists working in different mediums who commune weekly to share, dialogue and support each other's practice. And we're having a sharing tomorrow night with beautiful images, performance art, music, wine and more!

Thursday, September 15, 7:30-10:00 The Soho Gallery for Digital Art (138 Sullivan Street between Houston and Prince) $5-10 sliding scale, refreshments will be served.

I'll be showing a short preview of Eat $h*t: How Our Waste Can Save the World, an interactive cooking show (no poop, I promise!) where we'll journey from kitchen to commode for an uncensored look at the imbalanced bowels of an American society consuming itself. (The full show performs one night only, Oct. 19 at Dixon Place!)

ALSO FEATURING!

Danielle Abrams – has two cats, sells fish, and performs her New York City lineage of European Jews and African Americans. www.danielleabrams.com Zhenesse Heinemann - creates Living Dioramas and character driven video art. She has shown in varied spaces such as John Connelly Presents, English Kills Gallery, Grace Exhibition Space, Scope Art Fair NYC, and at Banzai in the Red Room. www.zhenesse.com Glenn Marla – is a theatre performance artist and fat tranny superstar.  www.facebook.com/glennmarla Robert Pearre – is a video artist living in Brooklyn. www.robertpearre.com Franny Silverman – may be the nicest person you’ll ever know, or the craziest. She’s a Gemini, an actor/theatremaker/activist with a thing for make believe, narwhals and baked goods. www.frannysilverman.com

Looking forward to seeing you there and, as always, peaceful pooping.

Shawn "The Puru" Shafner

A Poo-pular Time

Dearest Poopers, The next few weeks bring you a few chances to get a load of The POOP Project.

THE POOP

1. Sat, Sept. 10 from 1-6pm: Come play "Toss the Turd" at the 9th Annual West Side County Fair!

2. Thurs, Sept. 15 from 7:30-10pm: The POOP Project is in a group show with Club Make and Do!

3. Help send us to The NEW New York Block Party, Sat, Oct. 1st!

4. SAVE THE DATE! Wed, Oct. 19 at 7:30 pm for the premiere of my new one-man show, Eat $h*t: How Our Waste Can Save the World at Dixon Place!

THE SCOOP

1.

Enjoy a little country in Manhattan with live performances, carnival rides, a petting zoo and more at Summer on the Hudson’s 9th Annual West Side County Fair, a park-wide event on Saturday, September 10, from 1-6pm. Stop by The POOP Project's table to try your hand at Toss the Turd. If you can get three faux-ces into the composting toilet, you can win our prize: A PRUNE! Click the link above for more info and full band lineup.

Riverside Park South is located on the Hudson River between 59th and 72nd Streets with entrances at 59th, 68th, 72nd Streets

2.

 

An evening of video art, music, performance and wine brought to you by Club Make and Do* members Danielle Abrams, Jane Cramer, Zhenesse Heinemann, Glenn Marla, Robert Pearre, Shawn Shafner and Franny Silverman.

Thurs, Sept. 15, 7:30-10:00. The Soho Gallery for Digital Art, 138 Sullivan Street in NYC. $5-10 sliding scale, refreshments will be served. See it on Facebook.

*c(mad) is a dynamic collective of artists working in different mediums who commune weekly to share, dialogue and support each other's practice.

 

3.

 

As of this moment, GreenHomeNYC has already raised $910 to bring five amazing, eco-conscious organizations including The POOP Project to The NEW New York block party, Oct. 1. That means we only need to raise $192 more! And I bet you've got a few nickels clinking around somewhere... Donate to the ioby campaign today, enjoy a lifetime of good karma. It's just that easy!

 

 

4.

SAVE THE DATE! Wed, Oct. 19 at 7:30 pm for the premiere of my new one-man show, Eat $h*t: How Our Waste Can Save the World at Dixon Place! We will be talking about poop, baking cupcakes, and washing away the dirty stains of shame. Stay tuned for more details soon!

