Thursday, April 19, 2007

Environmentally friendly death: feed the trees and not the atmosphere

This post links to a previous post on local protests against the location of crematoriums.

Crematorium Location: The Dead that Keep on Killing

I have to say that I agree - a nice little tree and a cardboard box would be fine (maybe a wooden box to help slow the tree feeding a little).

Scientist says cremation should meet a timely death
SYDNEY (AFP) - An Australian scientist called Wednesday for an end to the age-old tradition of cremation, saying the practice contributed to global warming.

Professor Roger Short said people could instead choose to help the environment after death by being buried in a cardboard box under a tree.

The decomposing bodies would provide the tree with nutrients, and the tree would convert carbon dioxide into life-giving oxygen for decades, he said.

"The important thing is, what a shame to be cremated when you go up in a big bubble of carbon dioxide," Short told AFP.

"Why waste all that carbon dioxide on your death?"

Short said the cremation of the average male in Australia, during which the body is heated to 850 degrees Celsius (1,562 degrees Fahrenheit) for 90 minutes, produced more than 50 kilograms (110 pounds) of carbon dioxide.

And that doesn't include the carbon cost of fuel, or the cost of the emissions released during the production and burning of the wooden casket.

Short, a reproductive biologist at the University of Melbourne, said the contribution of cremation to harmful greenhouse gases was small, and he did not wish to prevent people from choosing how their body was disposed of according to their religion.

But to bury the hatchet with environmentalists, he suggested it would not be a bad idea to bequeath one's body as food for a forest.

"You can actually do, after your death, an enormous amount of good for the planet," he said. "The more forests you plant, the better."

H/T. DC.

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