If you live your life as an activist concerned about the climate emergency and what sort of world we are leaving for our children and grandchildren, then considering how we leave the Earth seems to be an important consideration. The most common ways to handle one’s dead body are burial in a graveyard or cremation. Cemetery burial is a form of landfilling, and as currently practiced using embalming fluids, cement vaults, and various metals and plastics, the process leaves behind a mini toxic waste dump. Cremation is typically done by high-temperature fossil fuel burning which creates significant air pollution.
Our speakers were:
- Glen Ayers, Soil Scientist and retired Public Health Professional, Advocate
of protecting groundwater and recycling human nutrients
- State Representative Natalie Higgins, Sponsors of
H.2193, An Act Expanding After Death Care Options
- Laura Cassidy from Recompose, the first operating Natural Organic
Reduction facility in the country (Seattle, WA)
This Deep Dialogue introduced our community to familiar concepts such as green burial, and less known options such as conservation burial, alkaline hydrolysis, and natural organic reduction (human composting). We discussed the opportunity for advocacy to promote alternatives to landfilling and cremation through the passage of proposed legislation to legalize additional options with a lower carbon footprint so that our passing will enhance the Earth instead of increasing the cumulative burden.