Looking forward to seeing you soon, and wishing you peaceful pooping until then.

Shawn "The Puru" Shafner

Excremen-tainment!

Dearest Poopers, There are big things in the works--POOP Project events in NYC on Sept. 10, 15, and also Oct. 1 and 19th. More info coming PRONTO!

But a little teaser for the day: are you a woman in New York interested in asking Dr. Oz about your pee or poo, Tuesday the 30th? Allow me to explain...

This past week I was visiting my folks in Denver (even a Puru's got to have parents!), away from Brooklyn just long enough to miss Aunt Irene. In truth, I was a little glad to be away but more sorry not to be standing with my city--especially in what New York Magazine warned might be a literal shitstorm from combined sewer outfalls (CSOs) in the Gowanus Canal and Newtown Creek. Based on the pictures in one local blog, it doesn't appear to be much of an issue, and the worst my block got was a big fallen branch. She IS a big one though!

So Friday, I'm at the Denver Zoo with the first family of feces (j/k Mom and Dad!). Like all zoos, they love poop. They sell their poo to gardeners in a can, have an online game where you can guess Whose Poo?!, and they're soon to open Asian Tropics, a multi-million dollar exhibit powered by biogas--utilizing 2,700 pounds of animal poo and 4,200 pounds of their visitor's trash EVERY DAY. I am impressed.

So I'm eating an ice cream alongside a free range peacock, and I look down at my phancy phone to phind (too phar?) an email from Dr. Oz.

That's right. The guru of positive poop talk himself. THE Dr Oz.

...or a Production Assistant from his show whose name was Sheena. It was hard to tell. But we all know that down deep he loves The POOP Project.

Anyway, my understanding is that they're taping a show Tuesday, Aug. 30th from 1-5pm about poo and pee. Any New York ladies out there who:

a) have been diagnosed with something because of/related to poo or pee and wanna sit in the audience and represent?

b) wanna ask a question that pertains to what the shape or color of poo means, why their pee is colored/smells a certain way or what the quantity of the pee signifies?

If you're ready for your 15 minutes of fecal fame, email me at shawn@thePOOPproject.org and I'll give you the low down.

That's all for now, poopers. Wishing you inphamous phoeces and peaceful pooping.

Shawn

Getting Gassy and All Fueled Up!

Dearest Poopers,

In nature, there is no such thing as waste. To have an ecosystem means that all the organisms present are balancing each other out, providing for one another so that every problem has an equal and opposite solution.

There's a gallon of rotting cabbage on my kitchen counter right now--a little delicacy called Sauerkraut. Guided by Sandor Ellix Katz' Wild Fermentation, I bravely chopped up a mess of cabbage, green onion, carrots and their tops, added water and salt, shoved the whole thing in a crock with a another one on top. That was last Monday night.

Click the pic for a Scientific American article about the dangers of antibiotics and bacterial extinction.

Now I've got a little ecosystem going in my kitchen, thriving with healthy bacteria that are predigesting the cabbage for me, freeing up nutrients my body couldn't otherwise access. The healthy Lactobacilli that came from somewhere in my kitchen will become a part of my body, an ecosystem (officially called the human microbiome) that already contains approximately 100 trillion bacteria living symbiotically with my 10 trillion cells--that's a 10:1 bacteria to human ratio. The approximately 500 species in my gut are so helpful in the digestive process that, according to a nicely footnoted Wikipedia article, "the metabolic activity performed by these bacteria is equal to that of a virtual organ, leading to gut bacteria being termed a forgotten' organ.[24]"

For more information check out this great Science Daily article about how decoding the microbiome might play a role in health and illness. You can also read the latest news from The Human Microbiome Project, a federal initiative to map the microbiome.

These ecosystems just go to show that for every problem there's an equal and opposite solution. To that end, I am pleased to announce two news items in this fashion!

