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Earth Water Alliance

Earth Water Alliance is an organization of dowsers, shamans, and intuitives who believe the world will be better served when organizations and people are working together with universal knowing and intuition with recognition of our oneness and interdependence by promoting health in our waters, food, and lives.  

Earth Water Alliance, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, creates and advances alliances that support our sacred relationship with the Earth. We promote sacred ecology and environmental sustainability throughout the world. Together we can change our world.

‘The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.’ 

Albert Einstein

Together We Can Make A Difference In the Lives Of Millions

America’s Western Joshua Tree is Now Endangered

The western Joshua tree has historical and regional value to communities in the western United States where Joshua trees have existed for over 2 million years. But, their future is uncertain. Their long-term survival has been challenged by a number of climate-related issues. The trees are only found in desert conditions and most of them are in the  West and Southwest. Unfortunately, the range in which the trees can exist is rapidly shrinking.

California recently voted to permanently protect the otherworldly western Joshua tree, as the desert plant faces challenges caused by development and climate change. The iconic trees will be protected under the Western Joshua Tree Conservation Act that was recently passed. The act prohibits the unauthorized removal and killing of these plants. Those who are caught doing so will be fined, and the money collected will be “deposited into the Western Joshua Tree Conservation Fund” to further support protection efforts.

Western Joshua trees clearly qualify as threatened according to the Center for Biological Diversity.

Book recommendation: “The Giving Tree of the Desert: The tale of a saguaro cactus and its nurse tree” by Danielle Fradette  (Author), Tais Lemos  (Illustrator)

Joshua tree in desert with yucca cactus in foreground and mountain in background
Joshua Tree by Comstock Images

Film Festivals and Events

Together we can change our world

Voices of our Herbal Elders Podcasts—Guest Brooke Medicine Eagle. In these free podcasts, Herbalist Rosemary Gladstar invites various elders to share their wisdom. In the latest podcast she discusses ancient herbal wisdom with herbalist and musician Brooke Medicine Eagle. They discuss traditional indigenous practices, ancient wisdom and love, nature’s sanctuary and how the blend of modern and ancient knowledge can bring about transformative healing. Listen at Science and Art of Herbalism or on Apple or YouTube.


Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine offers a free 50 page Winter Seasonal Guide—Herbal Recipes & Remedies. The Guide discusses herbs for winter and provides recipes for teas, mulling spices, bread, oils and more. Get a copy at ChestnutHerbs

Organization of Nature Evolutionaries offers a free podcast with Rocio Alarcon, The Physical and Spiritual Intelligence of Plants. Rocio is a South American herbalist who has worked to preserve indigenous cultures and land in the Amazon and Andean community. Learn about plants such as quinoa, tomatoes, rice and beans and their spiritual and ancient cultural connection to people. Learn experiments that increased the quality of food by the way in which people behave around them and about food as medicine. Access the podcast at NatureEvolutionarires

Fantastic Fungi is a documentary about the amazing world of mushrooms. The vivid film discusses the beauty and intelligence of nature and the mycelial network. It is available on Prime, Netflix, YouTube TV, or you can rent it for a low fee at FantasticFungi

Heart Labrynth IMG_0213

Our Earth is in agony – Together we can change The future

Peace eludes us

All over the world, there is endless hatred, envy, jealousy, and violence. Nations are in social disaray, economic disparities threaten families and communities, people are treated inhumanely, and species are being driven to extinction. Our world is suffering.

Our planet is being destroyed as Earth’s ecosystems are exploited and treated with disdain and disregard. Many humans are being pushed beyond their ability to think clearly and compassionately. People, animals and plants that inhabit this earth with us deserve protection, preservation, and care. As humans, we have a special responsibility to protect our Earth and its environment for future generations. It is in our power to open our hearts more to each other with compassion in our interactions.

We must cultivate living in harmony with each other and nature.

Earth cannot be changed for the better unless the consciousness of individuals is changed first. With commitment and action, we still have an opportunity to build a just, peaceful, and caring world. But, we must have the courage to confront the reality of our actions and profoundly change our behaviour today. We must become passionate stewards of our planet.

