Even in death, Americans just can’t stop themselves from destroying the planet, according to new research.
Right now there are around 22,500 active cemeteries in the United States. These sanitized spaces, with bunches of flowers lain among neat rows of gravestones on manicured lawns, are so closely associated with the American idea of mourning that it’s difficult to imagine an alternative.
Yet the practice is deeply unsustainable. Every year, in laying their dead to rest, Americans bury approximately 73,000 kilometers of hardwood boards, 58,500 tons of steel, 1.5 million tons of concrete, and 3.1 million liters of formaldehyde. A typical four-hectare cemetery contains enough wood to construct 40 homes and sufficient volumes of embalming fluid to fill a backyard swimming pool. As the Baby Boomers start to die, these environmental impacts are only going to grow. Continue reading
We are so amazing.
Note: dead bodies, unembalmed, are NOT TOXIC. They need to be handled with the same kind of precautions as live bodies. They do not contaminate soil or water. Trust soil.
Corpses are less scary than you think.
They are not only not necessary, but they are mispresented or misunderstood: Bacteria, not fungi do most of the decomposition. Further, we know from soil science that added microbes are nearly always quickly eaten by the local soil biota. Save your money and trust soil. Homage to the creators though for fostering further awareness of natural burial.