Wastewater—the water that drains down our sinks and showers and flushes down our toilets—is traditionally treated by sewage treatment plants before it can be reused. But such plants are expensive.
There is growing awareness of a cheaper, more environmentally sustainable option to treat wastewater and that mimics how nature has always done it: through wetlands. Wetlands are considered to be the kidneys of an ecosystem, filtering and processing waste. It turns out constructed wetlands can work as well as natural ones and, when properly managed, can even be a tourist attraction.
Bryn Nelson, former microbiologist and freelance science, health, and environmental writer, has written about such wetlands in a new piece for YES!, and spoke with YES! Racial Justice Editor Sonali Kolhatkar on YES Presents: Rising Up With Sonali about his story.
Sonali Kolhatkar joined YES! in summer 2021, building on a long and decorated career in broadcast and print journalism. She is an award-winning multimedia journalist, and host and creator of YES! Presents: Rising Up with Sonali, a nationally syndicated television and radio program airing on Free Speech TV and dozens of independent and community radio stations. She is also Senior Correspondent with the Independent Media Institute’s Economy for All project where she writes a weekly column. She is the author of Rising Up: The Power of Narrative in Pursuing Racial Justice (2023) and Bleeding Afghanistan: Washington, Warlords, and the Propaganda of Silence (2005). Her forthcoming book is called Talking About Abolition (Seven Stories Press, 2025). Sonali is co-director of the nonprofit group, Afghan Women’s Mission which she helped to co-found in 2000. She has a Master’s in Astronomy from the University of Hawai’i, and two undergraduate degrees in Physics and Astronomy from the University of Texas at Austin. Sonali reflects on “My Journey From Astrophysicist to Radio Host” in her 2014 TEDx talk of the same name.