The Happiness Quotient

#91 - Shrink Wrap for Crap: Diana Yousef CEO and Founder of change:WATER Labs

August 02, 2021 Thom Pollard Episode 91
The Happiness Quotient
#91 - Shrink Wrap for Crap: Diana Yousef CEO and Founder of change:WATER Labs
Chapters
The Happiness Quotient
#91 - Shrink Wrap for Crap: Diana Yousef CEO and Founder of change:WATER Labs
Aug 02, 2021 Episode 91
Thom Pollard

It never ceases to amaze me in the way people are brought into your life - today’s guest I discovered when I began researching the garbage and human waste problem on Mount Everest and the KHUMBU region of Nepal - 

In Episode #90 and in a recent streaming event about the garbage and human waste problem on Everest I discussed how Everest has been referred to as the HIGHEST GARBAGE DUMP ON THE PLANET.   

Among the many guests on the program I spoke with entrepreneur and businesswoman Diana Yousef of CHANGE WATER Labs, a new company based in Cambridge, Massachusetts working to help the human waste problems affecting much of the world’s population. Consider this: HALF OF THE WORLD’S POPULATION has no running water or flush toilets. Change Water Labs has developed an incredible toilet called the I-Throne, which removes the water content from human waste…change:WATER Labs a low-cost, compact, waterless toilet for non-sewered households and communities.

CHANGE WATER Labs’ Mission To Develop & Deploy Safer, Smarter, More Dignified Sanitation. Globally, 3 billion people lack safe toilet access, and 1Bn defecate openly. Chronic under-investment into sanitation infrastructure means people in many poor and vulnerable communities live with their sewage. With no toilets or pipes, there is no way to flush.

I spoke with founder and  CEO  Diana Yousef about their work, and posited if it might be a viable option on Mount Everest….

If you’d like to learn more about Diana Yousef and the I-Throne, visit 

https://www.change-water.com/


Please share this episode with anyone THAT MIGHT FIND THESE WORDS INSPIRING or helpful or educational.

I RELY ON THE KINDNESS OF MY LISTENERS ----YOU ------

TO SHARE and to Subscribe to The Happiness Quotient on Apple Podcasts 

Please CLICK SOME STARS AND LEAVE A REVIEW.

=====================

I'd like to thank Oliver and Chris Wood, Jano Ricks and The Wood Brothers management, as well as their publicist Kevin Calabro for granting us the rights to use HAPPINESS JONES for our theme music. We are deeply honored. 

Find The Wood Brothers at: 
https://www.thewoodbros.com/

The Wood Brothers on YouTube:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTvWKQovDZlLceuct1EEMMQ

Happiness Jones video can be seen here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LKIoiVWwF5A

For more about Thom Dharma Pollard, about personal coaching or his inspirational presentations, virtual or in person, look for him at eyesopenproductions.com

To join his mailing list for A Course In Happiness, email him at [email protected]

Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/thehappinessquotient)

Show Notes Transcript

It never ceases to amaze me in the way people are brought into your life - today’s guest I discovered when I began researching the garbage and human waste problem on Mount Everest and the KHUMBU region of Nepal - 

In Episode #90 and in a recent streaming event about the garbage and human waste problem on Everest I discussed how Everest has been referred to as the HIGHEST GARBAGE DUMP ON THE PLANET.   

Among the many guests on the program I spoke with entrepreneur and businesswoman Diana Yousef of CHANGE WATER Labs, a new company based in Cambridge, Massachusetts working to help the human waste problems affecting much of the world’s population. Consider this: HALF OF THE WORLD’S POPULATION has no running water or flush toilets. Change Water Labs has developed an incredible toilet called the I-Throne, which removes the water content from human waste…change:WATER Labs a low-cost, compact, waterless toilet for non-sewered households and communities.

