If you weren't aware, Front Porch Republic is the Internet's premier proponent of localism. Bill Kauffman started it (with others, if memory serves). Though he doesn't make a lot of appearances there, the site is in the talented hands of Jeff Bilbro, who puts together an excellent weekly aggregate of localism pieces, "The Water Dipper."
This morning's feature attacks, of all things, the flush toilet. The author starts with praises from a handful of economists that I admire. He then responds.
The flush toilet is a wonderful vehicle for demonstrating how modernist solutions are exquisitely primed to turn assets into liabilities under the guise of progress while disconnecting us from the real implications of our actions. The solution creates new problems, which then require more innovation to solve, which in turn leads to new problems. Toilets flush away the nutrients needed to renew the fertility of the soil, in the process contaminating communities downstream. Even when we do understand the importance of closing the carbon cycle, the practice of spreading biosolids from wastewater treatment plants as fertilizer has led to the contamination of prime agricultural land with “forever” chemicals, including PFAS (per-and polyfluoroalkyl chemicals), which have been linked to a whole host of health problems. And, of course, flush toilets and sewage systems assume that communities have the financial resources and political stability to maintain them in good working order, which, given reports about the long-term success of humanitarian-aid sanitation projects, is a big if. NGOs boast about how many toilets they have installed but are much quieter when discussing how few are working a year later.
He then turns his sights on disposable diapers. It's worth reading.