Together We Can Change Our Future

We can do much more than we may think to reduce our stress and learn to live in harmony. As more of us commit to practicing kindness and cooperation, while reducing judgments and separation, we strengthen the heart’s intuition for solutions to personal and collective challenges. Together we can lift the collective spirit.

HeartMath Institute offers tools to enable people to better recognize and access their intuitive insight and heart intelligence. Their Gobal Coherence Iniative is a “science-based project to unite people in heart-focused love and intention, to facilitate the shift in global consciousness from instability and discord to compassionate care, cooperation and increasing peace.” They invite people around the world to participate in a worldwide Care Focus together. The HeartMath Institute offers a free monthly podcast of 30 minute episodes every 3rd Tuesday of the month here

The Parliament of the World’s Religions, an interfaith Convening Organization, envisions a world of peace, justice and sustainability. Their mission is “to cultivate harmony among the world’s religious and spiritual communities and foster their engagement with the world and its guiding institutions to address the critical issues of our time.” To this end, they have developed the five principles of a Global Ethic.

Global Ethic

  1. No new global order without a new global ethic!
  2. Every human being must be treated humanely.
  3. Commit to a set of irrevocable directives including: non-violence and respect for life, solidarity and a just economic order, tolerance and a life of truthfulness, equal rights and partnership between men and women, a culture of sustainability and care for the Earth.
  4. Work towards a transformation of consciousness.

All women and men, whether religious or not, are invited to endorse the Global Ethic here.

A Global Convention

In 2023, the 9th global convening of The Parliament of the World’s Religions will return to Chicago, USA, for the third time in its history, to celebrate 130 years of an enduring mission of justice, peace, and sustainability.

Chicago is reaffirming its commitment to its history as the birthplace of this movement and to the mission of the organization: to cultivate harmony among the world’s religious and spiritual communities and to foster their engagement with the world and its guiding institutions to address the critical issues of our time.

The 2023 Parliament of the World’s Religions will be hosted in McCormick Place Lakeside Center from August 14-18, 2023. More information available here

Closer to Home

Opportunities for yoga, tai-chi, meditation, group prayer, and other forms of heart-felt cohesion can be practiced at home, on-line, or with a local community group. Non-profit organizations welcome volunteers as they provide a variety of civic, humanitarian, social, and environmental services. Schools and workplaces offer occasions to build a just, caring, and peaceful world. Opportunities to develop and share heart-focused love and intention abound. Lets embrace each other with conscious recognition of our oneness. 

Together, We can Change the Future!

Earth inside Heart Hands

Celebrate and spread Heart Gratitude All year

Let’s give ourselves and others the gift of gratitude and love.

  • Focus your attention on the top of your head. Imagine a beam of bright, divine light and love from the universe shining down and entering through the area at the center of your head.
  • Breath this divine light and love thru your forehead, down thru your throat, and into your heart area.
  • Focus your attention on your heart and charge it with the energy of this divine, universal light and love.
  • Now radiate this loving energy out in the form of genuine gratitude.
  • Radiate gratitude thru your body, out to your arms and hands, thru your torso, into your legs and feet. Fill your entire body with divine, universal loving energy and gratitude.
  • Send this loving energy and gratitude into the earth, the soil, waters, roots and fungi. Spreading it around the world.
  • Now, radiate this gratitude to all people who are providing comfort and lifting the spirits of those feeling hopelessness.
  • Expand this gratitude to include compassion and care for all who are living in survival mode and suffering from disasters, hunger, war, and fear.
  • Next, imagine all of these people radiating gratitude to more and more people spreading loving energy throughout the world.
  • See people around the world awakening to love and compassion as they receive gratitude and loving energy.

Know that radiating our individual and collective love, gratitude, and compassion is making a significant difference.

Researchers at HeartMath Institute have found that gratitude causes a synchronized activation in the brain. It can make you feel happy and calm, lower stress and blood pressure, and boost immune system functions. We may not be able to change the world overnight, but our heartfelt gratitude and compassion can add proven effective benefits.

Let’s celebrate by giving ourselves and others the gift of heartfelt love and gratitude.

