Shit: Our world of toilets - the toilets of our world

Maybe the most important call for innovation in our shared world

The toilet

Sometimes things we use every day can seem very unlikely places for innovation. Learn how new and creative innovations of the toilet can make an important and surprisingly vast difference in health and nutrition.

I have for some years been very interested in toilets. My interest began in 1981 during my first travel to Asia, especially India.

Today, about a billion people worldwide face the health risk of defecating in the open. The lack of clean and safe school toilets leads to higher dropout among girls once they reach puberty. Diarrhoeal diseases – a direct result of poor sanitation – claim more children every year than AIDS, malaria and measles combined.

I had fun collecting some nice videos about this topic. I hope you will enjoy them and join me in the quest for better toilets for our world.

Brian Arbogast is the Gates Foundation’s Director of Water, Sanitation & Hygiene Team Global Development Program. He is working on a technology that could lead to the greatest improvements in health and longevity in the developing world. That life-changing technology?
The toilet. He’ll share exciting new designs, some already in use, helping to reduce cholera, typhoid, and more. A toilet that needs no water, no plumbing, and creates an end product that can be used in gardens? It is closer to reality than you think. February 2016 (16 min)
Jack Sim asks the provocative question: what would it take to mobilise our society and see social change in this sorely neglected issue, and what can we do about it?Toilet sanitation begs for open discourse and social awareness in its global implications on health, education and safety.
Widely known as Mr Toilet, Jack Sim broke the global taboo of toilet and sanitation by bringing the agenda to global media centre-stage.  In 1998 he founded the Restroom Association of Singapore and the World Toilet Organization (WTO) in 2001, a global network and service platform for toilet associations to promote sound sanitation and public health policies. WTO declared November 19th as World Toilet Day which has now been adopted as Official UN World Toilet Day. In 2004 Mr Sim was awarded the Singapore Green Plan Award for his contribution to the environment. He is also an Ashoka Global Fellow and Schwab Fellow of the World Economic Forum. Time Magazine named him Hero of the Environment in 2008. And he is a fun and inspiring speaker. July 2015 (24 min)
Mark Balla's simple and personal story is beautifully expressed from a guy who just wanted to do the right thing. Mark discovered something that could at the very least change people's lives when he started an organisation called
"We Can't Wait'.
Mark served as a board member for a company in India. During one of the frequent trips that he made from his home in Melbourne he unravelled an issue too large to ignore. Girls after puberty did not come to school because there were no toilets. Some years later Mark discovered that the best job he has ever had doesn't pay a cent but may just save lives. Maj 2015 (14 min)
Eric Brown, a Microbiology and Immunology graduate student at UBC, talks about a little known disease called environmental enteropathy. This is where accumulation of "bad" gut microbes spread in unsanitary environments can cause malnutrition. His talk exposes some misconceptions people have about malnutrition, the ultimate importance of sanitation and hygiene, and bring forward new ideas on how to tackle the problem. January 2013 (16 min)
Raj explains how our dry composting toilet system works in Sadhana Forest, Auroville, India. April 2014 (4 min)
Sangita Vyas shares the unheared and little understood reality of open defecation in India. Its a well known fact that most of the open defecation in the world happens in India, social scientists and the government were struggling to understand why? Is it because we don't have enough toilets? Is it because we don't have enough money? The enormity of the problem was getting worse, 300,000 children lose their lives to preventable diseases related to sanitation and open defecation and most rural children face physical and mental stunting.
The answer as Sangita found in her country wide survey - is counter intuitive and very surprising. Listen to her talk to know the surprising truth of open defecation in India. July 2015 (15 min)
And finally if you like great fun that is at the same time very enlightening How much do you know about the world? Hans Rosling, with his famous charts of global population, health and income data (and an extra-extra-long pointer), demonstrates that you have a high statistical chance of being quite wrong about what you think you know. Play along with his audience quiz — then, from Hans’ son Ola, learn 4 ways to quickly get less ignorant. September 2014 (19 min)
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