Most atheists I've spoken with on this subject say, "I don't care what they do with my body after I'm done with it," or words to that effect. I can understand that position but there's another, more important facet to consider; the environment! Most intelligent people I know, practice recycling, so why not carry it through?
Most cemeteries have a regulation requiring concrete burial boxes. This is so when your coffin "collapses," there won't be an unsightly depression in their beautiful, manicured lawn. Someone sticks giant tubes in the jugular vein and carotid artery and sucks out your blood while pumping in plenty of dangerous chemicals. Then, after a week or so in the frig and viewing rooms, they put you in an airtight box, so you'll leather-up real nice. I remember the news reports when Medgar Evers was exhumed. After decades, he looked almost pristine. Notwithstanding his son getting to see him, as he was, for the first time, isn't that a waste?
A few years back I was rereading my old copy of "The Whole Earth Catalog," and I stumbled on the part about burials. As the article suggested, it is quite easy to get permission to be buried on your own land, but there are stipulations and it takes a while so you can't wait 'till the last minute for it. I was going to subdivide my property and create a family graveyard but my kids vetoed the plan. I guess they saw it more as losing an inheritance, than gaining a final resting place for us all.
I've since found several natural graveyards. I'm also told it's possible to have an unmarked grave on BLM property. I would like my tradition of recycling to continue after my death. I once said, "Feed me to wild animals" but that's a ridiculous thing a macho kid might (did) say. My wife and I have long since made a pact to wrap one another in cloth to be interred directly into mother earth. However, if she follows that like she has any other plan, I'll probably go out with the trash. Oh well, it's better than embalming!
Over the decades that I have been on this earth, I have seen nothing but one atrocity after another committed against the other inhabitants of this planet; thousands of trees plowed down in the name of the almighty strip mall, animals driven to extinction by greed, waterways poisoned, and the list goes on. I wish to give something back to the earth at my death... perhaps in a way, as a payment of my debt to nature. I will be cremated, and my ashes will be placed around trees to nourish their roots, so that they may at least have some benefit from my having existed.
My parents didn't want to be embalmed. There was a glitch in timing for my mother's cremation and the funeral home called to ask for permission to embalm her. "No!" that will not work, she did not want to be embalmed. She was a nurse and didn't want anything to do with chemicals. So, they shoved her into a cooler and made no more requests. We scattered her ashes in places she indicated. My father didn't want to be embalmed either, and there was no problem. They took him from my home where he died to the crematorium and then returned the small cardboard box to me.
I want a natural burial and I have not made arrangements for that yet. It is a "to do" item.
I could never understand that whole "Scatter the ashes thing." Yes I understand the idea behind it but it doesn't follow a pattern of logic. People want their ashes scattered in a place they love etc., I get it. I scattered my dad's off of the top of Pike's Peak in a high Eastern wind. I think the point most people are ignoring is this:
Humans are what? 80% water more-or less? Crematoriums are never in nice place where we might like to spend eternity. So that means about 80% of my dad went up a chimney in Newark NJ, but my sister shipped me a box full of? Coffin? I dunno, there was some in it that looked maybe human, but most of it looked like cardboard ash.
I would hope to return to the elements naturally by decomposition. My only requests are, I’m unmarked and I'd like a small Ponderosa Pine planted on top of me. But requests are as solid as the words they’re carried on. My father's request was to be buried in a national cemetery with his old WWII buddies. My mom’s choice was that he got burned. Look how Mark Twain's requests were dishonored, and he was rich and famous!
The more I hear about "green" burial, the more I think I like it. I am NOT down with the $10,000 casket and being pumped full of formaldehyde for reasons which should be intuitively obvious. Cremation also gets a thumbs-down, because it destroys that of my body which might be nutritious to whatever "convocation of politic worms" (to borrow from the Bard) might be in the neighborhood.
If what's left of me can be put in the ground with minimal fuss and "protection" for the purpose of returning at least something of what I took from the earth back to it, that makes the most sense to me.
I found a site about Green Burials (there's several) and this one had information about being buried in BLM land. Seeing as more than half my state (CO) is BLM open grazing land, it would be ideal. Unfortunately, the computer I found it on fried and for the life of me I can't seem to relocate it (YET!). If anyone has a link, I'd really appreciate it
I just learned about "space burial". I've always been interested in the universe, and would love to explore space, but it seems like a space burial is wasteful. Plus, I see no value in it. Prices start at $1295, and I don't think that includes the reduction to ashes.