You could drive almost 4,800 miles on the energy used to cremate one person.
This surprised me. I'd imagined cremation as green, since it doesn't compete with food production, or require mowing grass forever. Moreover it's standard body disposal for large road kill and sick farm animals. I remember one early storm killed a hundred thousand cattle, and the law had to make an exception of more than a week for their bodies to be disposed, because everyone was overwhelmed. Now I'm wondering what the carbon footprint was for their disposal.
The resources used just in the US for traditional burial are mind-boggling - see the article's infographic. Over 800,ooo gal of formaldehyde buried per year, for example.
My will specifies donation to a medical school, with the remains disposed of in the cheapest way consistent with law. Now I wonder if that's unsustainable.
Even green burial takes away land for a burial plot? It's against the law to bury granny in your back yard with a little natural stone marker, isn't it? What is the most sustainable body disposal anyway? Suddenly cremation by burning a body on a modest pile of wood, in the open as in India, doesn't sound as bad. Not that we should throw our dead into rivers, of course.
Burial in a wildlife refuge sounds perfect. Burial at sea sounds green to me. Thanks, Daniel.
I like the idea of a green burial. I see there is a place in WA near Goldndale, that has such burials.
Ruth Anne's Grave
My wife and I decided that we both want to be cremated, and have our ashes mixed together, and then our daughter will spread our ashes out on the property we are now living on. This place has been our paradise for 25 years now, and it just can't get any bettter han what we have.
Is it wasteful? I don't know. I'm hoping the 42+ ornamental trees we've planted, and the 12-tree orchard, plus the many large shrubs will help make up for it.
Thanks, Dan. We've been married 55 years this September, so we thought we might as well hang together a little longer.