Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Yellow is the new green

The Atlantic is one of those magazines that can be haughty and abstruce. Not the best source for information on homeless issues. But the new November issue has information of value to any rough sleeper who is an avid conservationist.

On its backpage "What's you problem?" feature the first question asked about the affect of urinating on plants. "I often relieve myself in the privacy of nature. But if I go several times in the same place, I notice that eventually all the vegetation in that spot dies. I thought I was making a healthy contribution to nature, but no ... What’s up? What’s the toxic ingredient in urine?"

Jeffrey Goldberg, writer of the feature, responded by first quoting Thoreau in Walden, "I have watered the red huckleberry, the sand cherry and the nettle tree, the red pine and the black ash, the white grape and the yellow violet, which might have withered else in dry seasons."

The bottomline? Goldberg tells us, "Your urine helps trees grow, as long as you water each one in moderation—urine’s high nitrogen content makes it dangerous when applied too liberally to a single plant."

An article in Treehugger provides more rationale for saving your bladderfull for plant friends: "Is Peeing in Public Green?"  A few of the article's encouraging words: "... urine is an important source of phosphate. I also pee around the flower beds and chicken coop to keep deer and raccoons away. And if you want to do more, check out how to use urine as a fertilizer.

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