CHANGE WATER Labs’ Mission To Develop & Deploy Safer, Smarter, More Dignified Sanitation. Globally, 3 billion people lack safe toilet access, and 1Bn defecate openly. Chronic under-investment into sanitation infrastructure means people in many poor and vulnerable communities live with their sewage. With no toilets or pipes, there is no way to flush.

I spoke with founder and  CEO  Diana Yousef about their work, and posited if it might be a viable option on Mount Everest….

If you’d like to learn more about Diana Yousef and the I-Throne, visit 

https://www.change-water.com/


Please share this episode with anyone THAT MIGHT FIND THESE WORDS INSPIRING or helpful or educational.

I RELY ON THE KINDNESS OF MY LISTENERS ----YOU ------

TO SHARE and to Subscribe to The Happiness Quotient on Apple Podcasts 

Please CLICK SOME STARS AND LEAVE A REVIEW.

=====================

I'd like to thank Oliver and Chris Wood, Jano Ricks and The Wood Brothers management, as well as their publicist Kevin Calabro for granting us the rights to use HAPPINESS JONES for our theme music. We are deeply honored. 

Find The Wood Brothers at: 
https://www.thewoodbros.com/

The Wood Brothers on YouTube:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTvWKQovDZlLceuct1EEMMQ

Happiness Jones video can be seen here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LKIoiVWwF5A

For more about Thom Dharma Pollard, about personal coaching or his inspirational presentations, virtual or in person, look for him at eyesopenproductions.com

To join his mailing list for A Course In Happiness, email him at [email protected]

Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/thehappinessquotient)

Thom Pollard:

This is the happiness quotient. It never ceases to amaze me in the way people are brought into your life. Today's guest I discovered when I began researching the garbage and human waste problems on Mount Everest in in the Khumbu region of Nepal. In Episode Number 90, and in a recent streaming event about the garbage and human waste problem on Everest, I discussed how Everest has been referred to as the highest garbage dump on the planet. Among the several guests on the program, I spoke with entrepreneur and businesswoman Diana Yousef of change water labs, a new company based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, working to help the human waste problems affecting much of the world's population. Consider this, half of the world's population has no running water or flush toilets. Change water labs has developed an incredible toilet called the I throw, which removes the water content from human waste. Change water labs has developed a low cost compact waterless toilet for non Seward households, and communities. Change water labs mission is to develop and deploy safer, smarter, more dignified sanitation. Globally, 3 billion people lack safe toilet access, and 1 billion defecate openly chronic underinvestment into sanitation infrastructure means people in many poor and vulnerable communities live with their sewage with no toilets, or pipes. There is no way to flush. I spoke with founder and CEO Diana Youssef about their work and positive, if it might be a viable option on Mount Everest. Here's my conversation with Diana Yousef of change water labs. This, this isn't a problem unique to Mount Everest, probably the unique aspect of it is that the people there, most of them have a lot of money in it, relatively speaking. And it's pretty, it's kind of sad that this problem hasn't been dealt with and fixed. And it might be you could blame it on the government, perhaps. But that's kind of lame. So, um, I thought maybe I could ask you in making that connection. Tell me a little bit about your organization and how it got started. And then maybe we can draw distinctions to Mount Everest,

Diana Yousef:

