No longer will the options when we die be a choice between just burial or cremation. Soon it will be possible to compost your remains and leave your loved ones with rich soil, thanks to a new funeral service opening in Seattle in 2021 that will convert humans into soil in just 30 days, as The Independent reported.
Olson Kundig<p>The project has been in the works since 2016 when Recompose founder and CEO Katrina Spade and her team collaborated with architects to create a prototype facility, according to <a href="https://www.fastcompany.com/90434525/the-worlds-first-human-composting-facility-could-help-us-recycle-ourselves" target="_blank">Fast Company</a>.</p> <p>However, the project only got off the ground after Washington became the <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/washington-human-body-composting-2637805371.html" rel="noopener noreferrer">first state to explicitly allow natural organic reduction for human remains</a>, or human composting. The law, which will go into effect in May 2020, allows funeral homes to accelerate the process of turning human remains into soil, which allows for environmentally friendly burials in urban and suburban areas that do not have wide-open tracts of land available for burial, according to <a href="https://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/funeral-green-burial-climate-change-environment-soil-composting-recompose-seattle-a9238896.html?utm_source=reddit.com" target="_blank">The Independent</a>. </p> <p>Recompose uses stacked hexagonal vessels, resembling a honeycomb, to store dead bodies. The bodies sealed in the hexagonal tubes are covered in woodchips, alfalfa and hay. There the temperature is regulated, the dirt is aerated, and conditions are optimized for bacteria to breakdown organic matter over the course of several weeks, as <a href="https://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/funeral-green-burial-climate-change-environment-soil-composting-recompose-seattle-a9238896.html?utm_source=reddit.com" target="_blank">The Independent</a> reported.</p> <p>"We asked ourselves how we could use nature – which has perfected the life/death cycle – as a model for human death care," said Katrina Spade, as <a href="https://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/funeral-green-burial-climate-change-environment-soil-composting-recompose-seattle-a9238896.html?utm_source=reddit.com" target="_blank">The Independent</a> reported. "We saw an opportunity for this profound moment to both give back to the earth and reconnect us with these natural cycles."</p> <p>A single body plus the woodchips, alfalfa and hay will net one cubic yard of soil, or several wheelbarrows full. Some families will take the soil home to use, while others can donate it to conservation projects on the slopes of Bells Mountain in Washington, according to the <a href="https://www.seattletimes.com/life/recompose-the-human-composting-project-finds-a-home-in-seattles-sodo/" target="_blank">Seattle Times.</a></p> <p>"These days, some families regard even ashes from cremation as a burden, not a joy," Spade said to the <a href="https://www.seattletimes.com/life/recompose-the-human-composting-project-finds-a-home-in-seattles-sodo/" target="_blank">Seattle Times.</a>. "As in, 'we've had these ashes in the garage for six years.' And we're creating a cubic yard of soil."</p>
- Bill Gates Unveils Toilet That Transforms Waste Into Fertilizer ... ›
- Washington Becomes First State to Legalize Human Body Composting ›
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Karin Klein
There are times when I don't know what to do with myself. I feel at odds with the world, irritated by the people in it, in a funk about myself and what I'm achieving or, rather, not achieving, overwhelmed by the obstacles and complications of life. Happiness seems like an entirely elusive state of being.
By Jeremy David Engels
On June 21, on International Yoga Day, people will take out their yoga mats and practice sun salutations or sit in meditation. Yoga may have originated in ancient India, but today is practiced all over the world.
By Elizabeth West
What can we do? We are without doubt in an historically unique and incredibly challenging position. The Anthropogenic extinction is here, now. It is not something we are anticipating or awaiting. It is upon us. Today, we are in it, watching the life we have known unravel on a hundred different fronts. And I find myself asking with crazy-making regularity: how can I—one ordinary human amongst 7.5 billion—honor this extraordinary time with whatever gifts and goods I happen to be carrying?
By Wahyu Chandra
In a remote village on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi lies a small garden of near-mythic repute—a place whose stewards grow not mere plants, but hopes and cures that have served the community for generations.
