Good Enough for Desmond Tutu

Written by on February 21, 2024

Good Enough for Desmond Tutu – by Liam Sweeny.

Death is a difficult thing. Not so much for the dead, because they’re dead. I am a big fan of Purgatory, which means I don’t think there are that many people in Hell. So in my rosy view, once you’re dead, you’re either at the pearly gates or on the treadmill to shape up for the pearly gates. Either way, your earthly remains are not your problem.

But they can be a problem for those you left behind. So this is about cremation. Sort of. A lot of people going for cremation. But did you know that the average cremation creates 535 pounds of carbon? Tree huggers may have to, in fact, cut down their huggie tree to fuel their own cremation, if they go that route. Now I’m a big guy. I don’t want to tell you how close to 535 pounds I am on my own. They’re going to have to cut down a redwood for me.

But alas, there is another option. It’s called alkaline hydrolysis. It’s hydro-, so, water. Basically, they put you in a canister with water and some very alkaline stuff, and it breaks you down into ash. It’s like in Breaking Bad, when they got plastic containers and tried to get rid of a body using hydrofluoric acid. Except this literally the exact opposite. It’s alkaline, so over 7 on the pH.

There is a bill in the Maryland legislature to make this legal in the D.C. area. It is legal in North Carolina, and they’re a lot of that good DC business. A lot of North Carolina transplant funerals.

I don’t know why this isn’t legal everywhere. I mean, dump a guy in a vat of liquid and, no flame, no heat, he’s reduced to ash. Bishop Desmond Tutu went this way. I get that there are sanitation and containment issues. I’m not suggesting we should be able to have our bodies dashed against the rocks and be consumed by wolves, though wolves would probably do the best job of getting rid of the body. Or maybe pigs. But if there’s a good way to reduce a body to something we can put in an urn, why not go for it?

What produces more pollution? A body in a vat of spicy water, or the highway that brought the poor fella to need that vat? See? See?



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