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chevbrock
02-18-2010, 04:12 AM
My characters, husband and wife, die at the same time. As they lived their lives with the utmost concern for their world and all who live in it, I wanted to make sure their sendoff does not constitute a large, metaphorical, middle finger salute to the environment.

So, my questions are:

1. Is it more environmentally sound to be buried or cremated? Of course, my characters will be using the new-style environmentally friendly coffins made of cardboard, rather than of rainforest timbers (or is there something even better around than that?). They could be buried or cremated together to save space and/or power. If cremation is the way to go, rather than using a furnace running on coal-generated electricity, would it be feasible to have a furnace running from solar panels on the funeral home roof?

2. What sort of environmentally-friendly materials would they use as a headstone?

3. What sort of environmentally-friendly transport could they use? Perhaps a hybrid-powered hearse?

4. I'm thinking they would have a funeral plan paid for with a specific company who could fulfill their wishes, while they were alive. Would these details be included in the will, or would they have to rely on a living relative/friend to know this and inform the funeral home of their death?

Thank you!

Chase
02-18-2010, 04:34 AM
I'm 68 years old and have planned this quite a while. Mine will be no traditional "funeral," per se, but a more ancient tradition of rejoining the cycle from which I sprang.

I've already donated my body to the county. It's part of my living will with appropriate notifications. For all I care, after any usable organs are harvested, the county can transport my remains in a beat up F-100 pickup from wherever they happen to be to wherever they will do the most good.

What's left can be used for the delight or education of student nurses . . . or perhaps experiment material by county crime scene or accident investigators. Bear bait or fish food would be okay, too.

frimble3
02-18-2010, 05:38 AM
My characters, husband and wife, die at the same time. As they lived their lives with the utmost concern for their world and all who live in it, I wanted to make sure their sendoff does not constitute a large, metaphorical, middle finger salute to the environment.

So, my questions are:

1. Is it more environmentally sound to be buried or cremated? Of course, my characters will be using the new-style environmentally friendly coffins made of cardboard, rather than of rainforest timbers (or is there something even better around than that?). They could be buried or cremated together to save space and/or power. If cremation is the way to go, rather than using a furnace running on coal-generated electricity, would it be feasible to have a furnace running from solar panels on the funeral home roof? Burial 'back to the earth', providing nutrients, etc. would be the way to go. I think they would have trouble finding a crematiorium that used solar power.
Their big problem is going to be local regulations (health department, I think), there are rules about where/how you can dispose of bodies. If they lived out in a rural area, unincorporated, it might be possible for them to be buried on their own property.

2. What sort of environmentally-friendly materials would they use as a headstone? Stone? Are they really hung up on having a headstone? Wouldn't the idea of 'leaving nothing behind but a footprint' appeal to them? If not, a nice local boulder, dragged into position by horse, handcarved names by a local mason.

3. What sort of environmentally-friendly transport could they use? Perhaps a hybrid-powered hearse? Horse power. It would be too much to hope that they could locally source an old horse-drawn hearse (some of them were magnificent, and a local musuem might have one) but any flat backed cart or wagon could be decorated in black bunting. If the area is at all agricultural, there may be someone around who exhibits carriage horses, and might have a suitable black vehicle.

4. I'm thinking they would have a funeral plan paid for with a specific company who could fulfill their wishes, while they were alive. Would these details be included in the will, or would they have to rely on a living relative/friend to know this and inform the funeral home of their death?
Put it in the will, but have a friend/relative in the know, certainly whoever is thier next of kin. The funeral home frequently gets the body before the will is read. If they've already started embalming, it's a little late to holler 'Oops!' :
Thank you! So much depends on where all this takes place, town, city, rural area, and the circumstances of their death (if the deaths are suspicious, the police will want to check things out before any disposal.

Priene
02-18-2010, 07:25 AM
Woodland Burial Parks (http://www.woodlandburialparks.co.uk/).

Canotila
02-18-2010, 09:46 AM
There is a company in Sweden that will compost your remains. They're actually starting to gain in popularity.

http://www.squidoo.com/composting-the-dead

http://blogcritics.org/culture/article/eco-burial-turns-corpse-to-compost/

It might be considered extreme in your character's culture, so not sure if it fits in with them as something they'd do.

