Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Funerals: Returning to the Earth

Sadly, we've had to attend two funerals in the past month. Never fun. It certainly puts everything into a clearer focus and makes you sharpen your priorities knowing that our time on this planet is finite.

Given we have been very much in this hyper-awareness of death in our house, I certainly paused when I saw Michael d'Estries' January 10, 202 Treehugger article: "New York Expands Green Burial Options With Human Composting."

My previous school was very eco-centric. We composted our school lunches and I brought my family's home food composting to school weekly--so I closely know how composting works. This, of course, brings almost too much inside information to the table... the thought of human composting brings about an initial "ew" factor.

New York is the sixth state to legalize human composting (which is also called natural reduction). Washington was the first in 2019, Colorado and Oregon in 2021, then California, and Vermont prior to New York in 2022.

Thinking about traditional modern burials, there's a lot of items being put into the ground: metal caskets lined with fabric. When you think about that alongside a growing population, that's a lot of "stuff." But even considering cremation can be hard for some people when it comes to considering that for a loved one. Then you add in composting? That's a lot to wrap a mind around.

But, for the avid environmentalist, it might be worth considering. In d'Estries' article, he goes through what human composting entails...and does a better job of it than I could do with summarizing it.  He also mentions companies in this field like Recompose and The Natural Funeral that specialize in natural reduction. While the price is still currently on par with traditional funerals, the longterm projection is that as more people embrace this, the costs will come down. 

To dive even deeper than the d'Estries article, click on the Recompose and The Natural Funeral links above. Then check out CNN's November 7, 2022 article "How Human Composting Could Reduce Death’s Darbon Footprint" by Kristen Rogers.

Am I ready to make this my end game plan? Not sure yet. But it is an interesting green alternative green for those who choose it as a way to reduce their waste, carbon footprint, and greenhouse gases in order to make a more sustainable impact on the Earth.

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