While updating a more comprehensive post at The Greening of Dying, I found these new snippets among increasing criticism of conventional cemetery burial.
- A ten-acre swatch of cemetery ground will contain enough coffin wood to construct more than 40 homes, nearly a thousand tons of casket steel and another twenty thousand tons of concrete for vaults.
- Across North America enough metal is diverted into coffin and vault production each year to build the Golden Gate Bridge, and enough concrete is used to build a two-lane highway from Toronto to Montreal… and back again. [632 miles!]
- On or in our corpse, we bury disinfectant, germicide, skin hardener, skin softener, gas adsorbent, lip glue, posture and jaw pins, eyeball splints, pimple bleach and phenols, hair gel, lipstick and cosmetics, photographs, notes, cards, keys, jewelery, figurines, guitars or other favorite items, plus nearly a million gallons of embalming fluid every year in North America – formaldehyde, methanol, ethanol, coloring dye, and other compounds, some of which eventually leach into surrounding soil and groundwater [wiki], along with a varying dosage of late-life pharmaceuticals.
A Green Burial Portal
An effort toward ecological burial seems better for us and for our environment. The Natural Burial Co-operative, Center for Natural Burial is vigorously retrieving data and posting trends about natural cemeteries. The Co-operative has built a map hack that points to operating and proposed natural sites in both the USA and Canada. Their short report on conventional burial reveals another important consideration too: “The whole operation will take less than a week and cost your heirs and family more than the price of a new car.”
And incidentally, a little morbidity can make you happy: The British Psychological Society noticed that thinking about our own death and other morbid scenes may help trigger happiness!
Yes, thoughts of death turn to joy. We are so afraid of our own mortality, we have a natural tendency to quickly turn to comforting thoughts.
“Death is a psychologically threatening fact, but when people contemplate it, apparently the automatic system begins to search for happy thoughts,” the researchers said. “Moreover, this occurs immediately and outside of awareness”.