CatSlave
02-18-2010, 10:46 AM
Green funerals (http://planetgreen.discovery.com/go-green/funerals/)

RobinGBrown
02-18-2010, 11:56 AM
If cremation is the way to go, rather than using a furnace running on coal-generated electricity, would it be feasible to have a furnace running from solar panels on the funeral home roof?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cremation

'Modern cremator fuels include natural gas (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_gas) and propane (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Propane). However, coal (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coal) and coke (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coke_(fuel)) were used until the early 1960s'

'A cremation furnace is not designed to cremate more than one body at a time'

A solar powered electric crematorium would have a lot of trouble vaporising a human body...

DrZoidberg
02-18-2010, 12:17 PM
Two friends of my family's last dying wish was to be buried in a cardboard box. Neither of them did it for the environment though. They just wanted people not to worry about things that they didn't care about, like burials or any religious ceremonies. One of them didn't get his wish fulfilled though. His family cremated him anyway. The other did get his wish, even though his wealthy Jewish family was quite upset by it. They did manage to find a cardboard coffin that looked really nice. Those are marketed as environmentally friendly.

But a stone head-stone would be environmentally friendly. I've seen a few that look like natural rock, with just names cut into the rough surface. The most environmentally friendly would probably be an unmarked grave. Then there would be nothing.

chevbrock
02-18-2010, 12:21 PM
Thanks heaps for the info, and plenty of links to freak the hubby out next time he looks in the "favourites" box!

I kinda thought that cremation would be the more environmentally friendly of the two methods, for although it produces more greenhouse gases, I thought it would emit more gases to clear the land, mow the lawn regularly, etc. Not to mention habitats being destroyed and replaced with acres of treeless lawn. But there you go, huh...

Again, I appreciate all your time and efforts. Thanks a whole heap!

Shakesbear
02-18-2010, 01:31 PM
A couple of years ago I followed a funeral - the 'coffin' was a large wicker work basket and it was on a horse drawn cart. The mourners were all walking behind the cart. The horses were Shire Horses - very large and very strong - and they pulled the cart along the road very easily. There was a lady at the head of one of the horses and she was directing them. It was a strange procession though, as every one seemed very chatty and happy, but also dignified. When we came to a straight piece of road the lady with the horse waved me on - which I did very slowly. She took her hat off to me as I came level with her and nodded her head at me. If my memory and the glimpse I had of her in the car mirror are accurate she was wearing a black jacket and trousers with a bright red waistcoat.

backslashbaby
02-19-2010, 12:31 AM
Thanks heaps for the info, and plenty of links to freak the hubby out next time he looks in the "favourites" box!

I kinda thought that cremation would be the more environmentally friendly of the two methods, for although it produces more greenhouse gases, I thought it would emit more gases to clear the land, mow the lawn regularly, etc. Not to mention habitats being destroyed and replaced with acres of treeless lawn. But there you go, huh...

Again, I appreciate all your time and efforts. Thanks a whole heap!

That would depend on where the person was buried. In Austria & Switzerland, I saw a lot of little church graveyards that had wildflowers on them. If you plant flowers instead of grass, it can be very environmentally friendly.

Driving around rural NC, you'll see family plots on private property. Often there are goats that graze :) Don't forget the grazing animals when thinking of 'greenness'. They keep things quite clear without mowers! They need to eat :)

hammerklavier
02-19-2010, 12:36 AM
It's your book and, if it's also set in Australia (where you get plenty of sun), then you write up a solar crematorium. I envision a bunch of large parabolic mirrors out in the desert aimed at a central platform where they would place the bodies. It would probably take several hours, but from magnifying glass experiments conducted in my youth, I think it should work.

The only drawback (besides a longer cooking time) would be the cost of the facility. Such setups are generally only done as government subsidized power generating stations.

CatSlave
02-19-2010, 02:56 AM
Another option is a Tibetan Sky Burial, which at first glance is gruesome but meets the requirements of supporting the environment.
Native Americans also used this method or something similar, I believe.

