13 results for author: SOIL Visitor


The SOIL Weather Station: Data from Year One

Photo: Gavin McNicol SOIL’s Northern Haiti Composting Site Almanac [Read Background on Dr. Rebecca Ryals & Gavin McNicol's Research Here] Temperature Haiti sits at just about 19 °N of the equator, giving it a hot tropical climate, and, as anybody that lives in Haiti can tell you, this year was no exception. Mean annual temperatures for Mouchinèt, where SOIL’s composting site is located, were 25.9 °C (78.6 °F) and monthly average temperatures ranged from 20.2 °C (68.4 °F) at night in January to 31.2 °C (88.2 °F) during the day in August. Temperatures reached an annual high of 36.1 °C (97.0 °F) at 12:19 PM on September ...

Monitoring Meteorology in One of the World’s Most Climate-Vulnerable Nations

Photo: Gavin McNicol A little over a year ago SOIL collaborated with scientists Rebecca Ryals (University of California, Merced) and Gavin McNicol (University of Alaska Southeast) to install a weather station at our composting facility near the northern city of Cap-Haïtien. Why a Weather Station? First, we wanted to see if local weather conditions influence the amount of greenhouse gases that are emitted during the composting process, which has been the primary focus of Becca and Gavin’s research with SOIL. We also wanted to start building a climate record for northern Haiti, a meteorologically dynamic region with sparsely available data. ...

Capturing the Conditions of a Microbial Revolution

The latest research SOIL is conducting, in continued collaboration with the University of Hawai’i, is assessing how the thermophilic phase of the composting process facilitates the transformation of dangerous waste into safe and nutrient-rich compost. After months of careful preparation, UH Mãnoa ecologists Gavin McNicol and Dr. Rebecca Ryals visited SOIL’s composting site in Cap Haïtien to install sensors that will monitor key variables that affect the microbial life of a compost pile: temperature, oxygen availability, and moisture. The microbial transformation that occurs during the thermophilic composting phase is often delicate and ...

How We Perceive Waste Is Dependent Upon Our Mindsets

We often ask our visitors to guest write a blog post for the SOIL website to give our readers a chance to see how SOIL’s work looks from different perspectives. After spending a day dumping poop buckets, recent SOIL visitor, Benjamin Swift, had a lot to say about the concept of waste! I visited Haiti for the first time this spring and I am just beginning to get my feet wet in the ocean of complex issues that the country faces. Therefore getting a chance to stop by SOIL and see their work in action was a fascinating experience! I spent the first morning of my SOIL visit volunteering at SOIL’s composting waste treatment facility near Cap-Haitien. ...

Compost & Climate Research Interns (Stajye Klima ak Konpòs)

Gavin, Junior, and Darline model the adapted buckets used as chamber bases for quantifying greenhouse gas emissions from the compost piles. Stajye Klim ak Konpòs: Introducing SOIL’s first Climate and Compost Research Fellows! Every day, SOIL is showing that ecological sanitation (EcoSan) can provide an impressive array of sustainability benefits. SOIL’s EcoSan model provides dignified sanitation, removes harmful pathogens from the environment, and recycles waste into nutrient-rich compost. Recently, scientists have also started evaluating whether ecological sanitation could be a way to combat climate change, as well. There are a few key ...

Guest Post: The EcoSan Frontier

The following guest post is by Tucker Cahill Chambers, who took the above photo of SOIL's waste treatment site in northern Haiti, where Tucker spent time with SOIL last week. Here is what Tucker has to say about the experience: I first encountered ecological sanitation in a little town in the south of France, where I lived on a ecological family farm for a year. An off-the-grid cattle and mule farm atop a windswept and water-scarce plateau, the family made every effort to consume conscientiously and close resource loops wherever possible. Naturally, we used dry toilets and composted the humanure. The more I learned about the ecological benefits of ...

Disinfecting Urine and Being “Claire Twa”

Hello! My name is Claire or, as I was known around the office, “Claire Twa” (meaning Claire Three), since there were two other women named Claire working there at the time. I am a Master of Public Health student in Environmental Health at Emory University, and I worked with SOIL this summer to study various inexpensive and easy ways to disinfect urine before disposal. I tested the addition of different levels of ashes, vinegar, and Clorox since these three materials are accessible and inexpensive. SOIL’s style of Ecological Sanitation (the safe re-use of the nutrients in human waste) utilizes a urine diversion toilet which separates the ...

OAEC Guest Blog: The SOIL Permaculture Design Process

The SOIL Permaculture Design Process After touring the SOIL collection and processing sites around Cap-Haitien, we arrived at the SOIL office, farm, and associated KOMOP farm properties (KOMOP is a farm collective of SOIL staff members whose name is a combination of Komite = Committee and Opòtinite = Opportunity). SOIL recently completed the construction of their beautiful new office complex and were ready to move to the next phase of succession towards integrating the building into their surrounding property and creating a comprehensive demonstration site. SOIL’S new office This is the site where we facilitated SOIL staff through a ...

OAEC Guest Blog: SOIL Cap-Haitien

We arrived by bus in Cap-Haitien, the second largest city in Haiti located on the north shore. The bus ride was a 6-hour journey in which the bus barreled on and off paved and dirt roads, around donkeys, along cliff sides, and avoided tanker trucks on hair pin turns on steep mountain passes – very bonding with my Haitian seat neighbors! The countryside changed radically from one watershed divide to the next – arid yucca and cactus covered hillsides to banana-coconut-palm tropical food forests. We were warmly greeted by two of the SOIL Cap-Haitien staff, Monika Roy, Project Coordinator, and Theo Huitema, Regional Director, who scooped us up at the ...

OAEC Guest Blog: Symphony of "Konpòs" with SOIL

Today’s work was to visit the SOIL composting site at the city dump in Twitye to learn about the specifics of the humanure handling and thermophilic composting practices. The SOIL Twitye compost facility is located at the city dump. The company who run the dump lost its contract about 4 month ago. Since then chaos has ensued at the dump and around the SOIL compost facility. Mounds of rotting trash were deposited in haphazard spots and people without protective gear (many in flip flops, shorts and tanks tops and nothing else) sort through the putrid heaps for metal. The heat, humidity, dust, muck, animals and smell was overwhelming to walk ...