PROBLEM A

New York's Riverkeeper released an important report yesterday revealing that, though the Hudson is getting healthier, there's still has a long way to go. In the words of Riverkeeper Boat Captain John Lipscomb, "We still have a significant problem with sewage contamination. The recent 200+ million gallon sewage spill in New York City is only a minor part of widespread contamination that regularly occurs in the Hudson.” I encourage you to check out the Riverkeeper website to read more about this eye-opening report, or listen to the audio explanation.

      SOLUTION A

The ultimate solution will mean that what goes down NYC's pipes during a rainstorm doesn't flow back unchecked into the river. In the meantime, it might be nice for swimmers, kayakers and river walkers to at least know when it's happening. You can help make this so! Sign this petition to join Riverkeeper, New York State Senator Adriano Espaillat and New York State Assemblyman Thomas Abinanti in calling for a Sewage Right to Know Law for New York so that the public can be  properly informed about where and when it is safe to get in the water.

PROBLEM B

I've recently been going to protests and meetings about the dangers of hyrdraulic fracturing, or "fracking." While there's tons of natural gas lying underneath the ground, current fracking technology is unsafe, requires millions of gallons of water that must be dumped after, and has the potential to contaminate the water we depend on for drinking (and flushing, but that wasteful practice is a whole other post). When I go to these events, I've been struck by the inherent dilemma--yes, fracking is a bad way to get energy and, yes, our energy consumption is out of control. So if we're going to say "No!" to fracking, but can we say "Yes!" to?

SOLUTION B

Sunday, 8/14, at 2pm The MORE Project presents a FREE screening of Josh Fox's Gasland, an expose on fracking, followed  at 4pm by Fuel the Film, all about exciting new possibilities for energy. A discussion with The Puru will follow and the beer will surely flow over at Pour George on 8th btwn 5th and 6th Aves, because there's nothing like alcohol and documentary films! Full details just below.

Now I've gotta go. It's sauerkraut hour.

Peaceful pooping,

Shawn "The Puru" Shafner

2 Great FREE films – Sunday 14-Aug-2011 at 2 PM in NYC

The M.O.R.E. project is proud to present a ‘fair use’ screening of TWO outstanding films on Sunday 14-Aug-2011. There is NO admission fee! A ‘fair use’ screening must be FREE!

The two award winning films are “Gasland” at 2 PM, and “Fuel” around 4 PM. They will be shown in the back room of a great bar in Greenwich Village called “Pour George” at 35 West 8th St, New York, NY 10011 / (212) 253-2999. That's just East of 6th Ave.  Take the N/R to 8th Street, the 6 to Astor Place, or the A/C/E to West 4th St.

“Gasland” by Josh Fox explores the truly deadly consequences of extracting natural gas by the process called hydraulic fracturing aka “fracking”. This process has reportedly already contaminated drinking water in 34 states and unless we block it, fracking will soon start in areas whose water feeds New York City.

People are being sickened and killed by fracking all over the country, but the laws that are supposed to protect us have been bypassed by Halliburton and other large companies.

Josh F’s courageous film digs deep into what fracking is, what it does, how it kills, and who profits from (literally) ‘making a killing’…

“Fuel” is the story of Josh Tickell, filmmaker and eco-evangelist, who spent eleven years exploring real-world energy alternatives to oil, coal, and natural gas. He put his findings into his film along with his brave spirit (as did Josh Fox).

Josh T found that there ARE real ways to create power that do not poison the Earth and all the living beings who share it.  In his film, he explores energy creation from wind, solar, tidal and biofuel power sources.  He also makes a fantastic case for biodiesel fuel created by algae from sewage and industrial waste. 

If you are coming to the event, please RSVP, John Hechtman at jhecht410@gmail.com. You don’t have to do this – as long as we have space to seat you, no one will be turned away. But Pour George is not a large place – it would be very helpful to have a rough idea of how many people are coming.  For more info call  212 586 4633.

Pooping Is Not a Crime

Dearest Poopers, First off, there's still room for YOU to join us this Saturday, 7/30 at 7:30pm for a rooftop screening of Gasland! Read the original post to learn more or just go express track and and RSVP here! And now for the news...

