Environmental responsibility is a must even after death - here's why:
- Approximately 18 million deceased humans are cremated worldwide every year using wood, natural gas, propane or electricity.(1,2)
- It takes roughly 220 pounds of wood to cremate a single human body, or between 0.13 and 0.18 megajoules of electricity. That's almost four-thousand million pounds of wood, or 2.7 million megajoules of electricity worldwide.(1)
- Burning produces heat and air pollution, including toxic mercury from tooth fillings and metal vapors from artificial joints and other surgical implants. According to Hal Stevens of Cemetaryspot.com, burning releases NMVOCs, hydrogen fluoride (HF), nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, mercury, carbon monoxide, particulate matter, hydrogen chloride (HCl), and heavy metals, as well as Persistent Organic Pollutants (POP).(1,2)
How you can minimize your impact:
Clearly anyone leading an environmentally responsible lifestyle must make arrangements for the most biologically sound burial or cremation possible. Here are some ideas for those who wish to be cremated:
- Choose a cremation casket made of the cleanest-burning material available, manufactured using as little material as possible.
- Select a crematory service which has the most effective exhaust filters available.
- Arrange for your cremated remains to be placed in a small biodegradable urn to minimize the carbon footprint, or have your "ashes" scattered and don't use an urn at all. Remember urns must be manufactured (using electricity and often toxic varishes) and transported via truck, so there is much more environmental impact than simply being buried with your remains.
- Please discuss your desire and arrangements for a biologically-responsible cremation with family members as soon as possible, so that environmentally poor choices aren't made while under emotional duress.
- Urge family members to consider doing the same.
Each of us CAN make a difference, in life and death. Your Mother Earth thanks you for your consideration.