Even the Dead are Going Green!
In this day and age, it seems everyone is concerned about humankind’s impact on the Earth and our “carbon footprint.” So we are inundated with new “green” options for just about everything. We drive hybrid cars, buy only organic foods, and recycle nearly everything. But now, one state is about to make it possible for even the dead to be green.
Colorado has just announced a bill that may legalize “green burials.”
So what are green burials exactly? Well, as CBS Denver explains, it is the process of taking your remains and turning them into, wait for it… soil.
“A bill being proposed by two Colorado lawmakers would legalize green burials – which turns human remains into soil that can be returned to family members. It is also referred to as Natural Organic Reduction. The process takes about a month and generates a cubic yard of material per person.”
The outlet continues, “’For most Coloradans, there are two main choices after death: burial or cremation. Representative Brianna Titone and Senator Robert Rodriguez are planning to bring a bill to the General Assembly that would give Coloradans another legal option: they can have their bodies turned into soil,’ officials stated.”
And as those officials further stated, “The Novel approach, known as ‘Natural Organic Reduction,’ involves placing bodies in individual vessels and gently decomposing them into a nutrient-dense soil that can be returned to families.”
Sounds interesting, to say the least, and a lot like the process of composting. Remains put into vessels where they can “gently decompose” would essentially be the same thing right?
That is not to say that I have a problem with the idea. It’s just interesting. After all, everyone has the right to be buried as they wish. So if you want yourself to be turned into soil rather than ashes for your family to spread or fertilize their garden with that’s fine.
It’s really no different than the process of cremation, in which the body is burned and turned into ashes that can be given back to the family.
Then again, “natural burials” are also similar. This is when the body is allowed to naturally decompose without the use of a coffin or embalming chemicals. The remains are merely wrapped in a biodegradable sheet and buried six feet under. In most circumstances, the body will be practically non-existent within a few years.
However, in comparison to “green burials,” we do have to wonder: how does one gently decompose anything? I thought “natural” would be key here. But as we just learned, natural decomposition usually takes a couple of years at the very least. So what are they actually doing to the body? What do they put in there with it?
In any case, it does seem to be a slightly better process than the traditional burial, which can cost tens of thousands of dollars, and as Rodney Dangerfield states takes up precious space on the planet. In one of his films, he explains that cemeteries are the biggest waste of real estate on Earth.
And while I don’t necessarily agree with him, I do know that having a place to go to “see” your dead is not for the dead themselves, but the living left behind, as are funerals in general. Think about it: how many thousands of acres are maintained and kept in pristine order? And how many more acres are added to their number each year? As Dangerfield suggests, we are going to run out of space at some point.
But once again, this is entirely up to the family of the deceased. Some families may want the dedicated space to remember you that a gravesite or monument offers. Others may be content to spread your ashes in the wind so you can travel freely.
The simple fact is that burial, no matter the option, is an immensely personal decision. And the rituals and traditions of your family may not be traded lightly. However, we have to admit this option seems to offer somewhat of a combination of the two more traditional choices.
Once you are turned into soil, you can be used to start a new life in plants in one specific place or many. And I suppose there would be some measure of comfort knowing that depending on the plant grown, you could be with your family for decades longer. That is just so long as they have somewhat of a green thumb. (Pun intended.)