right? It's funny, first of all, regarding Mount Everest, I mean, a couple of years ago, somebody was saying, oh, wouldn't that be a great like, sort of project to get visibility to what you were doing? If you figured out a partner to do this on Everest? So, I mean, we did you know, at the time, we were still head down in the lab. So there wasn't really a thought of that. But just it's funny that, you know, this isn't the first time I've heard about the issue. So yeah, so I have to say that the idea started in a venue that is much higher than Everest. So, um, I, back in 2009, I was consulting to NASA, on ideas around recycling water for the space station. So because they also have a problem with, you know, resources on the space station. And you know, you can't throw things out and you can't turn on the faucet and expect more water to come out, you only have the water that you bring up with you. And so I was looking at a portfolio of ideas with them around recycling water on the space station. And one idea that was mentioned kind of in passing, and they mean, like they didn't really do much with it was oh, you know, could could breathable materials. So these are the materials that we kind of know, like, similar to, you know, dry fit, you know, like the stuff that you have in your, you know, high tech sports where that keeps you dry while you're working out, can we use breathable materials as a way to passively separate water away from contaminants or away from waste. And in doing that, you know, you you're essentially pulling out the molecular water leaving the waste behind, and then you can take that molecular water and use it again and again, because it's it, you know, it's really just pure water. And so I kind of, you know, it just caught my attention. I was like, you know, this is, I mean, I come from a background of, kind of kind of a hodgepodge. But one of the things that's been a driver for Mi is trying to solve trying to use science and technology as a way to solve problems in developing countries. And maybe the reason for that is because my parents are immigrants from a developing country, and specifically, they're from the Middle East, and water is sort of top priority in the Middle East. So I guess it's not a big surprise that I kept thinking about, what are we going to do with water? And so, you know, as a scientist makes sense, to me that, you know, trying to find a low energy way to treat water or to get rid of wastewater would be a really good thing to do, especially in places that are low resource, like developing countries. And, and, you know, I sort of made the connection like, yes, the space station is the ultimate off grid location, but there are plenty of off grid locations here on Earth, and couldn't we use this as a low energy, low cost way to essentially deal with, with dirty water, essentially. And so, so yeah, so back in 2013, I finally kind of just, you know, decided, you know, I'm going to drop everything else and start working on trying to figure this out. And I didn't have a technology at the time, I didn't have anything at the time, just as half baked idea. And, but over time, you know, just was able to garner the resources and the team and the champions. And, you know, initially that's was the that was, the other thing was that, you know, when it when we first when I first I mean, I'm a scientist by background, so, you know, I look at waste, and I see, it's, it's, you know, it's a mix of things, but 95% of human waste is, is water. And, you know, if you pull out that water, you shrink the problem down to something much more manageable, something much safer, something much lower cost to deal with. And so I just kept thinking of this as like, there's got to be a way that we can help solve this problem by subtracting the waterpark. And, initially, you know, people said, That's not a thing. And I'm like, it has to be a thing, if 95% of what we're dealing with is water. And the big problem is, you can't flush it away. And if you have to carry it around to get rid of it, that just can't be easy, and it can't be pleasant. And, you know, it must be really costly. I just figured, you know, if we just take the water part out, then all of that becomes much easier. And better yet, you take the water out, and you put it back in nature in its cleanest form, you know, this becomes a much more sustainable solution. So, it was initially, you know, poo pooed. Not to not to, you know, I guess we're not gonna avoid any, that wasn't meant to be a toilet fun, but that was Yeah. But it was initially dismissed as kind of like, you know, you know, that's not, that's not a thing. But now, when I talk about it, people are like, duh, of course, you know, if you can't flush it, shrink it. And so, um, so that's what we've been, you know, that's kind of what we worked on. That's what we work towards. And we're starting to work on deployments in some of these places that don't have any, you know, waste removal infrastructure or water infrastructure. And so I'm sorry.

Thom Pollard:

course.

Diana Yousef:

I thought I turned off my phone. You can edit that out, right. Oh, that's sorry. I

Thom Pollard:

didn't get relief

Diana Yousef:

in here. Oh, okay. It was Yeah. Brings on my telephone. I mean, Oh, my God. Anyway, backing up. So yeah, so. So that's what we've been working on. Um, and, you know, of course, trying, you know, you know, it, it's, it's a really obvious use case, to put this in remote areas where, you know, you're trying to protect a really pristine, natural ecosystem, especially one that starts to, you know, become more traffic with human beings. So, I think, yeah, I think, you know, it's, it's close to our heart, you know, to, you know, and also toilets are a way that you can essentially, deliver huge social impact and huge environmental impact, you know, with just one intervention.