Pooping is not a crime. Dumping poo in the river is. So said your trusty Puru via cardboard and marker yesterday at the rally held by New York Senator Adriano Espaillat. While there have been many individuals and organization (like Riverkeeper and the SWIM Coalition) hounding the city and state for years to provide adequate signage in the event of a CSO, perhaps the Senator's rallying cry will put a stop to this heel-dragging on the part of those responsible, and get this thing moving. (By the way, you can see a cool video showing how scientists think the spilled sewage was moving through New York's waters from the fantastic SeaAndSkyNY.)

In case you missed it, you can learn more about yesterday's rally in this great article at DNAinfo (in which the above picture and some of my own comments are featured), or take in a short video about it from NY1 (in which I am not featured).

All the best, and peaceful pooping.

Shawn "The Puru" Shafner

Rally Against NYC Sewage Dumping TOMORROW

Dearest Poopers, If you live in New York City, you've probably heard by now of Wednesday's explosion and fire at the North River Wastewater Treatment Plant. Oh, you know! The one that was spewing untreated sewage out into the Hudson until Friday evening (around 120 million gallons)? If this is news to you, check out this New York Times article. Perhaps most concerning is the discrepancy between tests conducted by the DEP and Riverkeeper, an independent watchdog for water safety and health. They were looking to see whether bacteria that normally live in our intestines (that little cutie down below) had moved en masse to riverfront property. And the answer was yes. Yes it had. From the Times:

On Saturday, Riverkeeper said that Thursday’s samples at 6 of 16 test locations in the Hudson, from the Tappan Zee Bridge down to New York City’s Battery, had unsafe counts ranging from 132 to 104,620 per 100 milliliters. “The concentrations near the discharge points were much higher than usual, comparable to the Gowanus Canal and Newtown Creek,” Dr. O’Mullan [of Riverkeeper] said.

Gowanus and Newtown, among the most contaminated bodies of water in the nation, were both declared federal Superfund sites last year and are to undergo decade-long cleanups.

The city’s own sampling Thursday showed much lower concentrations because the testing is done at beaches and in the center of the river, Mr. Sklerov [of the Environmental Protection Department] said.

Here's the problem (well, one problem): beachcombers are not the only ones who need to be told to stay ashore when sewage has been released into NYC water. There are boathouses up and down NYC's waterways. There are fishermen who live off of what they catch every day. There are even brave folk who swim in these waters without ever stepping foot on a public beach. And there are 2 billion gallons of effluent (washed down by 25 more billion gallons of wastewater--normally rain or snowmelt) coming out of large pipes around the city every year in what's called a Combined Sewer Overflow, or CSO. (You can find tons more information on this from the SWIM Coalition--and be sure to check out this swell factsheet.)

Eventually, the city needs to figure out an alternative to dumping untreated sewage into the river every time it rains or snows too much and the city's wastewater treatment plants can't handle the capacity. Until then, an effective notification system would at least help to mitigate the danger. Plenty of other cities have them (see this compendium, again from SWIM), so why not the Big Apple?

To that effect...

I look forward to seeing you there!  And till then, peaceful pooping.

Shawn "The Puru" Shafner

One Gas That's Not Okay to Pass

Dearest Poopers, Here at The POOP Project, we agree with Ben Franklin that natural gas is okey-dokey (see "Not Everyone's Against Gas"), and that us humans should be able to pass it without scrutiny. But one place where methane is definitely not welcome is in our drinking water. Unfortunately, with a new process for getting methane out of rock shale, called hydraulic fracturing (or "fracking"), this is precisely what might happen.

The Academy Award-nominated documentary Gasland: A Film by Josh Fox is helping to inform people all over the country about this critical issue. If you haven't seen it yet, I encourage you to rent this film and share a movie night with other people who like drinking clean water. You can watch the trailer below.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dZe1AeH0Qz8

If you're in New York, I welcome you to join me this Saturday, 7/30 at 7:30pm for a rooftop screening! This potluck evening is graciously hosted by Heather Brown and the Brooklyn Food Coalition on a rooftop at 17th Street & 8th Avenue in Brooklyn. You can learn more and RSVP here!

