The Final Flush

After four inspiring days at the World Toilet Summit (WTS) in Philadelphia, I am finally back to Brooklyn.  My head is still reeling from almost four straight days of non-stop potty talk.

I enjoyed experts presenting and debating topics with names like "Advocacy and Potty Parity" or "Innovations in Global Toilet Design and Application Part I."  I hobnobbed with sanitation luminaries like Virginia Gardiner, creator of an amazing waterless, odor-free, energy-generating toilet called the Loowatt, as well as Trevor Mulaudzi, a social entrepreneur and prestigious Ashoka Fellow.  More commonly known as "Dr. Shit," Trevor's work cleaning up school toilets in South Africa actually keeps kids in school while creating employment opportunities.  Tom Keating alluded to The POOP Project in his event review, "Notes on the Aisle," and I even got to point the finger at Jack Sim, the self-proclaimed "Toiletman" who started it all.

As the WTS was only one part of this year's ASPE conference and massive product exposition (ASPE means American Society of Plumbing Engineers), a large number of educational programs catered to that crowd.  Because I was busy at the World Toilet sessions, I did have to miss out on no-doubt fascinating sessions like: "Roof Drain Design Considerations," "Medical Gas Sizing," or "Practical Engineering: NSF 61 and Booster Systems."  All smugness aside, I wish I could have sat in on environmental topics like "Rainwater Harvesting: A Sustainable Approach" or "Greywater System Design," both vital issues to creating environmentally sound sanitation systems in this country. (More about greywater on Wikipedia.)

As I unpack my suitcase, I find myself trying to mentally unpack the last few days.  I anticipate it won't be until I've typed up all the notes I foolishly wrote by hand, sort through the dozens of business cards I picked up, and eaten the Doritos I picked up on the showroom that I'll truly be able to take in all I've learned.  For now, I'd like to leave you with a moment of Zen...

The Puru at the World Toilet Summit

I just arrived for the World Toilet Summit, a conference with the goal to "nurture collaboration between government bodies, researchers, aid organizations and industry towards sanitation solutions for the 2.5 billion people without reasonable access to safe toilets." Since its inception ten years ago, the summit has been hosted in Singapore, India and even Ireland. This year it comes to Philadelphia as part of the American Society of Plumbing Engineers conference--a great way to get domestic business types interested in the approx. 1.4 billion people without sanitation who can afford it, but may not yet know that they wanted. Tonight I attended the welcome reception at the National Constitution Center, ate some cheese, danced, and added my signature to the Constitution. Tomorrow the real work begins at 8:00am with the "International Breakfast." Looking forward to keeping you all up to date as things progress...