Thom Pollard:

Yeah, so in on the website, I thought that was it's really, it's great website and you know, talks about some great stats in there that are that are sad, but 40% of the world lacks access to save sanitation actually.

Diana Yousef:

50% is really the sort of the latest numbers out of I think it was the Gates Foundation that put it out. Half of us, half of us don't have access to safe Mantis sanitation?

Thom Pollard:

Yeah, it's a shocking number. And I think we're mildly aware of that someone like me, the first time I ever, you know, encountered that directly was I suppose some of the early trips I took into Nepal and Pakistan and, and places like that on climbing trips, and you'd stop and you'd stay out near a village or something. And, and they would have, you know, where you would use as the restroom, but it was basically a plywood board and a hole in it. And it was shocking. And in a way, I thought, wow, this is this is not sustainable. And and then of course, you leave, and you're on to the next village. And it's like, Okay, well, the problems gone, technically, I suppose, for that individual. And, you know, but, but when I was in Annapurna back in 1993, or 92, I believe it was I was offered a drink from a gentleman who was managing a small little hut there in the base camp, and he handed a glass to me, and to be polite, I accepted. And I was like, Oh, this is not going to be good. And I took a drink out of the glass, and I saw a drip of water on it. And I not only got sick, I got cholera. Yeah. And, and it was like, I know now why so many people die. Yeah, that disease. We have a kit loaded with drugs. Yeah, now we're just these rich Westerners. Yeah, relative term that that is, but I was better in, you know, 48 hours or less, actually. Um, so the problem is, is not an esoteric one. It's it's dramatic. People are dying around the world because of this problem. Can you tell me a little bit about the implementation? I believe it's in one refugee camp that you're putting this to work? And how is that working now?

Diana Yousef:

Yeah, so actually, it's a refugee hosting community. So we hard to get into refugee camps. We were sponsored on a grant was called humanitarian Grand Challenges grant. It was funded by a consortium of I think the US USA ID, the British Development Agency differed, and the Dutch foreign ministry and administered by a Canadian organization called Grand Challenges Canada, and it was pretty generous grant that got us from essentially lab to pilot. And we chose we had some partnerships building up in a in a community in Uganda district called Shu Boga, which is kind of i think it's it's, I mean, it's one of the adjacent districts to where I guess Kampala is. It's a, you know, it's a poor part of Uganda, where the place where we deployed was, basically, I think the population was probably about 40% Rwandan refugees. So in Uganda is a big, big, big host, a big host country for refugees, I think like 1% of the population are refugees from all the African countries that have had all the conflicts, and the ongoing conflicts on that border of Uganda. So, so we were, and we were essentially hosted on the ground of a hospital. And, you know, basically, you know, many people in this community do not have, you know, toilets in their homes. And there isn't proper water and flushing infrastructure. And this hospital, you know, was a, we were actually, mostly we were, we were hosted next to the neonatal unit, which kind of initially terrified me how close we were to a bunch of postpartum moms and tiny infants, because I wasn't sure it would work, to be honest with you. But it's, you know, these women travel, you know, having been pregnant, they travel and, you know, go into labor and, you know, they have to somehow they and their families have to somehow figure out how to house themselves and host themselves and manage themselves in a place that's not near their home. And the bathrooms are, you know, they were pit latrines, you walk up the hill, you know, up behind the hospital, and you Yeah, and they were pit latrines and on pleasant, dirty, you know, not convenient to get to, you know, placed at a distance from the hospital for a good reason. And we We're trying, we always were trying to solve the problem of how do you put toilets closer to where people live in a way that doesn't, you know, stick in them or bother them. So it doesn't smell doesn't leak. And that was the target. And so when we to weave in March, or February, March of 2020, we, my team landed in in Chico, Uganda, to essentially deploy our first I thrown toilets, that's what it's called an iPhone. And we were, so we were deploying it on the grounds of the hospital, my team actually stayed there until the toilet was working. So we went through a couple of, you know, on the ground on site iterations to improve, you know, what we sent just to make sure we left behind something that would work. Also, the other reason was because I wasn't sure I could, you know, at that time in the startup, I did not have a lot of money in the bank account, wasn't sure if I could afford the return ticket. They didn't know that. But luckily, we got the toilets working before, March 13, of 2020, which is when we had to evacuate everybody, because flights from countries into the US were shutting down. So that was exciting. It was insane. Yeah. And so we left the toilets behind. And, you know, unfortunately, we wanted to run a three month pilot, and then be able to go back. But, you know, obviously, that wasn't possible. So we ended up running a three week pilot. So it ran for a couple of weeks after we left, but what we were able to demonstrate was that we had you know, 400 users using it, they're all women and girls, all universally felt it was a dignified, positive, clean experience. So it was really something that they appreciated from the feedback that we got, and it kept the waist, you know, hygienically contained. So there wasn't any leak, you know, outside, it also didn't smell like the you know, if there was a smell that came out of the toilet was really more of like a farney earthy smell. So you really wasn't unpleasant. And it proved out, the kind of operational point was that we were seeing six to 10 times volume reduction of the waste on site. So it's essentially, you know, quote unquote, flushing it away by evaporating the liquid content or the water content. So and really what that translates into from a operations and an economic standpoint is you know, you have less waste, you're actually converting a lot of that waste back into clean molecular water. And you're reducing the frequency, the energy and the cost of having to collect the onsite waste, because normally, if you don't do anything with that volume, it either stays there and you know, poisons the community, and the ecosystem, or if you have to collect it, it, you know, really starts to become unpleasant, you have to collect it quite frequently. So and that's just, you know, these communities that are really start with an under an investment in infrastructure aren't going to be able to bear the ongoing costs. So that was kind of what we were targeting was, you know, how do you bring the costs in line? And also do something where you're creating a more sustainable solution? And so are you know, we, we kind of call it the green toilet? The throne is the green toilet, it's saves money in the planet. Yeah, because it also doesn't use water to

