They say nothing in life is as certain as death and taxes. Those and cliché recitation. Death comes to us all in our time, in our turn, whether we’re the humble farmer dying at his plough or the humble film star dying on the back of his door with a belt round his neck spaffing off like a beauty. It comes to us all, and if living has environmental consequences it seems inevitable death would have them too.
It’s hard to make death green. In the west we go for burial which means filling the ground with boxes, or cremation which creates a touch of CO2. Cavemen and cannibals probably did it better than us. When Barney Rubble died, Betty would have thrown him out on the street to rot, or let Dino gnaw at him until all that was left were bones for her neighbour’s hairdo. But we have to be careful that our efforts to help the environment don’t bring the downfall of civilisation, polite society and that rule that says I can’t eat your face. I suppose. It’s a conundrum, but worry not. Your old pal The Zero has been thinking hard about what to do with your body when you croak.
Most coffins in the UK are made from chipboard, so cheap are we when Auntie Doris carks it. You can understand why: if she’s cremated that mahogany box is the most expensive firewood going and if she’s buried no one’s going to see it for long. But chipboard’s crap. When buried it degrades as slowly as Auntie Doris spoke after her last stroke and leaks glue and chemicals into the earth as it goes.
Instead, when Zeroes die we can be buried or burnt in a coffin made from wicker, seagrass, bamboo or recycled cardboard, buried or scattered in a woodland site that plants a tree instead of a headstone, and forbid the use of formaldehyde on our bodies. We just need to make sure we tell our relatives, executors and enemies what we want or we could end up in a diesel-powered plastic coffin, resting forever in the concrete-floored cemetery they laid over the Ecuadorian rainforest.