Don’t take us all with you.
I have a rendezvous with death, at some disputed barricade. Then badminton with fate, at some local authority leisure centre. Got to keep busy.
Death comes to us all in our time, in our turn, whether we’re the humble farmer dying at her plough or the humble movie 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 much like being alive, the act of dying can be harmful not just to your health but to the environment.
Every year millions of dead people decide to get buried, taking up precious space that could otherwise go to rewilding this concrete-covered hellhole. When we’re slung in the ground it’s often in laminated chipboard or MDF coffins that leak a ton of glue and chemicals as they rot. And we’re often marinated in formaldehyde and other embalming fluids that are as toxic as yer basic masculinity. Millions of other corpses decide to get cremated, each spewing about 400kg of CO2 into the air.
Honestly, cavemen and cannibals had this figured better than us. When Barney Rubble died, Betty would have just thrown him out on the street to rot, or let Dino gnaw at him until there was nothing left but bones for Wilma’s hairdo. That’s how she got them. That’s canon. But while acknowledging the environmental harm of dying, we have to ensure our efforts don’t bring about the downfall of civilisation, polite society and that rule that says I can’t eat your face. I suppose.
Happily, we have options. If we insist on a burial we can go for a coffin made from more sustainable materials such as bamboo, wicker, cardboard or banana leaf, or from solid wood rather than gluey MDF shit. We can ask not to be pumped full of carcinogenic preservatives, and we can go for a vertical burial to take up less space and give our death an eternal Weekend At Bernie’s vibe. If we go for cremation we can get a biodegradable urn and get mixed in with baby tree roots, helping rewild the place even after we’re gone. And then there’s the kind of stuff Margaret Atwood would come up with: Getting wrapped in a mushroom shroud to detoxify our bodies and kick off future cults; and getting dissolved in Resomators, in what I assume is the first step in the Soylent Green supply chain.
The big thing is to tell people what you want and slap that shit in your will, or we’ll end up getting buried in diesel-fuelled plastic coffins, spending our eternal rest in the concrete-floored cemetery they laid over the Ecuadorian rainforest. Personally, I’m going for the most environmentally-friendly option of all: avoiding death completely, getting myself a couple of Horcruxes and reserving a slot on the back of some guy’s head.
Save the goddamn world
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