Thom Pollard:

Yeah, incredible. So can you just for just kind of create a visual, if somebody was even closing their eyes, and there was no design or graphics on the wall? How does it work?

Diana Yousef:

Okay. So, the overall structure is basically a box that, you know, you can either sit on or squat over. And inside of the box are two evaporative bags. And these evaporative bags are made out of a membrane material that we invented, called, what we call it shrink wrap for crap. And so we're gonna have got to have a very, very, very good visual. So yeah, so basically solid waste goes in one of the bags, liquid waste goes in the other bag. And then this material essentially swells by absorbing the water content from the waste and so we are in is almost 100%. Water. feces. Actually, raw feces is surprisingly, you know, a 75 to 85% water. So, so it basically pulls the water into the membrane, and then the membrane quote unquote, sweat So that water comes out on the other side. So everything else the state stays inside the bag, but the water comes out, and it comes out and you don't see it because it's it, you're pulling out molecular water, by definition, molecular water is gas. So if you, you know, what you would notice is, you know, if you have like a humidity reader around, you know, on the outside of the toilet, you would notice the humidity going up. And so essentially, the the throne, pulls out the water and releases it to the air as clean, pure molecular water vapor.

Thom Pollard:

Wow. Yeah. And so if how many people for how long can use it?

Diana Yousef:

Yeah, it's designed to do to have 30 to 50 uses per day for four weeks. And initially, when we were sort of, you know, when we thought we were going to start with a household toilet, we Specht it that way. Because you know, if you assume a household is six to 10 people, and you want to that, that ends up being, you know, a healthy person with a proper diet will go to the bathroom five times a day. So, so that's where we got the 30 to 50 uses target. And then we wanted to reduce the servicing frequency to something between two and four weeks, so that you know it really because, you know, again, the comparable is is container based toilets, that gets serviced every one to two days. And it's just not scalable cost, you know, it's it's, it's cost prohibitive in a lot of these places. It's just yeah, and, yeah, it's very, it's very difficult to maintain, you know, current options around container based toilets.

