Saturday, April 21, 2007

Final footprints

A scientist (reproductive biologist) has issued an opinion that human cremation is actually worse for the environment than burial, provided that burial means a simple cardboard under a tree. [LINK]. He points out that 110 lbs. (50 kg) of CO2 are released through this process. OK, well, I suppose I can agree with that... if people were buried that way. But instead, they are buried in intentionally non-biodegradable caskets that take up a good amount of real estate.

He suggests that donating yourself as "forest food" (the cardboard box) is a good option for the environment. If I could, I would donate myself to be fed to the animals at the Austin Zoo. Neither of these options would appeal to 99.99999% of people. My mother, for example, was strongly opposed to being cremated because she got more fundamentalist in her later years and thought she would need her body for the rapture. I looked into the option, years ago, of donating my body to a university for science -- but found that they, instead of accepting it as a donation, would have charged ME a fee to do that. So, my thinking now is to be cremated, leave my final footprint, CO2 and all, on the earth, and be sprinkled somewhere. About a year ago, we sprinkled my friend, ev brown, over at Rock Island at Zilker Park. That's a fitting place for me someday too. (Look back at this post for more on that).

Yesterday I picked up the cremains of my cat, Duncan. They were provided in a little wooden box. We are discussing where to sprinkle/bury them, and have pretty much decided to do it at the base of this vine. It grows right next to the screened porch, providing shade and privacy. It forms a little area like an alcove which is visible from the porch but not so visible or even very accessible from the outside path. We are trying to get the vine to grow into an upstairs trellis that doesn't exist yet, something to shade the windows. (The design plans for that are very much under discussion!) It's a lovely, strong vine with no thorns. He will have a second life as a well-loved plant.

Find more posts about Duncan.


BBC said...

I have to agree with the scientist.

Grind everything up and toss it back out there somewhere. Or feed me to cats and dogs, whatever.

Ellie said...

The base of the vine is perfect in so many ways. He'll be close, always, and he'll live on in some organic way in that vine. My bird Scooter, with me for 13 years, is buried at the base of an old oak tree. The tree has suffer from many a wind storm but is still standing and so is my memory of her.

Ellie said...

My sympathy to your heart for Duncan. And I have been thinking of ev the last few weeks myself.