Updated 27 May 2023.


How to Build A Simple Box-Style Solar Cooker

A Box-Style Solar Cooker can be constructed in a few hours for very little money. Follow these instructions to build one.

You will need the following supplies

  • Two cardboard boxes. Use an inner box that is at least 38 cm (15 in) by 38 cm (15 in), but bigger is better. The outer box should be larger than the small box all around, but it doesn’t matter how much bigger, as long as there is 1.5 cm (0.6 in) or more of an airspace between the two boxes. The distance between the two boxes does not have to be equal all the way around. Also, keep in mind that it is very easy to adjust the size of a cardboard box by cutting and gluing it. Note that you can build the Easy Lid Cooker with a single cardboard box.

  • One sheet of cardboard to make the lid. This piece must be approximately 4 cm (1.6 in) to 8 cm (3.2 in) larger all the way around than the top of the finished cooker (the outer box).

  • One small roll of aluminum foil.

  • One can of flat-black spray paint (look for the words “non-toxic when dry”) or one small jar of black tempera paint. Or, you can make your own paint out of soot mixed with wheat paste.

  • At least 250 g (8 oz) of white glue or wheat paste.

  • A sheet of clear glass, acrylic, polycarbonate, or some other clear glazing (consider reusing old window glazing). An inexpensive cover can also be made from a turkey-size Reynolds Oven Cooking Bag®. (These are available in most supermarkets in the U.S.). They are rated for 204 °C (399 °F) so they are perfect for solar cooking. They are not UV resistant; thus they will become more brittle and opaque over time and may need to be replaced periodically. 

Build the Base

Fold the top flaps closed on the outer box and set the inner box on top; then trace a line around it onto the top of the outer box. Remove the inner box and cut along this line to form a hole in the top of the outer box (Figure 1).

Decide how deep you want your oven to be. It should be about 2.5 cm (1 in) deeper than your largest pot and about 2.5 cm (1 in) shorter than the outer box so that there will be a space between the bottoms of the boxes once the cooker is assembled. Using a knife, slit the corners of the inner box down to that height. Fold each side down forming extended flaps (Figure 2). Folding is smoother if you first draw a firm line from the end of one cut to the other where the folds are to go.

Glue aluminum foil to the inside of both boxes and also to the inside of the remaining top flaps of the outer box. Don’t bother being neat on the outer box, since it will never be seen, nor will it experience any wear. The inner box will be visible even after assembly, so if it matters to you, you might want to take more time here. Glue the top flaps closed on the outer box

Place some wads of crumpled newspaper into the outer box so that when you set the inner box down inside the hole in the outer box, the flaps on the inner box just touch the top of the outer box (Figure 3). Glue these flaps onto the top of the outer box. Trim the excess flap length to be even with the perimeter of the outer box.


Finally, to make the drip pan, cut a piece of cardboard the same size as the bottom of the interior of the oven and apply foil to one side. Paint this foiled side black and allow it to dry. Put this in the oven so that it rests on the bottom of the inner box (black side up), and place your pots on it when cooking. The base is now finished.

Box Oven Construction, Figures 1-3

Build the Removable Lid

Take the large sheet of cardboard and lay it on top of the base. Trace its outline and then cut about 7.5 cm (3 in) beyond the outline.  Fold down the edges on the outline marking to form the lid edges. Fold the corner flaps around and glue to the side lid flaps (Figure 4). One trick you can use to make the lid fit well is to lay the pencil or pen against the side of the box when marking (Figure 5).

Orient the corrugations so that they go from left to right as you face the oven so that later the prop may be inserted into the corrugations (Figure 6).  

Don’t glue this lid to the box; you’ll need to remove it to move pots in and out of the oven

To make the reflector flap, draw a line on the lid, forming a rectangle the same size as the oven opening. Cut around three sides and fold the resulting flap up forming the reflector (Figure 6). Foil this flap on the inside.