Wishing you, as always, peaceful pooping, but also fracking-free farting.

Shawn "The Puru" Shafner

Opening the Gates to Sanitation

Dearest Poopers, The Gates have gotten into the game--Bill and Melinda, that is. In fact, their foundation has announced $42 million to address global sanitation issues and "Reinvent the Toilet". Check it out!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fdwvuTrycYU&feature=youtu.be

So what's your idea?

Peaceful pooping,

Shawn "The Puru" Shafner

POOPing on City of Water Day TOMORROW

Dearest Poopers, I do so hope to see you tomorrow, Saturday 7/16, for the City of Water Day Festival on Governor's Island. It's a free all-day affair (10am-4pm) celebrating the potential of our NYC/NJ waterfront and full of entertainment, education & adventure--including a POOP table manned by The Puru himself.

But first, a pew pictures from BOB the Pavilion that I snagged on Wednesday night, before/after PERFORMANCY FORUM XIV. If you didn't know, BOB is a composting toilet and inflated platform for performance and more located on the Columbia campus and supported by a grant from Columbia University School of the Arts (SOA) and Graduate School of Architecture, Preservation, and Planning (GSAPP).

2011-07-13 19.08.47.jpg2011-07-13 22.03.51.jpg

A night and day shot of the toilet, as taken from my rather pixelated camera phone. The two tube-ish things you see above it contain the air that actually inflates the platform. According to a source I spoke with at the event, the idea is to reference the gases that come from the toilet itself and its users as being the material that inflates the overhanging white cloud.

Unfortunately, the toilet--while being a functioning composting toilet--is not to be used, as indicated by the plastic sheet covering its opening. Hence the reflection of the camera flash in the picture on the right below.

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Though the toilet is unusable, there is something very exciting about approaching this toilet that is exposed on two sides and thinking about using it. To do so in reality will have to be a part of the next project.

For now, perhaps the most effective part is the stage itself, flanked by a Greco-style well type structure, as seen in the picture below with the beautiful and amazingly talented Gelsey Bell in the corner.

 

 

And now, or something completely different...

July 16: City of Water Day Festival in NY & NJ From the upper Hudson to Raritan Bay, we are a City of Water. Spread the word and come to the waterfront on July 16, City of Water Day! On this day, the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance gathers many partners to showcase the potential of the New York/New Jersey Harbor. Come, enjoy, and help us revitalize the waterfront with this annual, one-of-a-kind festival for the entire family!

This year, festivities will take place at Governors Island and Liberty State Park. Free ferries will get you to Governors Island from Manhattan and Brooklyn (click here for the schedules) and to Liberty State Park. (Click here for the schedule of free transportation between Governors Island and Liberty State Park, and here for information about other ways to get to Liberty State Park.)

FESTIVAL HIGHLIGHTS

  • FREE boat tours for thousands on historic and educational vessels. Click here for more information
  • FREE kayaking, rowing and fishing opportunities
  • Dozens of FREE arts, crafts, games and activities for kids
  • FREE ferries between Governors Island & Liberty State Park
  • An amazing range of demonstrations, hands-on projects, free merchandise and water-related literature at the Waterfront Activity Fair--INCLUDING THE POOP PROJECT TABLE!
  • Car-free waterfront bicycling
  • Delicious food from award-winning vendors
  • Live music, and much more!!!

If you can't make it to Liberty State Park or Governors Island on July 16, enjoy City of Water Day festivities at other waterfronts around the metropolitan region, including Harlem River Park, Brooklyn Bridge Park, Staten Island, Bronx River Park, Battery Park City and Hudson River Park. Click here for information about City of Water Day in Your Neighborhood.

