The Other Dark Matter | Podium Audio

The Other Dark Matter

By: Lina Zeldovich

Performed by: Donna Postel

Released: November 09, 2021

Language: English

Format: Single Narration

Duration: 10 hr, 9 min

Grossly ambitious and rooted in scientific scholarship, The Other Dark Matter shows how human excrement can be a life-saving, money-making resource—if we make better use of it.

The average person produces about four hundred pounds of excrement a year. More than seven billion people live on this planet. Holy crap!

Because of the diseases it spreads, we have learned to distance ourselves from our waste, but the long line of engineering marvels we’ve created to do so—from Roman sewage systems and medieval latrines to the immense, computerized treatment plants we use today—has also done considerable damage to the earth’s ecology. Now scientists tell us: we’ve been wasting our waste. When recycled correctly, this resource, cheap and widely available, can be converted into a sustainable energy source, act as an organic fertilizer, provide effective medicinal therapy for antibiotic-resistant bacterial infection, and much more.

In clear and engaging prose that draws on her extensive research and interviews, Lina Zeldovich documents the massive redistribution of nutrients and sanitation inequities across the globe. She profiles the pioneers of poop upcycling, from startups in African villages to innovators in American cities that convert sewage into fertilizer, biogas, crude oil, and even life-saving medicine. She breaks taboos surrounding sewage disposal and shows how hygienic waste repurposing can help battle climate change, reduce acid rain, and eliminate toxic algal blooms. Ultimately, she implores us to use our innate organic power for the greater good. Don’t just sit there and let it go to waste.

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Author:

Lina Zeldovich

Lina Zeldovich grew up in a family of Russian scientists listening to stories about volcanoes and black holes while eating dinners from her family’s organic orchard. As a child, she watched her grandfather fertilize garden patches with cow manure and composted sewage, and thought that the whole world did the same. Now a prominent journalist, editor and Columbia J-School alumna, she has written a myriad of science, health and sustainability stories for major publications in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, including The New York Times, Reader’s Digest, Smithsonian, Scientific American, The Atlantic, Newsweek, BBC, and NPR, among others, and has appeared on radio and television. After winning two awards for stories on sustainability and four for covering the science of poo, she decided to fully immerse herself in the subject, investigating novel solutions to the world’s oldest problem—keeping humans free from their own waste. When she isn’t digging into sewage recycling in Canada, India or Madagascar, she lives in New York City and keeps a compost pile in her backyard.

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