Steve A. Stone
Dear Friends and Patriots,
The Blaze ran an article on September 20 by Joseph Mackinnon that concerns the composting of human remains. The link is below for those who want to read it.
The article centers around a newly passed law in California, AB351, which allows for deceased humans to be turned into garden mulch. The article states the body is placed in a bin and surrounded by wood chips, alfalfa, and straw, aerated, then allowed to decompose via bacterial action. After some period of time the remains are removed from the bin and allowed to "cure" for a couple of weeks. No explanation is given for the "curing" process. I personally suspect it means whatever's left after the microbes eat all they want is run through a grinder, then bake it at 350 degrees for a bit.
California isn't the first state to allow composting of bodies. Washington, Oregon, Colorado, and Vermont are already doing it. Gee, look at the names of those states and tell me what they have in common.
I don't want any of you to think I'm an adversary of human composting. But, there are some problems I foresee, and I do challenge any claim of environmental benefit.
Problems? Yes, problems. The article implies people might want to plant a memorial tree and fertilize it with the remains of their newly composted former loved one. It might be okay if such use was specified; that the remains could only be put back in the environment for ornamental or other non-food production purposes. But, you know someone is going to think of a way to turn Grandpa into watermelons. That's where I draw the line. It's bad enough that humans use sewage to fertilize farmland, but using Grandpa? I just can't go there.
As for environmental benefits, I contend all those who claim such things are ideologues and idiots. Surely they understand that decomposition is decomposition. It doesn't matter if a body is put in one of those recycling bins or in a casket in the ground, the same process takes place. Microbes consume what was once alive, rendering it into microbe byproducts. We might like to say "dust" but it's not really that. One difference is the composting process is a controlled evolution, whereas when you bury someone in a cemetery there's all kinds of variables that go into figuring out how long it's going to be before Grandpa is completely rendered. It could be as short as a year, but it could also be many years. It largely depends on the moisture and bug content of the soil in the cemetery. The point I'm trying to make regards the net products of decay, which are pretty much the same. The required span of time is the biggest difference. Anyone who's ever been around a decomposing body understands exactly what I mean.
The enviro-whackos who promote these schemes point to cremation and tell us it takes too much fuel to do it, and it releases way too much carbon into the atmosphere. Carbon. You know, carbon, the building block of life. Somewhere or another carbon has gained a bad rap. When I was a kid I understood that all living things depend on carbon in one way or another. Yet, these enviro-whackos are all about carbon reduction, carbon mitigation, carbon capture, and now they're trying to tell us we release too much carbon when we die. I find that odd. We can't possibly release as much as we were doing while we are alive. We don't create carbon after we're dead. So what's their beef? Are they truly that mentally compromised?
What's odd is in California people get cremated because it's a lot cheaper than a burial. It costs a lot to be buried anywhere now, but in California it's a small fortune. So, they immolate their loved ones, reduce them to ashes, then figure out what to do with the box of ashes or the urn they buy from the crematorium. Some urns end up on a mantle in the living room and get visited pretty often. Grampas on mantles get dusty, you know. They may not get talked to, but they do get dusted. Grandpa might also end up in the bottom of the hall closet. I suspect Grampas who go there don't get visited very often at all. Maybe when someone is looking for their missing bowling ball, but otherwise ... no. There are Grandpas who get put in cemeteries, in boxes housed on a wall or in a small building called a columbarium. Maybe they get visited. I like to think so. But, for years now the popular thing to do in California is to dump Gramps into the Pacific, either from a boat, a helicopter, or an airplane. People make a party of the occasion. Just think of the carbon footprint that a boar, helicopter, or airplane adds to Grampa's end of life total.
When you consider the options it appears burials are probably one of the most environmentally friendly methods we have of dealing with Grandpa when he's gone. But, if you're an enviro-whacko you can't possibly believe that! No, Sir! Nothing that's been done continuously for the past 100 years can possibly be good. It must all be changed!
You see, it's not about carbon footprints. It's not about the effects on the environment. It's not any of that. What it is about is forcing paradigm shifts. It's about taking anything old and devaluing it in favor of whatever is new and in vogue. It doesn't matter if the old was better. It's enough to know it's old. Old is bad! New is good!
Here's another way to think about it. New fortunes aren't made by repeating old ways. New fortunes are made by doing new things. Behind all the hype and propagandizing what we should understand is it's all about making money. In this instance, the environment doesn't care how humans dispose of our remains. All the dead end up reduced to basic elements of some kind, somehow. But, someone who wanted to make a fortune realized if they could convince enough people that the truth is not the truth – there may be several fortunes to be made.
This is much ado about nothing. It's enviro-marketing hype, and little more. Dumb people will go for it. I say, "Let them!" We should be glad right now that they're only composting. When we hear they're recycling the dead to create food ... that's when we should all push the STOP! button. I'm not ready for Soylent Green. I trust none of you are, either.
Here's that link: 'Your days of pollution are over': California legalizes human composting
Steve© Steve A. Stone
The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.