Next, turn the lid upside down and glue the glazing material in place. If you are using the turkey size oven bag (47.5 cm x 58.5 cm, 19 in x 23 1/2 in), it can be applied as is, i.e., without opening it up. This makes a double layer of plastic. The two layers tend to separate from each other to form an airspace as the oven cooks. When using this method, it is important to also glue the bag closed on its open end. This stops water vapor from entering the bag and condensing. Alternately you can cut any size oven bag open to form a flat sheet large enough to cover the oven opening.

To make a prop, bend a 30 cm (12 in) piece of hanger wire as indicated in Figure 6. This can then be inserted into the corrugations as shown. Use one on each side of the lid for more support.

Box Oven Lid Construction, Figures 4-6

Improving Efficiency

The oven you have built should cook fine during most of the solar season. If you would like to improve the efficiency to be able to cook on more marginal days, you can modify your oven in any or all of the following ways

  • Paint the outside of the cooker black.

  • Make a new reflector the size of the entire lid (use it in place of the lid).

  • Make the drip pan using sheet metal, such as aluminum flashing. Paint this black and elevate this off the bottom of the oven slightly with small cardboard strips or wood blocks.


Completed Solar Box Oven


Additional Resources:

Why and How to Cook with a Solar Cooker by Earth Water Alliance.

How to Make a Copenhagen-Style Solar Panel Oven by Earth Water Alliance.

compost-heap-2-1524772 | B.B., freeImages

How to Reduce Waste by Building an Indoor Compost Bin

Yard and kitchen wastes represent approximately 30% of waste in the U.S. This waste stream can be composted to feed your garden. Whether you live in the country or a city, you can enjoy gardening and composting. Here’s how to build an indoor compost bin that will not only provide fertilizer but will actively engage you, your children, and even your friends if you choose.

Instructions for Making an Indoor Compost Bin

  1. Obtain an opaque plastic or wood bin with a lid. For a family of 1 to 2 people a 15 inch high by 18 inch wide by 24 inch long bin should be sufficient. A family of 4 to 6 people might need a 15 inch high by 24 inch wide by 42 inch long bin.
  2. Cut small (about 1/8 inch) holes in the lid  about 3 inches apart.
  3. Cut small holes in the sides of your opaque bin to let the worms breath. The holes should be approximately 4 inches from the bottom of the bin and about 3 inches apart,
  4. Obtain a second bin that the first one will fit inside with an air space at the bottom between the bins. The air holes in the first bin should not be covered by this second bin. This second bin can be clear or opaque. Do not cut holes in this bin. This bin will collect the worm fertilizer “poop” as it falls thru the holes in the bottom of the first bin.  
  5. In a separate container, prepare your bedding material by mixing carbon-producing materials like shredded newspaper, dry leaves, paper towels, and cardboard together. These are your “brown” materials. Make enough of this mix to fill the bin about 3/4 of the way. 
  6. Wet the brown material until it is about half damp but not thoroughly wet or soggy.
  7. Add a few handfuls of soil to the brown bedding material.
  8. To your bin, add a layer of “green” material such as vegetable and fruit scraps, grass, coffee grounds, etc. Do not add meat scraps. 
  9. Pour the brown bedding mix into the bin to cover the green layer.
  10. Add earthworms. The best kind of worms are  called red worms, red wigglers, or manure worms. For the smaller bin, add about 1 pound of worms. For the larger bin, add about 2 to 3 pounds.
  11. Place the bin in a location that is between 40 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  12. As food scraps or paper diminish, add new layers. You may stir the original layers to mix them before adding new layers.

Note, if you don’t use a second bottom bin, don’t cut holes in the bottom of the first bin. You don’t want your fertilizer or any liquid running out of the bottom of your container. 

Harvest your Fertilizer

After a few months or when it starts to build up, remove any compost from the bottom bin and use it for your garden.

If you didn’t use a second bottom bin, dig down under your brown layer and remove your compost after a 3 to 6 months when the worms will have done their job and the original bedding has disappeared. 

Indoor Composting Challenges and Solutions

If worms are escaping from the bin, analyze the bin to determine why they want to move out. Make sure the bin is not too hot or cold, too wet or dry, and is well ventilated. If the brown ingredients are too dry, they won’t decompose; and if they are too wet, the worms will be swimming and won’t be able to digest the greens.

