A single gram of poop contains 50 diseases, one million bacteria, 1,000 parasites, 100 worm eggs and 10 million viruses, by journalist Rose George’s tally. For people who have flushing toilets, this is something that they rarely have to think about. But for the 2.5 billion people in the world who have no toilet at […]Continue reading
Why you should listen
Rose George thinks, researches, writes and talks about the hidden, the undiscussed. Among the everyone-does-it-no-one-talks-about-it issues she's explored in books and articles: sanitation (and poop in general). Diarrhea is a weapon of mass destruction, says the UK-based journalist and author, and a lack of access to toilets is at the root of our biggest public health crisis. In 2012, two out of five of the world’s population had nowhere sanitary to go.
The key to turning around this problem, says George: Let’s drop the pretense of “water-related diseases” and call out the cause of myriad afflictions around the world as what they are -- “poop-related diseases” that are preventable with a basic toilet. George explores the problem in her book The Big Necessity: The Unmentionable World of Human Waste and Why It Matters and in a fabulous special issue of Colors magazine called "Shit: A Survival Guide." Read a sample chapter of The Big Necessity >>
Her latest book, on an equally hidden world that touches almost everything we do, is Ninety Percent of Everything: Inside Shipping, the Invisible Industry That Puts Clothes on Your Back, Gas in Your Car, Food on Your Plate. Read a review >>
In the UK and elsewhere, you'll find the book titled Deep Sea and Foreign Going: Inside Shipping, the Invisible Industry the Brings You 90% of Everything.
What others say
“'The Big Necessity' [takes] a subject that seems fixed and familiar and taboo and makes us understand it is ... dazzlingly intriguing.” — Johann Hari, Slate, 10/20/08
Rose George’s TED talks
Rose George on the TED Blog
A trip to a public bathroom stall several years ago inspired journalist Rose George to think. “I asked myself the question: Where does this stuff go?” George remembers. “With this question, I found myself plunged into the world of sanitation, toilets and poop. And I have yet to emerge.” Many people don’t think much about toilets. As […]Continue reading
This session, delicately titled “Indelicate conversation,” took a look at some topics not meant for the dinner table with talks by speakers not afraid to ask: What’s really on your mind? The speakers who appeared in this session. Click on their name to read a recap of their talk: Rose George “talks shit” to raise awareness […]Continue reading