Hope to see you there and, as always, peaceful pooping.

Shawn "The Puru" Shafner

Bob Performs in Public

Dearest Poopers, First off, a big thank you to everyone who turned out last night to make the final installment in DEP's Summer Speaker Series a great success. The diverse viewpoints of Andrew Faust, Kaled Alamarie and Dr. Paul Mankiewicz supplied fodder for an intense debate about how best to achieve "A Sustainable Future", one I wish we'd only had more time to pursue. Lastly, I want to honor Julia Perciasepe and Jessica Bergeron, my collaborators and consecutive Special Events Coordinators with the Visitor Center at Newtown Creek who made it all possible. Stay tuned for future collaborations...

And while we're waiting, make sure to check out BOB the Pavilion, the communal composting toilet currently on display at Columbia University. In fact, why not do it tonight AND catch a show? I'll be in attendance; hope to see you there!

Peaceful Pooping,

Shawn "The Puru" Shafner

PERFORMANCY FORUM XIV organized by PPL AT BOB THE PAVILION

Wednesday, July 13, 7-10:00 PM

TESS DWORMAN performing an intimate, solo dance piece

PAUL PINTO AND JEFFREY YOUNG (OF THINGNY) performing a mini opera tentatively entitled Jeffrey Young and Paul Pinto Run for Office with the Help of Paul Pinto as his Wingman.

ANYA LIFTIG * performance art * performance art *

BEN SPATZ/MAXIMILIAN BALDUZZI/URBAN RESEARCH THEATER 

MATTHEW STEPHEN SMITH an excerpt from A Gathering of Very Articulate Individuals 

CHRISTY WALSH performing her I had a dream of an endless string of beautiful days in the desert, a dance/video work

and

PPL composer BRIAN MCCORKLE, performing an excerpt from the work-in-progress Institute_Institut concert-style with MEGAN COOPER, GREG LOEWER JR, DANIELLA FISCHETTI, AND MATTHEW STEPHEN SMITH

Bob the Pavilion is a composting toilet and inflated platform for performance and more http://www.bobthepavilion.com/

Bob The Pavilion was supported by a grant from Columbia University School of the Arts (SOA) and Graduate School of Architecture, Preservation, and Planning (GSAPP).

A Sustainable Future TONIGHT!

Dearest Poopers, I've just arrived back from exploring the deep, dark Northwoods of Wisconsin. While technically not a poop-themed trip, I did come across an fascinating artifact while sifting through a local thrift shop. I believe it is none other than Mary Poppins' plunger!

I hope that, in between your Merry Poopin', you'll have a chance to check out tonight's panel conversation, "A Sustainable Future: Green Innovations" hosted by the Visitor Center at Newtown Creek. I'm incredibly excited to pick the brilliant brains of permaculture expert Andrew Faust (Center for Bioregional Living), green designer Paul S. Mankiewicz, Ph.D. (The Gaia Institute) and ecologist Kaled Alamarie (Bureau of Environmental Planning and Analysis, DEP--filling in for John McLaughlin). Seriously folks, this is top caliber talent. If you don't believe me, check out their bios following the poster below.

Looking forward to seeing you there, and peaceful pooping.

Shawn "The Puru" Shafner

Click the picture above to see the full flyer, or click HERE to get complete directions to the Visitor Center at Newtown Creek.

Kaled Alamarie, graduated from Hunter College in 1997 a degree in Geology and a duel masters in both urban studies and Geology from Queens College. Kaled has been working for the NYCDEP for 11 years. During his tenure with the DEP he worked on the ecological restoration of Pennsylvania & Fountain Avenue landfill, Alley Creek wetland/upland restoration, Thrusby Basin Restoration, and most recently he is supervising the design and construction of the Jamaica Bay Watershed Green Infrastructure pilot studies.

