EcoEng Newsletter No. 11, October 2005

Dear Readers ...

Content No. 11/05
Title page / Index
From the editors
Faces: H.v.Bohemen
Review: EE Book
Overview, Etnier
Kirk et al.
Composting (ch. 4)
Fecal composting
Policy Finl, Mattila
Desert infrastruct.
Writers' Fund
Ecosan Durban 05
Good bye T. Rohrer
Various issues:
Joe's Corner
Mailing list

By Andreas Schoenborn-Schaller
EcoEng-Newsletter co-editor
armadillo media
PO Box 2116
CH-6002 Luzern

A personal message
Last August, my home town Lucerne experienced the biggest flood since 1910. After three days of heavy rain there were flash floods and mud avalanches in many parts of Central Switzerland. A few days later all the water reached Lucerne and its lake. You could watch the lake level rise slowly but steadily. Nothing could stop its creeping power until large parts of the old town were flooded. The photo shows the situation on August 23, 2005 on Lucerne's quay.

Just a few kilometres away, the situation was much more dangerous. Bridges were torn away. Railways and roads were interrupted. Some homesteads on steep hillsides were virtually washed down the hill. Natural gas, electricity, telephone, the internet went out of service, sometimes for weeks. Some people died, two of them while trying to help others.

That catastrophy (which was topped by Katrina, Rita and Stan just after it ...) again raised the question what climate change has to do with all this. I have no doubt that it has a lot to do with it. The sheer mass of water that fell here, the violence of the hurricanes a week later in Carribbean, are extraordinary and unexperienced to this extent.

Assuming that climate change is the driving force behind all this, we clearly need to expect more of this in the future - more violent storms, more heavy rainfall events, more droughts. The weather cannot be controlled, and probably never will be. The noble role of engineers (no matter if ecologically minded or not) can only be to find out smart ways to deal with the increased incidence of these events.

Which brings me to my question: Can Ecological Engineering offer better way for disaster prevention than other engineering disciplines?

Focus: NOWRA
Ecological Engineers can learn from taking part in organizations working with decentralized wastewater treatment, even when Ecological Engineering is not at the heart of their work. The National Onsite Wastewater Recycling Association (NOWRA) is a US-based organization that has been promoting decentralized wastewater treatment for over a decade. This issue of Eco-Eng takes a peek at some of the work presented in the NOWRA 2004 annual conference held in Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA, last October.
Our first advertiser
The ad you see on the title page of this newsletter is a premiere. Lloyd Rozema and Greg Rose from Aqua Treatment Technologies, Canada, decided on trying this option out. We editors say thank you to Lloyd and Greg and will keep a curious eye on the turnback for them. If you like this option, please do us a favour and click on the ad ;-)
Online Survey
We are very much interested to get your feedback on this issue of the EcoEng-Newsletter. Please take 15 minutes to fill out our Online Survey. The result will be used to focus more on your needs plus develop a strategy for improving this newsletters' basis in the future. Click here to take our Online Survey
Writers' Fund

Last December the IEES Writers' Fund has been launched. Apart from a number of informal requests, with one exception, we did not receive a serious proposal for an article. On the other hand, the Fund was not promoted very much and the size of it is also still rather small - 50 USD that were donated by one person.

The development of this newsletter depends on its relevance for you. Good language and good journalistic work are also cornerstones of this. With 50 US$ - almost a month's salary in many developing countries - you can help a local professional to do on-site (journalistic) research and write an article about it. E.g., on ecovillages, wetlands in tropical countries, aquacultures and how they can be combined with industry, biogas or permaculture issues, the performance and acceptance of Ecosan projects, the wastewater situation in a country, and and and ....

Please support this Newsletter by donating to our Writers' Fund. You can do this by using the PayPal button just below. In order to donate you either need to have a credit card or be a PayPal member.

  Apart from all these wishes and needs to you (advertise, fill out, donate ...!) I hope that you will find an inspiring set of different articles and ideas in this issue.

All the best from Lucerne (little downtown Switzerland)

Andreas Schoenborn-Schaller

© 2005, International Ecological Engineering Society, Wolhusen, Switzerland