Posts Tagged ‘natural burial’

For some reason we here at EarthQuaker have become interested in the idea of ‘green’ deaths recently.

We’ve even been fantasizing about buying our own local redwood forest for a Quaker-focused green burial site, going so far as to investigate US state law on the subject.

But maybe we should be looking at alkaline hydrolysis instead, a method that’s been described as “dissolving bodies in lye and flushing the brownish, syrupy residue down the drain.”

That quote comes from a recent AP story on the subject, which promotes the technique as environmentally friendly and notes that a funeral industry newsletter has been calling it “a truly game-changing technology.”

The process leaves a dry bone residue, not unlike a cremation. But instead of the rest going up in smoke and adding to global warming, it goes into our sewers instead. While not toxic, one has to wonder what large quantities of the lye/flesh mix might do to our sanitary systems — maybe they’d help flush them out!

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A green death is the logical successor to a green life and, as more of us become more environmentally-minded (and older!), we can expect the subject to gain more attention.

At the moment though, as an AP story today reminds us, the subject still seems to warrant the ‘those-kooky-greens’ treatment from the mainstream media.

Still, it’s already easy to find resources that can help us achieve a natural death.

And a ‘green death’ is not just a question of eco-vanity.  According to Everett Sizemore at Gaiam.com:

It is estimated that the more than 22,500 cemeteries across the Unites States bury 827,060 gallons of embalming fluid every year. Embalming fluids can include chemicals and additives like formaldehyde, glutaraldehyde, phenol, methanol, antibiotics, dyes, anti-edemic chemicals, and disinfectant chemicals.

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