Andrew Faust is one of the premier Permaculture teachers and designers in North America with nearly two decades of experience in the field. His passionate and visionary presentation and curriculum has been inspiring and motivating students since his days as an alternative school teacher at Upattinas in Glenmoore, PA. Andrew lived off the grid in West Virginia for 8 years where he designed and built a Permaculture inspired homestead including a 1600 sq ft strawbale house. He moved to Brooklyn in 2007 and has been applying his knowledge to the urban landscape culminating in a Permaculture Design Certification course many consider life changing. He is developing The Center for Bioregional Living in Ellenville, NY with his partner Adriana Magaña as a pilot campus for his students, clients and baby daughter Juniper.

Dr. Paul S. Mankiewicz, Executive Director of the Gaia Institute, received his Ph.D. from the City University of New York/New York Botanical Garden Joint Program in Plant Sciences. He holds patents on a modular, in-vessel composting system, an ultralightweight green roof plant growth medium, and a biogeochemical reactor to breakdown dioxins and PCBs. Past president of the Torrey Botanical Society & board member of the NYC Soil & Water Conservation District, he is also a past member of the Citywide Recyling Advisory Board and formerly chair of the Solid Waste Advisory Board of the Bronx. Dr. Mankiewicz has designed and built natural landscapes to provide ecosystems services including ecological filters to treat water, capture carbon, and lower energy costs in urban centers. A number of working models have been constructed, including the first green roof in the Bronx, the first industrial-scale stormwater treatment meadow and green wall on a six acre truck-to-barge material handling site at SIMS recycling facility on the Bronx River, and the first process water/greywater treatment green roof on the Linda Tool Corporation in Red Hook, Brooklyn, and the first ten of the Mayors PlaNYC 2030 enhanced tree pits for street-side storm water capture.

Discover A Sustainable Future, July 12!

Dearest Poopers, Please forgive my delay in updating the site of late. I've been deep in the Northwoods of Wisconsin traveling, camping, and pooping in holes. Meanwhile, there's so much excitement happening back in New York, with two POOP events coming up next week, and one special event I know you'll enjoy.

The POOPs!

1. Tues, 7/12, 6:30pm, "A Sustainable Future: Green Innovations." A panel conversation with Andrew Faust (Center for Bioregional Living), Paul S. Mankiewicz, Ph.D. (The Gaia Institute) and John McLaughlin (Bureau of Environmental Planning and Analysis, DEP). Hosted by the Visitor Center at Newtown Creek, and moderated by The Puru.

2. Sat, 7/16, 10am-4pm, City of Water Day Festival. Stop by the POOP table during this FREE day of entertainment, education & adventure on Governor's Island celebrating the potential of our NYC/NJ waterfront!

The Special Event!

3. Wed, 7/13, 7-10pm, Panoply Performancy Forum XIV at BOB the Pavilion.  Featuring theatre, music and dance at a composting toilet and inflated platform on the Columbia University campus.

DETAILS!!

1.

Click the picture above to see the full flyer, or click HERE to get complete directions to the Visitor Center at Newtown Creek.

2.

July 16: City of Water Day Festival in NY & NJ From the upper Hudson to Raritan Bay, we are a City of Water. Spread the word and come to the waterfront on July 16, City of Water Day! On this day, the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance gathers many partners to showcase the potential of the New York/New Jersey Harbor. Come, enjoy, and help us revitalize the waterfront with this annual, one-of-a-kind festival for the entire family!

This year, festivities will take place at Governors Island and Liberty State Park. Free ferries will get you to Governors Island from Manhattan and Brooklyn (click here for the schedules) and to Liberty State Park. (Click here for the schedule of free transportation between Governors Island and Liberty State Park, and here for information about other ways to get to Liberty State Park.)

FESTIVAL HIGHLIGHTS

  • FREE boat tours for thousands on historic and educational vessels. Click here for more information
  • FREE kayaking, rowing and fishing opportunities
  • Dozens of FREE arts, crafts, games and activities for kids
  • FREE ferries between Governors Island & Liberty State Park
  • An amazing range of demonstrations, hands-on projects, free merchandise and water-related literature at the Waterfront Activity Fair--INCLUDING THE POOP PROJECT TABLE!
  • Car-free waterfront bicycling
  • Delicious food from award-winning vendors
  • Live music, and much more!!!

