Bill Gates: Getting The World's Shit Together
When Steve Jobs died, many people heralded him during his passing in an almost reverent way, and yet during his life he did a few things that weren't what I would call cool. (I understand why outsourcing happens, but I do not understand why any company president would ignore that employees from his outsourced plants were being horrendously abused. I think this was completely inexcusable.) Bill Gates has also participated in actions over the years that I do not agree with, such as violating antitrust law. But Bill Gates has redeemed himself in my eyes. Over the years, I have come to view Gates as a throwback of industry, a present-day Andrew Carnegie: a man who made an empire with means that were not completely kosher, but then used the empire to change the world for the better. We at Poop Report have a friend in Bill Gates.
What is he worried about these days? Poop and world sanitation. Gates, who has also spoken out about attempting to find a cure for malaria, has set his sights on issues higher than many of the corrupt CEOs of our time. He recognized that 2.6 billion of the people on our planet do not have access to sanitation, and this, in turn, is killing men, women, and children daily... children especially. Of the 2.6 billion people in our world with nowhere to pee or poop but out in the open, over one billion of them are children. And one of them dies every twenty seconds. Yes, every twenty seconds. By the time you finish reading this article and (hopefully) viewing the video at its end, five to eight children will have died because they did not have access to proper sanitation or clean water.
Gates has a plan. With a contest already in the works, and grants given to scientists and colleges, he is seeking to do "something that hasn't been done for centuries: reinventing the toilet." According to an article that posted today on ABC news by Donna Gordon Blankenship, new ideas have been plopping up already. One that caught my eye was a design to use black soldier fly larvae to eat poop. This design is being tested in Cape Town, Africa, as we speak, one of the places in our world where poor sanitation exists. The scientists who developed this particular method of cheap sanitation state the end result of the flies is actually an animal feed. (We will surely report on this topic later this week.)
Gates expects new designs for a working toilet within the next three years and has already set aside 370 million dollars for reaching that goal.
Following is a video that runs for about one minute and thirty seconds from his blog about what he hopes to accomplish. The video is a bit overrun with cute references to shit, but in this way it allows for a transition to links directly below the video, ones which I have included here:
Extra links from the Gates' blog: You can read more about Bill and Melinda Gates' concerns about water, sanitation, and hygiene at this page from the Gates Foundation website. You can also read a nicely illustrated article about the world sanitation issue here, written by Co.Exist editor Morgan Clendaniel.
(Original picture by Girl.)