Please meet Troy Hale, Producer of Sh*t Saves the World and Professor at Michigan State University. The film is a comedic environmental documentary that delivers “the scoop on poop,” and it will screen at the WWETT Show 2023.
In our latest episode of Making Waves with WWETT, we spoke with Hale about some of the fascinating data he uncovered while making the film, the power of humor, dealing with human waste in outer space, and more.
Here’s a sneak peek into the discussion:
WWETT: Troy, you've created quite the documentary appley called Poop Saves the World. Talk to me, tell me more about it and how did you come up with this idea and topic?
Hale: I like to come up with fun stuff. I teach film and documentary and journalism, and ever since I left the industry, I still love to create stories—and now I get to create things I want to create. My main thing is always to find something that hasn’t been done before. If it hasn’t been made, I go, “That’s a great place for me to look at first.”
WWETT: I would love to hear what you found are some of the sustainable uses for human waste as you did your research and filming.
Hale: There’s so much information out there. The fact that, just humanity, population-wise, we’re growing and growing and growing. When I made the film, I have a statistic that says we have 7.7 billion people on the earth, and in ten years it’ll be over 10 billion human beings on the planet. And this is something that we all produce, and we’re never gonna run out of it—and, realistically, it could be the most renewable resource that we have. If we just learn how to recycle it a little bit better, we could use it for a whole bunch of things, one of which is creating energy. That’s how I started the film.
We have a bio digester here on campus that creates power. So I started with Dr. Dana Kirk, and he’s a very serious PhD and does research on this and runs the bio digester, but he also has a great sense of humor about it. So I realized that’s how this film would work so well—all this amazing stuff people are doing, but also people who have a great sense of humor about how they’re doing it.
WWETT: Can you talk a little bit about what you discovered about the global sanitation crisis? I think some of those numbers are astounding that you shared.
Hale: In the film, I guess the biggest number we found was that about 60% of the world doesn’t have access to toilets, which is just nuts to me in the year 2022. That was a huge shock to me, and I think that’s very strange for us here in the United States. I think that’s the number that kind of shocks most people.
WWETT: Having a toilet is a luxury that we don't have to think about it, right?
Hale: That’s partially why I made the film; we don’t talk about it, and it’s fun to talk about things we’re not supposed to.”
Listen to the full episode here.