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{ "item_title" : "Pipe Dreams", "item_author" : [" Chelsea Wald "], "item_description" : "Finalist for the 2022 NASW Science in Society Journalism Award Longlisted for the 2022 AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prize for Excellence in Science Books From an award-winning science journalist, a deeply researched, entertaining, and impassioned exploration of sanitation (Nature) and the future of the toilet--for fans of popular science bestsellers by Mary Roach. Most of us do not give much thought to the centerpiece of our bathrooms, but the toilet is an unexpected paradox. On the one hand, it is a modern miracle: a ubiquitous fixture in a vast sanitation system that has helped add decades to the human life span by reducing disease. On the other hand, the toilet is also a tragic failure: less than half of the world's population can access a toilet that safely manages body waste, including many right here in the United States. And it is inefficient, squandering clean water as well as the nutrients, energy, and information contained in the stuff we flush away. While we see radical technological change in almost every other aspect of our lives, we remain stuck in a sanitation status quo--in part because the topic of toilets is taboo. Fortunately, there's hope--and Pipe Dreams daringly profiles the growing army of sewage-savvy scientists, engineers, philanthropists, entrepreneurs, and activists worldwide who are overcoming their aversions and focusing their formidable skills on making toilets accessible and healthier for all. This potential revolution in sanitation has many benefits, including reducing inequalities, mitigating climate change and water scarcity, improving agriculture, and optimizing health. Author Chelsea Wald takes us on a wild world tour from a compost toilet project in Haiti, to a plant in the Netherlands that salvages used toilet paper from sewage, and shows us a toilet seat that can watch users' poop for signs of illness, among many other fascinating developments. Toilet humor is one thing, but toilet fact, as digested by skilled science writer Wald, is quite another... Pipe Dreams is] a highly informative, well-reasoned call to rethink the throne (Kirkus Reviews).", "item_img_path" : "https://covers2.booksamillion.com/covers/bam/1/98/211/621/1982116218_b.jpg", "price_data" : { "retail_price" : "27.00", "online_price" : "27.00", "our_price" : "27.00", "club_price" : "27.00", "savings_pct" : "0", "savings_amt" : "0.00", "club_savings_pct" : "0", "club_savings_amt" : "0.00", "discount_pct" : "10", "store_price" : "27.00" } }
Pipe Dreams|Chelsea Wald
Pipe Dreams : The Urgent Global Quest to Transform the Toilet
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Overview

Finalist for the 2022 NASW Science in Society Journalism Award
Longlisted for the 2022 AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prize for Excellence in Science Books

From an award-winning science journalist, a "deeply researched, entertaining, and impassioned exploration of sanitation" (Nature) and the future of the toilet--for fans of popular science bestsellers by Mary Roach.

Most of us do not give much thought to the centerpiece of our bathrooms, but the toilet is an unexpected paradox. On the one hand, it is a modern miracle: a ubiquitous fixture in a vast sanitation system that has helped add decades to the human life span by reducing disease. On the other hand, the toilet is also a tragic failure: less than half of the world's population can access a toilet that safely manages body waste, including many right here in the United States. And it is inefficient, squandering clean water as well as the nutrients, energy, and information contained in the stuff we flush away. While we see radical technological change in almost every other aspect of our lives, we remain stuck in a sanitation status quo--in part because the topic of toilets is taboo.

Fortunately, there's hope--and Pipe Dreams daringly profiles the growing army of sewage-savvy scientists, engineers, philanthropists, entrepreneurs, and activists worldwide who are overcoming their aversions and focusing their formidable skills on making toilets accessible and healthier for all.

This potential revolution in sanitation has many benefits, including reducing inequalities, mitigating climate change and water scarcity, improving agriculture, and optimizing health. Author Chelsea Wald takes us on a wild world tour from a compost toilet project in Haiti, to a plant in the Netherlands that salvages used toilet paper from sewage, and shows us a toilet seat that can watch users' poop for signs of illness, among many other fascinating developments.

"Toilet humor is one thing, but toilet fact, as digested by skilled science writer Wald, is quite another... Pipe Dreams is] a highly informative, well-reasoned call to rethink the throne" (Kirkus Reviews).

This item is Non-Returnable

  • ISBN-13: 9781982116217
  • ISBN-10: 1982116218
  • Publisher: Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster
  • Publish Date: April 2021
  • Dimensions: 9.1 x 6 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Page Count: 304

Pipe Dreams

When your subject is the humble but essential toilet, bathroom humor is unavoidable. So expect a few potty jokes in Chelsea Wald’s very interesting Pipe Dreams: The Urgent Global Quest to Transform the Toilet. Late in the book, Wald actually explores why people from many cultures use humor to mask their squeamishness or outright disgust at the thought of human excretions. And then she points out that during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, the news was full of stories about store shelves emptied of toilet paper. We don’t want to think about it, and yet we cannot avoid thinking about it.

So why an urgent quest to transform the toilet? Well, the gold standard of sanitation—a toilet connected to a sewer system connected to a waste treatment plant and then usually to some large body of water to carry away the effluviants—may now be fool’s gold. In our urge to rid ourselves of unpleasant materials, we flush all kinds of inappropriate things down the drain. Because of this, much of our once gleaming sanitation infrastructure is on deferred maintenance, heading for collapse.

Should drought-stricken California make massive repairs to a system that uses fresh water in this way? And what about the Netherlands, where Wald now lives, and where a quarter of the country is underwater and half is merely three feet above sea level? Wald tells us that the average human produces about 100 pounds of solid waste and 140 gallons of urine per year. Put that in your calculator and multiply it by the human population. Meanwhile, roughly half of that population has no access to safe sanitation.

Much of Wald’s book is a sort of travelogue, wherein she talks to innovators in sanitation science and witnesses contemporary and historical attempts to bring best practices to human health. Her view is that, in our wide and varied world, one solution does not fit all, but we all deserve a sanitary environment.