Monday, June 13, 2011

Don't Shy Away From This Post...

It seems my friend John Sirota Martinson will not shy away from the BIG questions in EcoCanyon, John's new eco blog.  Today John's post - about the impact on the earth of different post-death body disposal practices - is so interesting and important that I must showcase it.  I've given you the opening salvo below.  To find out the particulars, just click back to his blog...

"Six years ago, my dad passed away at the age of 94. In his Last Will and Testament, he designated cremation for his body but did not specify what to do with the ashes. After the cremation and memorial service, I inquired of my mother what she thought we should do with them and she suggested perhaps spreading them somewhere in nature, since he liked nature walks. However, I was concerned that spreading them in nature was like littering. My chief concern was that the ashes may contain toxic chemicals and therefore it would be irresponsible to spread them in nature. Since no one else in the family was interested, I collected the nondescript black plastic box of his ashes and placed it on a shelf in my closet.
Recently, I have decided to revisit my dad’s choice of cremation, the dispensation of his ashes, and my own feelings about my body after death. The presence of my dad’s ashes in my closet for these six years felt like unfinished business. The catalyst for this reexamination was a class last semester studying carbon footprints and life cycle. When I prepared my own will some years ago, I selected cremation for the same reasons Judy Collins wrote in Song For Duke that “funerals were a waste of flowers.” I felt that graveyards were a waste of land.
Now, armed with information about greenhouse gasses and toxic chemicals, I chose to research the issues. The questions inconsideration are the potential environmental impacts of various forms of body disposal and whether there are commercially available choices for sustainable burial. The search led to the Green Burial Council (GBC), an independent, nonprofit organization that provides guidance to the mortuary and cemetery industries regarding environmentally sustainable deathcare practices to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, toxification, and waste; and to preserve natural areas."

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for reposting, Sandy. No new followers or comments on this one. Touchy subject for most.