Thom Pollard:

Yeah, so, is there, Have you even found if there's an actual cost to this right now, like, so if somebody said, I want to buy one of those, could they do it or

Diana Yousef:

right now, we are not set up to do that. We, but what we plan to do is work with partners in the different markets to then, you know, have them be the, you know, sort of distribution, I mean, we'll sell the bags, but the toilets themselves will be sold by our partners in the regions, because it's really hard for us from the United States to ship a bunch of these heavy boxes, you know, they're, they're not big. I mean, they're, you know, cut like, you know, the dimensions on them are, you know, I'd say, like, I'm looking at my filing cabinet, which is my IKEA filing cabinets, probably, like, if you let lay that on its side, probably, you know, three, three stack tide, maybe one and a half stack wide. So it's not huge. Yeah, but it's, um, but yeah, it's, it's a it's not, it's, it's bulky. And so right now, the distribution mode, I mean, so we're not at the point where we're commercially available, we are planning that in the next 12 months. And initially, you know, for us as a startup, the best way to sell these this through businesses, and you know, who can install them, service them, manufacture them, distribute them, and also then sell to government, governments and NGOs. So who can purchase in bulk? You know, eventually, I think we do want to do something like a we actually have a design for a camping version of this that we call the Ico. Drone, the Ico and that's a smaller version that probably will go for like a consumer market, but we're not we've had such kind of aggressive pent up demand for the, you know, the toilet that, you know, gets installed into homes into institutions into transportation equipment into porta potties that we Yeah, we're not able to work on the go right now to get it to completion. But couple years, so, two years, maybe.

Thom Pollard:

So is there like, in literal terms, though, if if let's just say somebody wanted, like, just said, Could you give me a prototype? Right, by and I'm going to break and test it on Mount Everest? Like, you could? And I don't know if you can say a number, but

Diana Yousef:

I Yeah, I think so. The cost to me right now to make it is not at scale, right? So it's about you know, so we're right now, it would, it would cost me three to five times to make it as what we would, you know, charge for it. So, I mean, we're, we're looking at, you know, a couple $100 for the toilet. And then, you know, once it's at scale, so but if somebody wants to, you know, if an organization wants to buy it, right now, when we're not at scale, probably, you know, probably three to 5x on that just to cover our costs, but I think Think? Ah, yeah. So but yeah, it's not meant to be expensive. I mean, we, you know, we always, we always, I mean, it's also not, you know, the the sort of Vi thrown is isn't necessarily we weren't targeting a, like a consumer, you know, like sales, retail Really? Generally that's, you know, most of, you know, hardware appliances and household, like, you know, plumbing type things don't get sold that way. Yeah. So, um, but, so yeah, so I mean, I think, you know, like, if you're saying, oh, you're planning on charging a couple $100 to poor people, or, you know, to buy a toilet that that was really the idea?

Thom Pollard:

No, not at all, for

Diana Yousef:

sure. Um, you know, and it's tough. I mean, as a business, we have to be kind of practical about how we get it to the market, you know, in a scalable way. But, but yeah, I think it's, but it's also we wanted to keep the discipline of of not having something complex, it doesn't have a lot of moving parts, you know, we wanted, we we sort of, were always had the, the the reality check of, we're trying to design something for a low resource context. So you can't assume plug in into plumbing into power, you can't assume that people like, I mean, you have to keep the cost low, you know, not only the operational costs, but also the, the upfront cost has to be relatively low. And so when we look at comparable toilets, that are sort of having, you know, similar performance, you know, we see, you know, the the costs end up, you know, we end up being four to five times less in terms of cost. So, um, yeah, and it's, it's really just meant to be us, you know, it's, it's really the technology allows us to create something simple, because it's, it's really, we're, we're leveraging material science as a way to do all the work.

