“Human Composting” — Deathcare Revolution or Sacrilege
An Additional Option —
When a human being’s time is up, in Western countries we generally have two main options for our mortal remains — burial or cremation.
Now, a world-first facility has been set up to offer a unique alternative ritual to traditional choices: compost.
See this article:
The U.S. firm “ Recompose”, which is scheduled to begin operations in Seattle, Washington in 2021, bills itself as the world’s first human composting facility, offering to gently convert human remains into soil, in a process it calls “recomposition” or “natural organic reduction”.
According to Recompose:
- Human Compost Funerals are ‘better for environment’.
- The Human Composting process saves more than a tonne of carbon, compared to cremation or traditional burial.
- Concerns about climate change have been a big factor in so many people expressing interest in the service.
- So far. 15,000 people have signed up to our newsletter.
- The legislation to allow this in the state received bi-partisan support enabling it to pass the first time it was tabled.
Human composting is not just a practical alternative to burial. It is an eco-religious act. Its advocates openly promote it as an expression of social justice and ecological fervor.
The process of human composting consists of putting shrouded unembalmed human remains in a revolving cylinder with wood chips, alfalfa, and other organic matter to hasten decomposition.
After a month, the body is reduced to a cubic yard of nutrient-dense soil that can be used for planting trees to benefit the Earth.
For many, especially those with strong religious convictions, express these (and many more) objections to Human Composting:
The Church has always shown the utmost care in dealing with the dead. To bury the dead is a corporal act of mercy.
The Church buries the body with great ceremony and liturgy. It maintains cemeteries and consecrates the ground that will cover the bodies of the faithful.
The seemingly harmless process of “recomposition” is like the proclamation of an anti-metaphysical manifesto that implicitly denies the existence of the soul, the resurrection of the body, and the need for redemption.
While allowing cremation, the Church insists that even these remains be treated with great reverence and are not to be scattered about where all might tread upon them.
Although I am a “Preacher’s son” and spent half of my life as a Christian (Protestant: Methodist) and am now a Buddhist, (albeit, not devout by any means) I have no aversion to the idea of Human Composting.
Even as a young boy, I thought that is was odd that humans were the only living things that “robbed” the Earth of their organic material; effectively blocking Nature’s cycle of life, death, and rebirth.
Also, I couldn’t see how the age old tradition of a casket or urn burial could be sustained over time. To me, it was just a waste of resources and space.
And the argument of the necessity of these artifices for psychological and emotional health doesn’t pan out for me.
I’ve seen many people in war torn countries continue their remembrance and connection with their dead relatives via keepsakes or images.
Maybe the way death is treated in one of my favorite Science Fiction novels “Stranger in a Strange Land” is inevitable?
In the book, what was the Martians’ belief about death (aka: “discorporation”)?
Here’s a hint:
May you and yours be well and love life today.
About the Author —
Believing that school was too boring, he dropped out of High School early; only to earn an AA, BS and MBA in less than 4 years much later in life — while working full-time as a Navy/Marine Corps Medic.
In spite of a fear of heights and deep water, he performed high altitude, free-fall parachute jumps and hazardous diving ops in deep, open ocean water.
After 24 years of active duty, he retired in Asia.
Since then, he’s been a full-time, single papa and actively pursuing his varied passions (Writing, Disruptive Technology, Computer Science and Cryptocurrency — plus more hobbies too boring or bizarre for most folk).
He lives on an island paradise with his teenage daughter, log term girlfriend and two dogs.
“My mind was a terrible thing to waste.”
Originally published at https://steemit.com on February 20, 2020.