Packed into a single hectare (2.5 acres) in a Pakuli Induk village, in the Central Sulawesi province, are 400 different types of herbal plants, first collected and grown by Sahlan, a shaman or sando, from the Kaili tribe.
By Rhea Suh
It wasn't enough to hijack a ceremony to honor Navajo code talkers so he could deride a U.S. senator as "Pocahontas." President Trump now plans to go to Utah on Monday to decimate the Bears Ears National Monument, public land that's sacred to five tribes of Native Americans.
Not content to relegate a historic figure to a partisan punch line, Trump is poised to build on a shameful legacy of betraying indigenous Americans. He is breaking a solemn promise to forever safeguard ancestral lands that speak to vital parts of our country's history.
By Gabriella Rutherford
In what its chairperson deemed "one of the most difficult decisions the board has ever made," the Hawai'i Board of Land and Natural Resources last week approved construction of the controversial Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) on top of Mauna a Wakea (Mauna Kea).
The decision has been met with fierce criticism.
By Cher Gilmore
A recent Wall Street Journal editorial crowed "Coal Makes a Comeback," touting the 14.5 percent increase in weekly coal production nationwide in 2017 compared to 2016 and the 58 percent increase in exports during the first quarter alone. That newspaper views the economic growth in coal-producing states like West Virginia, New Mexico and Kentucky stimulated by the current administration's policies as something to celebrate, and the editors conclude that "there's still demand for U.S. coal if regulators allow energy markets to work."
While the increase in coal production and use may be good news for coal companies and the states to which they pay taxes, economic growth is not the only thing to consider when weighing the costs and benefits of an activity. What about the beautiful Appalachian mountain landscapes completely destroyed by "mountaintop removal" and the streams and aquifers filled with toxic mining waste? What about the "black lung" disease suffered by too many miners, and the deaths from collapsed mines? And, perhaps most significantly, what about the fact that coal-burning plants are some of the biggest emitters of the greenhouse gases causing global warming and wreaking havoc on the planet?
Are we entering a new Dark Age? Lately it seems so. News reports are enough to make anyone want to crawl into bed and hide under the covers. But it's time to rise and shine. To resolve the crises humanity faces, good people must come together.
It's one lesson from Charlottesville, Virginia. It would be easy to dismiss the handful of heavily armed, polo-shirted, tiki-torch terrorists who recently marched there if they weren't so dangerous and representative of a disturbing trend that the current U.S. president and his administration have emboldened.
On Monday, Aug. 21, people living in the continental U.S. will be able to see a total solar eclipse.
Humans have been alternatively amused, puzzled, bewildered and sometimes even terrified at the sight of this celestial phenomenon. A range of social and cultural reactions accompanies the observation of an eclipse. In ancient Mesopotamia (roughly modern Iraq), eclipses were in fact regarded as omens, as signs of things to come.
Just yesterday at my local supermarket checkout line, I was innocently asked why I needed to pick up a pair of solar eclipse glasses. "Um, because I could go blind," I responded. "You should get a pair, too."
You see, I happen to live on the South Carolina coast, which is right on the path of totality and the last stop of the Great American Eclipse of 2017 (it's unofficial nickname). Many people are getting excited for this special event, and it's clear that some of you have pertinent questions. I'm here to help.
I'm a huge Trevor Hall fan so when I saw he was playing in my hometown of Cleveland, I was stoked. I knew seeing the show would be fantastic, but I was also thinking an interview with Trevor would be something really cool to give EcoWatch readers. So, lucky enough, I was offered an interview and was able to hop on my paddleboard from Whiskey Island on the shore of Lake Erie, head up the Cuyahoga River and get to the Music Box Supper Club just in time to chat with Trevor before the show.
"My dad was a drummer, so most my musical influence comes from my dad," Trevor said during our nearly hour interview. "Growing up, my dad had this CD collection in the hallway and I was always fascinated by all the CDs. My hobby was pulling out a CD that looked cool and I'd put it on the stereo and pretend I was rocking out. My dad was really into The Doobie Brothers, Allman Brothers, Earth Wind & Fire, Simply Red, and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young."