Thom Pollard:

Right, right. Yeah. Yeah, that's, that's really encouraging that things like this are happening, you know, on a place like Mount Everest, where Yeah, the majority of the people come from privileged backgrounds. And you know, a lot of the people work there, I will say, aren't, so they, but they make decent wages during the time of those expeditions, right, one of the programs that has been discussed is a bio gas probe, kind of building that they were going to build, to replace what the system is. Now as it goes, there's these big 5060 gallon drums that get carried out a couple of hours away and dug and poured into a pit, near a tiny little village that I don't believe is, I don't believe people live there in the winter, it's like 1017 16,000 feet, in elevation. But it's got to end and the crowds on Everest in Nepal are only increasing. So this something of this nature is encouraging what you're working on, because the bio gas program is is going to cost upwards of a half a million dollars. People just aren't motivated to give a lot of money. Yeah, they gave 100 bucks. Now, that's something but yeah, you know, 600, now you're gonna have somebody really want to believe in that, and then put the time in and build it and maintain it. So perhaps, perhaps there's some, you know, if you have a prototype or wanted to see how that worked on Mount Everest, I, I know a lot of people expedition organism organizers who might be interested, in least, you know, doing a little case study for Yeah, for sure. Interesting.

Diana Yousef:

Yeah, we'd love that. I mean, I think, you know, again, you know, we, you know, sometimes people are like, Oh, are you a, you know, are you targeting sustainability impact? Are you trying, like, you know, environmental impact? are you targeting social impact? And I can never answer that question one way or the other. I don't see them as I see them as as completely linked, I mean, especially, you know, climate change and environmental, you know, degradation, it impacts, you know, these low resource communities, most, you know, you know, it has the most impact on on these low resource communities. And, you know, for us, like being able to, you know, be part of an effort to uplift, you know, people, you know, the the people in that region, as well as, you know, maintain such a, you know, a global treasure would be really i mean that that's sort of why we started I mean there are there are a couple of motivations, you know that that sort of, I mean for you to get to the, to the point where you decide like you're going to give up everything else you did in your life or that you're doing in your life to work on toilets, you have to have a couple of motivations, and you have to be really compelled by it. Yeah, crazy. I'm probably not in high demand for your, you know, other job opportunities. And then on top of that, no, but I think also, like, I have three daughters. And I think, you know, every day I'm thinking about what kind of a planet we're leaving for them. But I'm also thinking about, you know, and you didn't ask this. But, you know, another another motivation for us was, you know, how do you create more gender parity, in a lot of these low resource communities, and poor sanitation has such a huge impact disproportionately on girls and women, and, you know, in terms of their safety, in terms of their dignity, in terms of their privacy, in terms of their health, in terms of, you know, girls access to education. And then on top of that, there's, you know, just the fact that, you know, what we do for sanitation, right now, is hugely destructive to the planet, even in developed countries, I mean, you know, we output on a given day, you know, what, like a leader of a liter bottle of Coke, cokes worth of waste. And, you know, we often are using basically, a bathtubs worth of clean water, just to flush it away, just to move it. And that's just not sustainable. So if you're trying to get the other half of the world on to dignified proper clean sanitation, it's not going to be flush toilets, and it's not going to be flush toilets for the rest of us for long. You know, I'm, I'll fully admit, I'm not ready to part with my flush toilet and replace it with an eye thrown in my own house. So maybe I'm the biggest hypocrite of all. But I will say that, at some point, you know, it's not happening for all of us, like we are, you know, the infrastructure is crumbling, there isn't enough clean water. And then on top of that raw wet sewage, spits out 4% of methane emissions. So it's actually you know, for talking about dealing with climate change, dealing with our sanitation issue in a way that cuts off methane emissions is going to be key. So and it's an ignored problem, because nobody knows how to measure it. So yeah, all of these problems are just like, really, if you can't measure it, and water, water, issues around water, water sustainability, wastewater wastewater treatment, you know, all of that is just much harder to measure, then, you know, really any other kind of waste, because it flows, it blends with clean resources. It's local, but it's global. I mean, this might be sort of a very abstract way to explain it. But you know, when we were trying to figure out how to measure the environmental impact of what we were proposing to do, you just can't, it's really hard to find the numbers. And it's, and it doesn't mean that the impact doesn't exist. I mean, I'm a biochemist, by training, I understand what happens when you add water to microbes and, and waste, you know, what kind of reaction you get, and one of them is, is you generate methane? And, and so, you know, there's, there's definitely this invisible contributor to climate change. And, you know, we got to do something about it.

