Saturday 29 May 2010


"In former times, alchemists tried to turn ordinary materials into gold. Modern society is inclined to laugh at the very idea, but is itself based on something foolish; to take pristine natural resources and turn them into pollution. It is a kind of alchemy in reverse."
Peter Harper & Dave Thorpe

The picture shows my reverse reverse alchemy installation. It takes waste and turns it into compost. In permaculture this is called linking: taking the output of one process as the input of another. I didn't want to use artificial fertilizer, since nitrogen fixation takes a lot of energy, and peak phosphate has been projected to occur around 2030. And I also didn't want to buy compost, as I "don't believe in impoverishing one part of the Earth in order to enrich another"+. So I built this outhouse out of scrap wood. It's a great place to watch the birds in the hedge and to think globally, act locally.

+Michael & Julia Guerra in: Patrick Whitefield (2004) The Earth care manual

1 comment:

  1. Great quotation. Reverse reverse alchemy is the way to go. (o: Cheers, Andy