Thursday, July 15, 2010

Where I'm gonna go when I die

Speaking of things being at the end of their life span...the trusty pocket calculator that I've had since 8th grade (that's 14 years, folks) is starting to randomly display blank diodes. Its time is near...And I'll miss it when it goes!
Last time we talked, I was talking to you about what happens to consumer goods at the end of their life span.

Today, I'd like to talk to you about what happens to consumers at the end of their life span.

In America, a very popular way to dispose of bodies is to dress them up fancy, pump their now-defunct circulatory systems full of chemicals, seal them up in a fancy, expensive box, and then cover them up with a ton of dirt and a fancy, expensive rock. This rather ludicrous practice has its roots in the fear of decomposition (obviously something that we should all be worrying about once we're dead) and has no doubt been encouraged by the funerary industry, which stands to rake in a good bit of profit when corpses are provided with their own cosmeticians.

There are other options. Many people choose cremation, which allows the remains of the dear departed to be scattered romantically across bodies of water or favorite haunts from the time before the dear departed were technically capable of haunting anything. In some cases, cremation also allows the dead body to be stored in a very compact manner so that it can be cherished forever by adoring family members. Cremation is significantly cheaper than its cousin, the extravagant burial, but just think of the carbon dioxide emissions!

Actually, there is no other option that I can think of that's in common use. But obviously neither of those options are satisfactory to a tree-hugging hippie who would rather die than let any of those earth-scarring things be done to her dead body.


Well, moving on! There are still other options--even if they're not as popular!

I've heard, if you happen to live in the right third-world countries, you can have your body placed somewhere out in the open so carrion-eaters can have their way with you. Unfortunately, I do not live in one of those countries, and I don't think that practice is ever going to fly in the US.

So, what's a good eco-conscious American citizen to do?

The answer is, find yourself a good green cemetery and do your best to ensure that's where you end up!
They are out there. I don't feel much like writing about it at the moment, because I think I've dripped sarcasm over just about every tradition related to respecting the dead, and if I don't want to join their (highly respectable) ranks, I'd better shut my figurative mouth now.

But here, visit these links:


Tariq said...

I know that in hot countries, like in the Caribbean, bodies are buried as quickly as possible. Have you seen what happens to a body left out in the sun? I haven't, but I've heard some stories. It's not pretty (and it doesn't smell so good either).

Muslims bury their dead by sunset of the following day. Burials are quick affairs: they wrap the dead in a shroud and put them in the ground.

I think the biggest non-green aspect to burials is the coffin. Some of the coffins today are not made to decompose. Why *not* let someone decompose? Are they really going to be exhumed for another family photo? We should go back to wooden coffins.

Amy Shipley said...

Adam wishes he could have a sky burial (where the vultures pick at your corpse). I wonder.. do you have to have a coffin in the US?