Sustainable Burial Versus Death By Chemical

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Rudy Dees

Writer @ GoneWithTheWord

I would request that my body in death be buried not cremated, so that the energy content contained within it gets returned to the earth, so that flora and fauna can dine upon it, just as I have dined upon flora and fauna during my lifetime.”

Dr Neil Degrasse Tyson made this statement ever so eloquently during the Poetry of Science discussion alongside Prof Richard Dawkins.

In death, I too, want to be buried in, or left on the ground where animals, plants and decomposers could find nourishment from my now-unneeded remains. I want my organic remains to be recycled and my energy therein returned to the Earth I so dearly love. A sort of reincarnation, if I may.

Moreover, we could eliminate row upon row of dark, dreary depressing headstones, and avoid the toxic impact on the environment. For example, did you know:


  • About 800,000 gallons of formaldehyde-based embalming fluid are buried in U.S. cemeteries every year.
  • Ten acres of a typical cemetery contain nearly 1,000 tons of casket steel, 20,000 tons of concrete in burial vaults, and enough wood used in coffins to build 40 homes.


Nonetheless, some people might protest such an “inhumane” and unsanitary burial process. What… no coffin? That’s right. No coffin.

Unfortunately, I would agree, but not for the reasons mentioned above. I don’t want to see a raccoon or coyote racing along the sidewalk with an arm in its mouth, nor do I want to find a corpse in a park.

So, how do I get a recycled organic burial? This is a question I’ve thought about for a few years now. I found my answer on social media: a biodegradable urn or a biodegradable burial capsule. I prefer the latter.

An urn means being cremated. This means a lot of energy will be lost as heat, lost to the atmosphere in the form of gases and less nutrient content in the ashes. Whereas, a burial capsule, I would decompose slowly allowing for other organisms to enjoy a plentiful buffet. My energy content would be absorbed by the surrounding plants and decomposers.

Furthermore, if I, and others, can help others come to the conclusion that sustainable burial is beneficial to the environment too. We could eliminate the dark and scary cemeteries and replace with parks and forests, and be remembered just the same.

Ditch the coffin and the headstone. Don’t be trapped in a box or canister. Return to the Earth and be part of the great circle of life.

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