StephanieFox
02-19-2010, 05:11 AM
Jews do not embalm and they bury their dead wrapped in only a shroud. They use a plain pine coffin.

Fern
02-19-2010, 10:51 PM
A Pine box would be my suggestion also. Also, if not embalming, there is a regulation on burying within a certain length of time.

As for headstones - you could use a regular headstone, just make it from stone that is available in your area. Call your local tombstone sales person to find out that information.

StephanieFox
02-26-2010, 07:42 PM
Headstones: What's so envornmentally unfriendly about a rock? Even a rock with carvings in it. That sounds pretty friendly to me.

Zoroastrians do sky burials, too. http://legacy.signonsandiego.com/uniontrib/20060908/news_lz1n8read.html

smcc360
02-26-2010, 09:11 PM
Alkaline hydrolysis: The funeral of the future!

http://alkalinehydrolysis.com/

...or the organized crime body-disposal method of the future. Take your pick.

shaldna
03-15-2010, 03:32 AM
1. Is it more environmentally sound to be buried or cremated? [quote]

Buried.

[quote]If cremation is the way to go, rather than using a furnace running on coal-generated electricity, would it be feasible to have a furnace running from solar panels on the funeral home roof?

On the surface of the sun maybe. But in truth solar panels simplycannot generate enough energy at a constant enough rate to run a furnaace.


2. What sort of environmentally-friendly materials would they use as a headstone?

Stone is fine, or a wooden plaque


3. What sort of environmentally-friendly transport could they use? Perhaps a hybrid-powered hearse?

No. Not happening with a hearse. Although you can get some wonderful horse drawn hearses that are very popular here in Ireland.


4. I'm thinking they would have a funeral plan paid for with a specific company who could fulfill their wishes, while they were alive. Would these details be included in the will, or would they have to rely on a living relative/friend to know this and inform the funeral home of their death?

Often a will isn't read until after a funeral, so they may want to put something in writing for a family member, and make their wishes known verbally.

shadowwalker
03-15-2010, 03:34 AM
My brother has told me - in total seriousness - that he wants to be composted. I fully intend to follow his wishes. How, I'm not sure, but I will.

shaldna
03-15-2010, 03:18 PM
My brother has told me - in total seriousness - that he wants to be composted. I fully intend to follow his wishes. How, I'm not sure, but I will.


I want a childrens choir to sing 'Ding dong the witch is dead' It'll make my friends laugh, and that's sort of the point. I don't think people should be sad at funerals.

But then I'm Irish, and at funnerals people are sad during the service, then they start remembering things, and start laughing, and then drinking, and by half past four there's a rowdy chorus of showtunes going on, someone is telling stories about teh deceased and everyone if focused on celebrating someones life, not mouring thier death.

That's what I would like. I'm even going to pay for the drinks.

shadowwalker
03-15-2010, 07:46 PM
I want a childrens choir to sing 'Ding dong the witch is dead' It'll make my friends laugh, and that's sort of the point. I don't think people should be sad at funerals.

But then I'm Irish, and at funnerals people are sad during the service, then they start remembering things, and start laughing, and then drinking, and by half past four there's a rowdy chorus of showtunes going on, someone is telling stories about teh deceased and everyone if focused on celebrating someones life, not mouring thier death.

That's what I would like. I'm even going to pay for the drinks.

Yeah - my brother doesn't want a funeral at all, but he's getting one. Funerals are for the living. And I know what you mean about the wake. My mother's side was Scots-Irish and funerals were always big celebrations. My dad's side were Norwegian Lutherans - totally somber and hushed. Not sure which were more "healing" but I know which were more fun :D

CatSlave
03-15-2010, 09:33 PM
A dear friend knew she was dying of cancer and had enough time to make her own arrangements.
She donated her body to science and planned a huge crab feast and beer fest to be held six months after her death,
time enough to get past the initial grief.
Everyone she knew attended, and it was a wonderful party for the dearly departed.

I like to think her spirit was with us that day.


Rest in peace, Bev.