Photo: Jeff Moser
“Cut the Crap”
If you have two ears, a pulse and have been living in or around Boulder, CO for more than a few hours, then you’ve caught wind of Patty and Jake Lawrence’s Petition to Cut the Crap: an appeal that Boulder County residents be required by law to compost their own human waste. The Lawrences, self-proclaimed “green avengers,” have been living in Boulder for over 50 years, and have been composting all of their household waste, and most notably, their own feces for almost as long.
The petition has been floating around since mid-January, perhaps you’ve signed it, perhaps you’ve cringed at the very thought. The new and exciting development in the Lawrences crusade to save the earth one BM at a time, is that they have succeeded with their petition (earning the signatures of nearly 65% of Boulder County citizens), and the law will be going into effect as early as May 1st.
“I’m not surprised by the receptiveness of the people,” says Patty Lawrence, “it’s easy, it reduces water waste and it isn’t even that gross.”
In February, the Lawrences were gracious enough to let a local news station film a tour of their fully solar-powered home in Boulder, to show how they go about their daily lives gardening their own vegetables, bathing in a metal washtub and doing their business in a plastic Fisher-Price kiddy toilet.
“The only thing we regret about our system is the plastic toilet,” Patty says during the tour. The couple also strives daily to reduce their usage of plastic, “We used to just go directly into the compost heap but, we’re starting to get old and it just always feels cold outside even when it’s really hot. We’d rather stay in, and the wooden toilet that we built was problematic for obvious reasons.”
“The bucket was getting uncomfortable,” adds Jake.
The Lawrences have both claimed, adamantly, that they are not the types to push their way of living onto anyone else. But they felt compelled to attempt making fecal composting a county-wide law after their neighbors had a baby, and began throwing out dozens and dozens of used diapers a week, creating piles of extraneous trash outside of their house.
“They could be using all of that poop to grow a garden. And that’s not even to mention how much non-disposable trash their creating by using ‘disposable’ diapers.”
(Jake and Patty Lawrence at home)
Patty’s distress over the situation led she and Jake to draw up a petition and appeal to the Boulder County Court. Congressman Larry Schnabel was intrigued by their proposal, and has been a strong proponent for their cause from the very beginning.
“Expect stock in cloth diapers and children’s potty training toilets to go up within the year,” Schnabel has been quoted, “I can see this becoming a nationwide Green Initiative project.”
It is also rumored that, due to the national attention that “Cut the Crap” has received over the past few months, many baby product companies are talking of manufacturing plastic potties in various sizes.
Despite all of these amazing developments in the Lawrence’s fight to “Cut the Crap,” they seem fairly un-phased by the potential of national success.
“We just think it’s important, on an individual level, to do everything you can to reduce your own negative effects on the planet. As much as people want to ignore it, this includes handling your own, human waste in a more mindful way. If you own a dog, you clean up their poop all the time.” says Patty, “We’re not being preachy, it’s just the right thing to do.”
René Cousineau was born and raised in Glenwood Springs, CO. She currently lives in Boulder and is a student of fiction writing and Russian literature. She spends her time reading, cleaning, hiking, dancing, and slinging cupcakes at a local bakery/coffee shop.