Thom Pollard:

Wow, that's, that's really fantastic. I, I hope that we can continue to, you know, talk, yeah, you'd share it. Because, you know, I think there are a couple of challenges probably on Mount Everest. One is it gets really cold at night. Yeah, that probably changes things a little bit, but, but it gets really hot during the day, too. So, you know, there's, there's still ways to try to solve that problem. And, and we all know what the resources of some of the people who are on Mount Everest are. Really, you know, there's some very wealthy people up there. And I, you know, in terms of this, this idea, I would love to, I don't even know if this is a possibility, but maybe someday, I don't know if you have a facility or where this is made, but maybe come down and interview and say, Hey, so here it is. This is this is the membrane, this is how it works. And here's how we make it even though you might that might be proprietary, I film all sorts of stuff.

Diana Yousef:

No, we did. We can, we can do a demo. Not Not now, because we're moving and also like the only functioning toilets right now are in Uganda. But you know, so and we're, it's so crazy because we're really just starting to get back into our prototyping space. And the The rules everywhere are crazy. Like one of the places where we have prototyping space, you have to like, even if you're vaccinated, you have to take a COVID you have to prove a negative, like a negative COVID test within, you know, like in order to get back into that space. So we're now splitting ourselves to another space and, and you know, all the rules around how do you get back to work and working with people in a shared space, it's like, so we're navigating that, but we're really excited because we're, you know, we're within the month, we're going to be building the next version of the Iron Throne. And this is in collaboration with partners in Panama. And the idea is to get waterless safe clean sanitation, improved sanitation, to indigenous communities in Panama that live beyond the reaches of infrastructure. So we're potentially targeting 150,000 households, or more than 600,000 people who have never had a toilet and they live up in the mountains. And so we're actually going to be doing some, you know, in the mountains, so you know, maybe maybe that might be maybe, maybe you can join me down there when I go to take a look.

Thom Pollard:

All right. I'm serious. I would love that. Well, that's just false. Okay, well, yeah, let's we'll be in touch. I mean that and I do from the bottom of my heart because I'm I'm always game for an adventure. If you'd like to learn more about Diana Youssef and the Iron Throne, visit change water labs website at change dash water.com. Thank you, Diana, I look forward to visiting your labs in the very near future in happy

Unknown:

mass suffering.

Thom Pollard:

Appreciate you share this episode with anyone that might find these words inspiring or helpful or educational or informational. I rely on the kindness of my listeners. That's you to share and to subscribe to the happiness quotient on Apple podcasts or wherever you may listen. And please while you're at it, click some stars and leave me a review. That is the only way I get out there.

Unknown:

My answers came driving myself insane.

Thom Pollard:

Thank you to the wood brothers for their gracious permission for the use of fair song happiness Jones came to join my mailing list. You can email me at Thom.Dharma.pollar @gmail.com. If you'd like a free pdf download of a course in hap iness, go to patreon.com slash he happiness quotient where ou'll find a free colorf l issue replete with advent re photography. We'll be back n xt time with another excell nt interview on the happin ss quotient. Thank you for vi iting. I will see you all real s on.

The Wood Brothers:

MUSIC we all got it, happiness jones.....