Those of you who have been following my posts about 'green burial' may remember my eldest son's contribution which I quoted here. Today I have received a follow-up from him which is worth adding to the series:
Interesting idea in the paper today – facetious but nontheless interesting. Discussing how to use waste to produce compost – an Australian has been doing composting trials on cattle carcasses (in case we get foot-and-mouth). He stuck 16 cattle in pits and added organic matter like straw and woodchips. They were buried in pairs and he exhumed them two at a time, every three weeks for six months. After 3 weeks the bones looked steam cleaned. After 6 months they had good compost. Suggestion was then made that instead of heading to the crematorium you could head to the compostorium to continue being useful after death.
Now there’s an idea.
One of my greatest regrets is that, not only shall I never see my grandchildren grow old, but also that I shall not see how the world at large develops, and how mankind manages to save our planet, or if indeed he does! Green burials have become pretty commonplace in my lifetime, and perhaps, as we take recycling ever more seriously, there will eventually be a move towards recycling our corporeal selves in this novel way. A compostorium does not seem likely to have the appeal of burial in a woodland glade or park, but to the scientists and rationalists among us, it might be seen as an appropriate and acceptable means of disposal.
UPDATE :: I just found this article on "the death industry" on the web, and thought it well worth reading. It's dated 2003, so compostoriums/compostoria (?) are not such a new idea. You have to read to the bottom to get to them though. http://www.theecologist.org/pages/archive_detail.asp?content_id=382