Green Unto Death

Suppose there was a way to reduce carbon emissions from a crematorium? And further suppose that way would mean that your loved one instead of being burned would be dissolved in a caustic potash solution that would turn the body into liquid and ash? Such a process now exists. It is called chemical hydrolysis and is becoming the subject of discussion in Belgium where the Flemish Association of Undertakers is seeking permission to use it. There is resistance to the change of course. The residue, ashes, can be disposed of in the same way as crematoria ashes, and there is a benefit to the environment. Still, our beliefs, superstitions, fears and customs about how to handle the bodies of those who are no longer with us, persist and influence what we should do.