MSU professor’s film on poop aspires to help save the planet

A protester at the US-Mexico border holds a sign referring to the issue of sewage polluting beaches in a scene from

Troy Hale has heard all the jokes — and made all the jokes himself.

A good sense of humor is a requirement when you’re a filmmaker whose latest documentary chronicles the impact of human and animal excrement on the planet.

Hale, who teaches at Michigan State University, mixes comedy and science in “Sh*t Saves The World,” which arrived in early July on Amazon, iTunes and other streaming platforms.

Its poster playfully calls it “the #2 documentary on the planet.”

In the film, Hale gives viewers a mix of history, biology and fun facts about — to use the popular slang — poop, along with some serious information about health and environmental issues surrounding it.

But this isn’t an ominous look at the state of Earth. After seeing the movie, you might feel encouraged by the potential — documented by Hale through several examples — for turning waste into renewable energy and resources.

The poster for

Hale began telling stories visually as a TV journalist, covering everything from weather disasters to the MTV Video Music Awards for news stations in cities like Miami, Minneapolis, Memphis and Columbus, Ohio.

Around 2008, he was hired by MSU, where he is a professor of practice focused on journalism and film. Over the years, he has made many short documentaries on subjects such as global trade, race in America, human organ trafficking in Bangladesh and the mystery of missing moon rocks from Apollo-era space missions.

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