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Human compost funerals 'better for environment'


They say for every person whose body composts rather than being cremated or buried a metric ton of carbon is saved from entering the environment involves taking a corpse and allowing natural microbes to break down the body turning the remains into nutrient rich soil here tells more about this is Caitlyn Dougherty she's a Los Angeles based mortician and death theorist welcome back thank you for having me back it's an exciting time to be into well yeah so clarify this process how does a work this body composting process it's very similar to what would happen in normal human decomposition in the soil it's just an accelerated version so we all know that burial space can cost quite a lot of money especially in a city like Los Angeles and the idea behind the composer human composting is having a center where families could come and the process of decomposing body would just be sped up a little bit and brought down to natural soil which could then be used to potentially grow things and grow a tree near coral blush it's very popular to think about becoming a treat now because I think it really speaks to our fears of climate change and our desire to become more a part of the natural world if those are your values in life I think the process like composting to recompose can really reflect that then in your test so people might have a visceral reaction to this and think wow that sounds kinda and disrespectful of the human body that we're not just a bunch of you know vegetable scraps in the compost pile first of all it absolutely depends on your point of view whether or not you think this is the most magical news you've ever heard decomposition and death is always a little messy cremation is burning a dead human body embalming is putting chemicals cancer causing chemicals into the human body alkaline hydrolysis which was just legalized two years ago in Los Angeles is putting potassium hydroxide and high heat water to do all the human body every method that we currently have to do something with the dead human body or something must be done has an element of the brutal to it if you choose to make about the sensationalist headlines okay so walk us through what would happen like if you were interested in that and someone you know dies and that person wants to be composted then what happens right I think it's three minutes between the state who who designed this method has actually given so much thought the idea of modern rituals and morning and the way that we more now in the twenty first century and the idea is to have these buildings these centers they're they're constructing one now in Seattle where was legalized last year and it would be a place where you would come and the family would be very much involved with this process they would come they would be able to sit with the body be with the body make some final ritual you know help wrap up the body maybe even put them in to the wood chips pour some water on top just just feeling like they are very much a part of this ritual on the part of this end of life and then it would be a certain amount of time and maybe maybe a month maybe a little bit longer and then they would be able to come back and either the soil could go to places that they have set up for soil to grow like forest that were pre designated or you could take a symbolic amount back to your own garden if that's meaningful to you it would be quite something to see a tree growing and you can look out your window and see that tree and think well part of that tree is you know my family yeah if not and to be clear date the way that they treat the compost that comes at the end of this process is the same way that you would treat cremated remains in the sense that it is not human remains we're not talking about pieces of mom in the complex the most the thing that really interested me about this process from the very beginning years ago was the idea that your microbes in your Adams and everything in your body completely transformed during the process anymore no longer human all you literally become the soil you're no longer just mom in some soil you become the soil so it would be totally safe and totally illegal if this bill passes to help some of the soil because it's not mom the same way that you're cremated remains are inorganic material they're not mom so it's gonna take awhile before this is past if it is passed and becomes law is there anything to do in the meantime that is environmentally conscious yeah there's there's lots of options green burial is it is a fantastic option which is just the body being put straight into the earth and in many ways what we're talking about composting is what would happen in green burial it would just take a little bit longer and you wouldn't get any of the soil back after the process it would be a grave that stays there forever there's also the option of pretty soon hopefully acclimation or alkaline hydrolysis which is finally it was passed two years ago but it's just now becoming legal this year in California which again is high heat water that dissolves the body which is an alternative to cremation and just be be open minded and interested as I said at this interesting time to be in death we have these new options and we're finally getting options for people who are more environmentally minded who want something different for themselves who want something looks expensive and perhaps the traditional funeral industry has been offering them and they're finally being heard and a bill like this is really exciting for that reason okay Lang thank you thank you so much that's Caitlyn Dougherty she's a Los Angeles based mortician and death

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