If you notice fruit flies, make certain the greens are covered with the brown material. Fruit flies are attracted to rotting fruit but will not be attracted to fruit covered with brown materials, moist paper towels, or moist newspaper. You can also freeze any fruit scraps for a few days prior to adding it to your bin. Always bury any new green scraps well below the brown material.

If the bin develops a smell, it has too much nitrogen (green material). Add more brown material to balance the ratio. 

enjoy your free fertilizer and the fact that you have minimized your contribution to the waste stream!

Plastic bottle trash | nick-fewings–2lJGRIY5P0-unsplash

America Recycles – Facts and Tips for Everyday Recycling

America Recycles Day is November 15, 2021. It is the only nationally-recognized day dedicated to promoting and celebrating recycling in the U.S. Here are a few facts and tips for how to properly recycle in everyday life.

Aluminum and steel are infinitely recyclable.

    • Recycling aluminum saves more than 90% of the energy required to produce new aluminum products versus producing new metal from virgin ore.
    • Recycling steel cans saves nearly 74% of the energy used to produce it from raw materials (enough energy to power about 18 million homes for a full year).
    • Clean aluminum foil is recyclable.

Glass can be recycled over and over without any loss in purity or quality.

    • Recycled glass reduces emissions and comsumption of raw materials, extends the life of glass manufacturing equipment, such as furnaces, and saves energy.
    • Recycle only glass containers used for food and beverages. Other types of glass, such as window, ovenware, Pyrex, crystal, etc. are manufactured through a different process and are not recyclable.

Plastic Bottles and jugs labeled #1, 2, or 5 are 100% recyclable – even the caps

    • Making new bottles from recycle bottles uses 88% lesss energy than using virgin materials.
    • Recycled PET can be used to make new bottles, along with a range of other consumer products.

Paper, junk mail, magazines, newspaper, telephone books

    • Currently, about 45% of magazines and office paper are recovered for recycling; about 73% of newspapers in the U.S. are recycled.
    • Glossy paper can be recycled.
    • No paper plates, towels, or napkins
    • There are enough phone books created annually to circle the earth about 4.28 times.Recyling 500 phone books could save between 17 and 31 trees, 7,000 gallons of water, 463 gallons of oil, 587 pounds of air pollution, 3.06 cubic yards of landfill space, and 4,077 kWh of energy.
    • Reduce unwanted mail: use the opt-in or opt-out service at

Cardboard can be recycled

    • Currently, about 70% of cardboard is recycled
    • Recycled cardboard can become products like napkins, tissue paper, paper towels, paper, cereal boxes, more cardboard, and environmentally-friendly building and construction materials.

Plastic bags and film are recyclable in special receptacles

    • Return plastic bags and films to labeled receptacles, widely available at grocery and retail outlets.
    • Please do not put them in curbside bins as they jam the sorting equipment.

Electronics are recyclable at specific drop-off centers

    • Computers, tablets, and cell phones contain valuable precious metals such as gold, silver, platinum, palladium, copper, tin, and zinc that can be recovered and used to make jewelry, plating, new electronics, or automotive parts.
    • Do not place in curbside recycling bins; check your local recyling program for specific instructions.
    • Some businesses such as office supply stores offer electronics recycling.


    • All items must be empty, clean, and dry before placing them in your recycle container.
    • Do not bag or box recyclables; leave them loose in the bin.
    • No food, liquid, or plastic bags should be placed in the bin.
    • Recycled items should not have an odor (eg. sour milk).
    • Never recycle anything smaller than a credit card (it could jam the sorting equipment.
    • Check with your local recycling center to determine items accepted for recycling.

Prepare Disaster Plan and Emergency Supply Kit Now

What is Disaster Preparedness?

Disaster preparedness refers to measures taken in advance of a disaster to mitigate the impact and help with survival. Preparedness includes assessing your risk, creating an emergency management plan, assembling an emergency supply kit, creating a crisis communications plan, and planning for an alternate location.

