Humans, both the living and the dead, have been leaving a big footprint on the Earth’s landscapes and biodiversity. As an environmental conscience person, I want to leave the Earth with as minimal impacts as possible when I pass. A year ago, I came across this video from Caitlin Doughty about an organic reduction (a fancy name for human composting) facility in Seattle. The video mentioned that some families will choose to donate the composted remains of their loved ones to restoration projects, to restore the degraded soil from salmon habitats. This video intrigued me so I immediately subscribed to the channel and did some research on human composting.
For me, this sounds like the perfect way to leave, the perfect way to reciprocate what the Earth has given me. I envision a world where people can choose how they want to leave the Earth. Not everyone wants to the embalmed and preserved forever, despite what the funeral industrial complex and the catholic church told us. Some people like me would rather have my body contributing back to the Earth and continue to live on as part of other living things. Being a part of humanity that has impacted different systems, and rewilding being a way to restore these systems, I think I will be leaving a bigger legacy to the Earth by letting myself go back to the Earth’s system.
One of the biggest obstacles to turning myself into compost is the availability and legality of doing so. During my prep for this class last week, Caitlin dropped this gem of a video about the legalization of greener death technology, and her personal struggles/ success story of legalizing alkaline hydrolysis and human composting in California. After doing some googling, I was horrified to find out that burial and cremation are the only two legal methods of body disposal in BC, which has a reputation for being “a green province”. WE NEED TO FIX THIS. We need to raise awareness about these greener death care technology is also important in encouraging people to adopt them and campaign for them. Green death technologies like alkaline hydrolysis and human composting should be legalized in BC. The legalization of green death technology is not to replace the old ways of body disposal, but to give people more options for death care. We should have a choice on how much or little impact we want to leave on the Earth after we pass.
Provincial law about this is sooooooo held back, I agree!
I guess this technology is fairly new and also not well established in canada, I think pushing for this could do some good for BC! I wonder if there is any reason why legislation about this hasn't progressed.
I'm actually so shocked that in death, there are still forces that would prevent me from doing some that
1. I want
2. Is better for the environment.
It really says a lot about our society that giving ourselves back to the environment is illegal...
Hello! I was unaware that burial and cremation were the only LEGAL methods of body disposal in BC. As a person living in BC, attending UBC, and taking this course, that is horrific news. We advertise ourselves as being "green" but laws that enforce the non-ecological ways of death care? This is shocking. We really must raise awareness of green death technologies. We've got a long way to go!! Thanks for sharing!
I think if people in BC had greener options, then they would be the most popular! We totally need to put pressure on the government to make this possible!
Using human bodies for conservation projects like improving the nutrient composition of soils is a very intriguing idea. Thank you for highlighting that "green deaths" are not legal in BC. If more people knew about this, perhaps the BC government would follow in the footsteps of other provinces in Canada, and make green deaths legal.