: Daniel Schneider
: 63.40 MB
Biological sewage treatment, like electricity, power generation, telephones, and masstransit, has been a key technology and a major part of the urban infrastructure since the latenineteenth century. But sewage treatment plants are not only a ubiquitous component of the moderncity, they are also ecosystems--a hybrid variety that incorporates elements of both nature andindustry and embodies multiple contradictions. In Hybrid Nature, Daniel Schneider offers anenvironmental history of the biological sewage treatment plant in the United States and England,viewing it as an early and influential example of an industrial ecosystem. The sewage treatmentplant relies on microorganisms and other plants and animals but differs from a natural ecosystem inthe extent of human intervention in its creation and management. Schneider explores the relationshipbetween society and nature in the industrial ecosystem and the contradictions that define it[: thenaturalization of industry versus the industrialization of nature; the public interest versusprivate (patented) technology; engineers versus bacterial and human labor; and purification versusprofits in the marketing of sewage fertilizer.] Schneider also describes biotechnology's directconnections to the history of sewage treatment, and how genetic engineering is extending the reachesof the industrial ecosystem to such "natural" ecosystems as oceans, rivers, and forests.In a conclusion that shows how industrial ecosystems continue to evolve, Schneider discusses JohnTodd's Living Machine, a natural purification method of sewage treatment, as the embodiment of thecontradictions of the industrial ecosystem. The hardcover edition does not includea dust jacket.