Assess Your Risks

Based on a combination of experience, forecasting, subject matter expertise, and other available resources, develop a list of threats and hazards that could affect your family, business, or community. Threats and hazards can be organized into three categories:

  • Natural hazards: acts of nature
  • Technological hazards: accidents or the failures of systems and structures
  • Human-caused incidents: the intentional actions of an adversary

Assess the likelihood of an identified threat or hazard affecting the community and the challenge(s) presented by the impacts of that threat or hazard, should it occur. Examples include: earthquake, tornado,  hurricane/typhoon, tsunami/flooding, winter storm, fire, chemical leak, etc.

Prepare for transportation disruptions including mass transit delays/shutdowns, traffic jams, fuel shortages, etc.

Make and Practice Your Emergency Management Plan

With your family, household member, and/or coworkers, make a written plan to prepare and respond to the types of emergencies that are most likely to happen where you live, learn, and work. (See Resouces below for a Family Disaster Plan worksheet.)

Identify responsibilities for each member and discuss how you will work together as a team. Obtain any necessary training; examples include first aid, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), aquatic rescue, etc.

Practice as much of the plan as possible. 

Assemble your Emergency Supply Kit(s)

You may want to prepare several types of emergency supply kits – a vehicle kit, home kit, school kit, work kit. You may want a kit that provides for a few hours while you await assistance, 1 to 3 days, and a kit that provides for longer term survival in the event of a major disturbance. At a minimum your kit should include basic survival and first aid items that can be contained in a waterproof bag, can, or tube. The following lists can be used to help you prepare your kit(s). A good rule of thumb is to plan for at least 3 days for each person. If you feel like something is missing, explore that feeling paying attention to your intuition and add to your kit accordingly. If you are familiar with dowsing, dowse the list.

The right container for your kit will depend on many factors such as where you will be storing your kit, how many items your kit contains, the weight and size of your supplies. A quick grab and go pack might take the form of a backpack, canvas bag, 5 gallon bucket with lid, etc. A more substantial kit could be stored in a suitcase, plastic bin, or other similar item. Just be certain you will be able to lift or carry your kit when it is needed.

Basic Emergency Supply Kit Suggestions

  • Emergency drinking water pouch
  • Water, one gallon of water per person per day, for drinking and sanitation
  • Food – energy bars and emergency food items (see list below)
  • Prescription medications
  • Money including change
  • Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account information in a waterproof, portable container (see sources below)
  • Battery-powered radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert, and extra batteries for both
  • Light stick, flashlight and extra batteries, or portable lights
  • First aid kit
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags
  • Disinfectant – alcohol (70% if available),  chlorine bleach (diluted nine parts water to one part bleach)
  • Chlorine bleach can be used to treat water. Use 16 drops of regular household liquid bleach per gallon of water. Do not use scented, color safe or bleaches with added cleaners.
  • Mask to help filter the air – N95/KN95, surgical, dust, 2 layer cloth mask, bandana, or even a t-shirt (in order of filtration quality).
  • Plastic sheeting to shelter-in-place
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Gorilla/Duct tape (or other strong waterproof tape)
  • Knife, scissors
  • Can opener for food (if kit contains canned food)
  • Water filter in case drinking water is limited or unavailable
  • Poncho

Clothing and Bedding

One complete change of clothing and shoes per person. If you live in a cold weather climate, consider:

  • A jacket or coat
  • Long pants
  • A long sleeve shirt
  • Sturdy shoes
  • A hat and gloves
  • A sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person (other additional bedding)
  • Rain gear 
  • Hand warmers

Foods Ideas

  • Energy Bars
  • Dried beans, lentils, (can be sprouted and eaten cooked or raw)
  • White rice (it keeps longer than brown rice)
  • Grains & seeds (quinoa, millet, buckweat, amaranth, oats, sunflower)
  • Dried Potatoes
  • Dried Milk
  • Herbs/Spices (salt, pepper, creole/chili seasoning, parsley, oregano, dried onions/garlic, mustard powder, other spices you like)
  • Sugar/Honey
  • Cooking oil
  • Dried foods
  • Coffee
  • Canned foods/meats

