29 Oct '11, 11pm
As one environmentalist put it, essentially, a cemetery is a landfill.
The green-funeral movement is mostly about not putting bodies in the earth that are pumped full of formaldehyde that will eventually leach out into the ground. This wasn’t what they were talking about in the 19th century, but in some ways it’s a similar idea. Anybody who’s interested in sustainability will tell you it doesn’t make sense to put this stuff into the ground. You cannot imagine the range of things you can buy at the big funeral expos. You look at these huge, seven-gauge steel coffins lined with silk and nylon with special drawers for your mobile phone, and you realize it’s all just going into the ground. As one environmentalist put it, essentially, a cemetery is a landfill. So there’s a slightly different approach from the Victorian fear of being contaminated by the dead, but there is a contamination of sorts involved.