Burial wishes

A limited effort expended to try to find the comment thread where I explained my preference to be buried in a simple sheet without being embalmed – so as to better return to nature – hasn’t been immediately simple to find.

I really like this idea of making soil from the bodies of the dead. It reinforces the essential point that we are part of the biosphere of the Earth. Putting your remains temporarily in some sealed box is futile and unnatural. The relationship between a particular batch of atoms and molecules with consciousness remains a philosophical and scientific quandary, but it’s surely better to quickly become part of life again rather than be a toxic corpse in a box.

Obviously, any usable organs I possess should be used for transplants or research or practice by doctors, but whatever they don’t want I would like to see composted in the way proposed by the Urban Death Project.

Author: Milan

In the spring of 2005, I graduated from the University of British Columbia with a degree in International Relations and a general focus in the area of environmental politics. In the fall of 2005, I began reading for an M.Phil in IR at Wadham College, Oxford. Outside school, I am very interested in photography, writing, and the outdoors. I am writing this blog to keep in touch with friends and family around the world, provide a more personal view of graduate student life in Oxford, and pass on some lessons I've learned here.

9 thoughts on “Burial wishes”

  1. But now undertakers’ market power is being challenged on at least three fronts. One is changing customer demand. Driven in part by the decline of religion, and broader shifts in attitudes to death and dying, fewer bereaved are ready to cede their dead unthinkingly to an off-the-shelf burial. They prefer shrouds and woodland burials to coffins and graveyards; celebrations of life to sombre rituals in funeral homes; and video tributes to a life just lost to displays of the embalmed dead.

  2. Cremation, direct or otherwise, is not the only rival to old-fashioned burial. A study in 2015 found that over 60% of Americans in their 40s and older would consider a “green” burial, with no embalming and a biodegradable casket, if any. Five years before the proportion was just over 40%. Jimmy Olson, an undertaker in Wisconsin specialising in green funerals, says it is inconsistent “for someone who’s recycled all their life and drives a Prius to then be put under the ground in a concrete vault, plastic-sealed casket and with their body pumped full of chemicals.”

  3. When I was a criminal investigator I participated in 20 exhumations of coffins buried in concrete vaults. Fancy and expensive caskets. Without exception, after only a few years each casket had failed in some way, most often because of the so-called hermetic seal. The end result were contents which in no way resembled a sleeping loved one. From soupy flotsam to giant mould blooms, the interiors were hideous. Bottom line is, do not waste your money.

    Los Angeles

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