Until now, the only alternatives we have for when we fall into eternal rest is the cremation or burial of our body, although the options could open up in the near future. New York recently became the sixth state in the United States to allow human composting.
This ecological alternative will allow the relatives of the deceased to use the compost as fertilizer and was approved on December 31, 2022. However, the Catholic Church did not like this idea very much and, for ethical reasons, they are against it.
What is human composting?
First, you will have to go through all the paperwork at the morgue and once the body is delivered, the funeral home will place it in a reusable deposit, where it will be covered with straw, wood chips and alfalfa. This plant matter will create the ideal environment for natural bacteria and microbes to do their job and break down the body over a 30-day period.
Once the process is finished, the result will be the equivalent of 36 bags of earth that can be used to cultivate new life, such as planting trees or enriching the land of forests and gardens.
What are the benefits of this alternative?
Despite having a high cost compared to a burial or cremation, this option is much more ecological, since it would save up to a ton of carbon dioxide, as well as wood or materials for coffins or other natural resources.
In addition, it must be taken into account that the implementation of composting would be very useful for cemeteries, since they have so many bodies that in the future they could run out of space. Although it might be strange at first, it can be comforting for families to have a living thing like a tree nourished by the remains of their loved one. It would be like giving it life again.
What does the Catholic Church think?
The bishops of New York spoke out against this legislation for ethical reasons, considering that it is not correct to treat human bodies as if they were “domestic waste”, considering this a lack of respect for the deceased.
Ultimately, each person decides what their will will be for when they leave this world and although it may seem strange to many, we cannot deny that it brings interesting benefits. Also, this method is legal in other parts of the world like Sweden.