If you can't make it to Liberty State Park or Governors Island on July 16, enjoy City of Water Day festivities at other waterfronts around the metropolitan region, including Harlem River Park, Brooklyn Bridge Park, Staten Island, Bronx River Park, Battery Park City and Hudson River Park. Click here for information about City of Water Day in Your Neighborhood.

3.

PERFORMANCY FORUM XIV organized by PPL AT BOB THE PAVILION

Wednesday, July 13, 7-10:00 PM

TESS DWORMAN performing an intimate, solo dance piece

PAUL PINTO AND JEFFREY YOUNG (OF THINGNY) performing a mini opera tentatively entitled Jeffrey Young and Paul Pinto Run for Office with the Help of Paul Pinto as his Wingman.

ANYA LIFTIG * performance art * performance art *

BEN SPATZ/MAXIMILIAN BALDUZZI/URBAN RESEARCH THEATER 

MATTHEW STEPHEN SMITH an excerpt from A Gathering of Very Articulate Individuals 

CHRISTY WALSH performing her I had a dream of an endless string of beautiful days in the desert, a dance/video work

and

PPL composer BRIAN MCCORKLE, performing an excerpt from the work-in-progress Institute_Institut concert-style with MEGAN COOPER, GREG LOEWER JR, DANIELLA FISCHETTI, AND MATTHEW STEPHEN SMITH

Bob the Pavilion is a composting toilet and inflated platform for performance and more http://www.bobthepavilion.com/

Bob The Pavilion was supported by a grant from Columbia University School of the Arts (SOA) and Graduate School of Architecture, Preservation, and Planning (GSAPP).

--

Very much looking forward to seeing everyone there and wishing you, as always, peaceful pooping.

Shawn "The Puru" Shafner

Frack No!

Dearest Poopers,

Thank you so much to Mitch Waxman, Kate Zidar, and all the concerned, inquisitive citizens who came out last night to the Visitor Center at Newtown Creek for our panel conversation. Newtown Creek has certainly had a troubled past and a murky present, but with all of us on her side, the future is looking brighter.

For those who couldn't make it out--no worries! You still have one more chance to get in on the conversation: Tuesday, July 12, 6:30pm. Featuring Andrew Faust (Center for Bioregional Living), Paul S. Mackiewicz, Ph.D. (The Gaia Institute) and John McLaughlin (Bureau of Environmental Planning and Analysis, DEP) discussing "A Sustainable Future: Green Innovations". Save that date!

Now, as a proud pooper, I'm normally a fan of gas. I love especially that what comes out of our hineys (and that of cows, chickens, etc.) can be turned into the fuel that powers our homes. Regardless of where it comes from, we can all agree that methane ("natural gas") plays an important role in our energy future. Hydraulic fracturing (or "fracking"), however, is a highly controversial way to get it, and one that has the potential to poison the pristine drinking water that 8 million New Yorkers depend on. You know, unless you want you tap water to be flammable, as in this promo for the Academy Award nominated documentary Gasland.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UrnnQ17SH_A

So please join me tomorrow from 1-3pm for an important rally promoting a New York ban on hydraulic fracturing (I'll be volunteering with United for Action), or join any one of the many rallies happening in the tristate area during this June 25 Regional Day of Action. Wear your best blues, and be a part of the sea change sweeping our fair city!

With presenters Josh Fox (Director of Gasland, the Movie), Wenonah Hauter (Food & Water Watch), Scott Stringer (Manhattan Borough President), Tony Avella (NY State Senator), Reverend Billy and the Earthalujah Gospel Choir, and MORE!

For more information, visit the No Frack NY Coalition website, or click on the image below.

Looking forward to seeing you there and, as always, peaceful pooping.

Shawn "The Puru" Shafner