by Janet Asimov
As a practicing curmudgeon, I now take a deep breath and type feverishly that I am NOT going to write about there being too many people alive on planet Earth. Every intelligent humanist knows about overpopulation, and if you don’t, you are not only not intelligent but also not informed.
There is, however, a teensy problem that is going to get worse. There are also too many DEAD people. Cemeteries are filling up. Many years ago the wonderful science fiction writer Clifford Simak wrote a novel called “Cemetery Earth” which I think about frequently. In it, humanity has moved out to homes in other solar systems (this is fiction, remember) and Earth is used as a cemetery.
Now that you’re all turned off, let me assure you that there are solutions to the Dead Body problem. But first, I will explain what death is.
To read this entire Humanist Network News article, click here.
Hey Brian. Green burial is legal in every state in the U.S., so that's the way I want to go. However, each state has funerery practices that you would need to investigate. Here in Texas, 24hr. burial, 2 meters deep (about 6 ft.), and no serious communicable disease (though I don't know exactly what they are refering to).
I found a place outside Austin, Texas called Eloise Woods Community Natural Burial Park. Their website says, specifically;
* No embalming of the body
* No metal caskets
* No concrete grave liners
Bodies are wrapped in shrouds or other biodegradable containers and placed directly into the earth.
And they will also do your pets! This is what I want. To let my body nourish nature, just as nature has nourished me. And you never run out of room, as once your body is completely decomposed, another can be put in, on top of you, so to speak. Great.
I visited a Jewish cemetery in Prague, Czechoslovakia, where the Jewish people lived in a limited space. They could only be buried on one tract of land and over the centuries, they piled bodies on top of each other and moved the headstones up, so that each burial site had many tombstones. The bodies were 16 people deep. The wall outside the cemetery had to be built up as the centuries rolled on, creating a high wall and a pathway up to the top. On some of the tombstones were little pebbles, put there by descendants, I assume.
"The Pinkas Synagogue contains the entrance to the Old Jewish Cemetery Europe’s oldest surviving Jewish graveyard. Founded in the early 15th century, it has a palpable atmosphere of mourning even after two centuries of disuse (it was closed in 1787); however, remember that this is one of Prague’s most popular sights, so if you’re hoping to have a moment of quiet contemplation you’ll probably be disappointed. Around 12, 000 crumbling stones (some brought from other, long-gone cemeteries) are heaped together, but beneath them are perhaps 100, 000 graves, piled in layers because of the lack of space."