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Inspiring Women February 2023

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feature<br />

<strong>Inspiring</strong> Reads:<br />

Pipe Dreams<br />

The Urgent Global Quest<br />

to Transform the Toilet<br />

Chelsea Wald has<br />

repeatedly plunged into<br />

the topic of toilets since<br />

2013, when editors first<br />

approached her to write<br />

about the latent potential<br />

in our stagnating<br />

infrastructure. Since then<br />

she has traveled to Italy,<br />

South Africa, Indonesia,<br />

and Haiti, as well as<br />

throughout the Netherlands<br />

and the United States, in<br />

search of the past and<br />

future of toilet systems. With<br />

a degree in astronomy from<br />

Columbia University and a<br />

master’s in journalism from<br />

Indiana University, Chelsea<br />

has more than fifteen years<br />

of experience in writing<br />

about science and the<br />

environment. She lives with<br />

her family in The Hague,<br />

Netherlands where she is a<br />

member of AWC The Hague.<br />

Most of us do not give much thought to<br />

the centerpiece of our bathrooms, but the<br />

toilet is an unexpected paradox. On the<br />

one hand, it is a modern miracle: a<br />

ubiquitous fixture in a vast sanitation system that<br />

has helped add decades to the human life span by<br />

reducing disease. On the other hand, the toilet is<br />

also a tragic failure: less than half of the world’s<br />

population can access a toilet that safely manages<br />

body waste. And it is inefficient, squandering clean<br />

64 INSPIRING WOMEN INSPIRING WOMEN 65

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