Other Items to Consider

  • Computers, Cell Phones, Charging Cords/Plugs, Solar Chargers, etc.
  • Emergency reference materials such as a first aid book
  • Portable cook stove, cooking utensils
  • Solar oven
  • Water filtration kit
  • Mess kits, cups, plates and utensils
  • Paper towels
  • Fire Extinguisher
  • Tent
  • Compass
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • Signal flare
  • Paper, pencil
  • Personal hygiene items including feminine supplies
  • Medicine dropper
  • Books, games, puzzles, playing cards
  • Local/Other Maps

Develop a Communication Plan

Determine how family, friends, coworkers, etc. will communicate in the event of an emergency. Consider multiple forms of communication and multiple contact people including someone located in an area that might not be affected by your disaster. 

Identify a Meeting Location

If possible, determine a meeting location for people who may not be with you at the time of the evacuation. This location might be an evacuation site such as a family or friend’s home, a second home, a community site, etc. Consider a secondary site in the event the first site is detrimentally impacted or inaccessible. 

Review and Replenish

Review your plan periodically and replenish or replace your supplies as needed. And, consider reviewing and revising your plan after any disaster updating it with new knowledge and information.

Remember, if you sense something is missing from your plan or supply kit, pay attention. Universal knowledge is all knowing – we just need to tune in and listen!

Sources for additional information or Assistance

  • Search for open shelters by texting SHELTER and a zip Code to 43362 (4FEMA). Example: SHELTER 12345
  • U.S. Government:
  • American Red Cross’ Family Disaster Plan worksheet, English  or Spanish
  • Apps from the American Red Cross in the Apple Store or Google Play –  Emergency: Alerts (weather); Hurricane; Tornado; Earthquake; First Aid; Pet First Aid
  • International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, IFRC Shelter Kit Pamphlet
  • Enable Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs) on your mobile devices.
  • U.S. National Weather Service County Coverage Listings by State

How to Build a Simple Bucket Compost Toilet

Reasons for building a composting toilet

Traditional toilets use up to 5 gallons of water on a single flush whereas composting toilets need very little to no water.

Sewage treatment plants require significant infrastructure, operating expenditures, and energy to clean wastewater. Septic tanks are expensive and may not be possible depending on land conditions and environmental regulations.

A do-it-yourself composting toilet does not require any plumbing and is inexpensive to build. A composting toilet lets you dispose of your waste in the greenest possible way by turning it into compost that feeds your plants. 

A composting toilet is not an outhouse (latrine, privy). When properly built and utilized, it gives off no foul odors since the composting process is carried out by bacteria under aerobic conditions enhanced by the addition of carbon material.

The Design

Your composting toilet should be comfortable, especially if you plan to use it day after day. There are 2 key elements to consider – toilet height and the seat. A taller toilet may be easier to sit on comfortably and may facilitate standing up more easily. However, a lower, squatting position may assist with emptying your bowels. Find the ideal height for you. The seat is up to you. There are numerous designs that can be purchased or you can build your own if you are so inclined.

Your toilet will consist of a 5 gallon (20 liter) bucket that sits inside a wooden box with a toilet seat on it.  Next to the toilet, you will need a bin filled with sawdust or other material to be used to cover your waste (see below). Finally, you will need a compost heap or container for accumulating and composting your waste.

Building the toilet

To build a simple composting toilet with a plywood frame, you will need: plywood, four 2×4 wooden planks, screws, wood glue, drill, a five gallon (20 liter) bucket, toilet seat, optional urine separator with small container, and hinges and handles if using an alternative design.

Step 1 – Build the Box

Cut out six pieces of plywood for the top, bottom, and four sides of the box. (The dimensions depends on the size of your bucket plus the toilet seat, keeping your available space in mind.) Attach the pieces together using a pocket hole jig to make the box stronger and hide the screws, if desired. For now, keep the top section of your box loose so you can access the bucket.

Step 2 – Cut the Hole for the Seat

Cut a hole in the center of your top piece of plywood using your toilet seat as a template. Place the toilet seat on top of the plywood, open the lid, mark the inside circumference of the seat. Either make sure your waste bucket can be lifted thru the hole add a door to your box (see Alternative Design below). Start cutting by drilling a hole on the line to insert the jigsaw blade. Cut along the line to remove the center and then file off the rough edges finishing with the sandpaper for a smooth surface. 

