Feces. Excrement. Stool. Poo. Caca. Its name changes but not most people’s reaction to it. Poo is something we ignore or treat with disdain. It repels us. It’s kept behind closed doors and never mentioned in polite company. But in its new issue, Shit. A survival guide, COLORS looks straight down the pan, exploring the truths behind the taboo, and the reasons why we should start to take shit seriously.
In Japan toilets have undergone a major growth in less than a century: thanks to heated toilet seats and a built in bidet the `Toto´ has become a popular product.
But, today some two-thirds of the world’s population have no toilet or latrine. They relieve themselves at the roadside or in fields, contaminating water sources and food. Over 90% of diarrhea is caused by the contamination of food, water, or fingers with shit, and although diarrhea is just a banal intestinal virus for those with a toilet, every year it kills more people than AIDS, malaria and TB combined.
South African toilets
Feces is a weapon of mass destruction and a nightmare of biological pollution, but it is also a fuel and a fertiliser. It can heat, feed, cure. It’s the world’s most underrated resource, and it can save lives. In Butare prison in Rwanda, the inmates’ shit is treated and turned into biogas, which is then used to cook their meals.
The toilets in Christchurch, New Zealand, became unserviceable when an earthquake hit the city in 2011. But the inhabitants got around the problem with a bucket, a pit in the garden and a few sparks of creativity. The resulting `Do It Yourself´ toilets became a symbol of local pride. Take a look at what they created: Show us your longrop
DIY toilets + manual
This issue of COLORS was inspired by The Big Necessity (published in the UK by Portobello Books in 2008 and translated into Italian, Dutch, Spanish, Swedish, Korean, Chinese, Japanese and Arabic), a book by the British writer and journalist, Rose George, a former COLORS senior editor.
COLORS 82 - Shit is on sale from October 2011 in four bilingual editions (English + Italian, French, Spanish or Korean).
It is also purchasable online here.