Step 3 – Add the Urine Separator (optional)

Screw the urine separator to the front of the underside of the plywood lid. The urine separator channels the urine into a separate container in your bucket to keep the solid waste drier. Although vault systems benefit from urine separators, hot compost heaps require liquid and may become too dry slowing down the processing time. In addition, urine adds nitrogen which balances the carbon of the cover material.

Step 4 – Install the Toilet Seat

Place the toilet seat on the top of the hole you cut and attach securely. 

Step 5 – Add feet to your box

Although the box can set directly on the floor, adding feet will keep the box dry in the event the floor becomes wet. Place the 2×4 wooden planks at the four corners of the box bottom where it sets on the floor. Screw these in place. Check your box to make sure it is level and doesn’t wobble. If needed, add spacers between the feet and the box. 

Step 6 – Insert the bucket(s)

Place your 5 gallon (2 liter) bucket inside the box. If you added a urine separator, you will need to install a long, narrow container at the front of your box to accumulate the urine.

Step 7 – Attach the lid

Place the panel that contains your toilet seat on top and either screw it in place or add hinges to one side to form a door for removing the bucket.

Alternative Design

If you don’t want to lift the bucket thru the seat hole, you could add hinges and a handle to one of the panels to make a door that can be used to easily remove the bucket(s). Or, if the box is small enough and not too heavy, you could eliminate the bottom panel and lift the box off to remove the waste bucket.

Cover Material

To eliminate odor, it is necessary to cover your waste with a material such as sawdust (ideally hardwood but softwood works). The sawdust should be a little damp to make it more effective at absorbing odors. Be sure to add enough sawdust to cover the waste. A 1-to-1 ratio of human waste to cover material is generally recommended.

The Compost Heap

Your compost heap is where you will empty your waste bucket. Site it accordingly.

For best results, your compost heap should be inside a 3-1/2 ft by 4 ft bin or similar container. The container can be a wooden box with a door, a large barrel with a lid, or some other type of containment. If you live in a cold environment, you may need to insulate your bin to retain sufficient heat. You will need at least two compost heaps – one for active use and one for curing. A third container for storing cover material is also useful.

Once you have your bins, place a thick bed of organic matter such as straw or shredded cardboard on the bottom of the first bin. Now you can begin to fill it. Each time you add waste to the bin, cover it with a layer of carbon material (branches, stems, dried leaves, pine needles, peels, bits of wood, bark dust or sawdust pellets, shredded brown paper bags, corn stalks, coffee filters, coffee grounds, conifer needles, straw, peat moss, wood ash, etc.).

There is no need to turn or disturb the underlying heap.  Just add new waste to the center of the heap where it is the hottest. Dig a hole, add new waste, cover. If your heap starts to form a mound in the center, level it out and add more cover material if needed.

The ideal cover combination is something like a damp sawdust for soaking up liquids and adding nitrogen (the bulking agent) followed by a layer of straw or similar biodegradable matter capable of absorbing moisture while allowing rain through. The carbon-to-nitrogen ratio for composting human waste is about 30-to-13. 

One of the main functions of the cover material is to block odor. Your heap should never smell. If it does, add more cover material.

Once you have filled your first bin or barrel, stop using it and let it rest to cure. Move to the second bin/barrel and start the process all over again. 

Using your Finished Humanure Compost

Heat kills bacteria and parasites. Many people who plan to use their compost on food gardens, monitor the temperature of the heap to make certain it heats up sufficiently to destroy disease-causing organisms. Although heat may not guarantee that all bacteria and parasites are destroyed, time, exposure to sunlight, and competition with other microorganisms all contribute to produce compost that has the same level of pathogens as your normal garden soil. 

If you are uncertain about using your humanure compost on your food gardens, you may want to only use it around your trees and ornamental plantings.


Humanure Handbook by Joseph Jenkins
Lifting the Lid by Peter Harper and Louise Halestrap

What’s the Scoop About Composting and Why Compost Now? by DBrower, published March 28, 2021.

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