“Because death is momentous, miraculous and mysterious, because the cycles of nature help us grieve and heal, because our bodies are full of life-giving potential, we propose a new option for laying our loved ones to rest.”
The Urban Death Project utilizes the process of composting to “safely and gently” turn our deceased loved ones into compost, “creating a meaningful, equitable, and ecological” urban alternative to conventional burial, creating a solution to overcrowding of city cemeteries, a “sustainable” method of disposing of our dead, and a new “ritual” for laying our loved ones to rest.
“Traditional burial and cremation are devoid of meaning and culturally irrelevant ways to dealing with the deceased, in addition to being unnecessarily wasteful processes. A deep connection to the cycles of nature is critical in order for the dead to rest peacefully, and for the living to properly grieve.”
At the heart of the Urban Death Project is a three-story core, within which bodies and high-carbon materials are placed. Over the span of a few months, with the help of aerobic decomposition and microbial activity, the bodies decompose fully, leaving a rich compost. It is not simply a system for turning our bodies into soil-building material. It is also a space for the contemplation of our place in the natural world, and a ritual to help us say goodbye to our loved ones by connecting us with the cycles of nature.
If you would like to read more of Ms. Spade’s theories behind the Urban Death Project, her graduate thesis, “Of Dirt and Decomposition: Proposing a Resting Place for the Urban Dead,” is a 95 page ode to dirt and composting granny.
It’s true, funeral expenses are outrageous. With the cost of embalming, caskets, memorial services, grave sites and burial, expenses can be well over $12,000. But dumping granny at a composting site is carrying it a bit far. There are green cemeteries in most states where you can be buried without embalming, or a casket or headstone. Of course, as they become more popular I’m sure the states will be passing new laws to regulate them. We can’t have the “death industry” not getting their fair share.
While to some composing may be a friendly environmental perspective, I certainly would not use compost made from human remains on my garden. According to Natural News, the average human body is a toxic stew of lead, cadmium, mercury, fluorine, pesticides and other chemicals. Humans bio-accumulate and concentrate the toxins of modern agriculture, animal feed, toxic medicine and toxic home building materials.
Composing doesn’t eliminate heavy metals, toxic chemicals or prions, the folded proteins associated with Mad Cow Disease so it isn’t rocket science to realize that if you grow good using composted bodies that are contaminated, then you get a toxic food supply that can cause even more disease and death.
But even worse, we live in a culture of death, where society has already lost sight of the very concept of individual rights and human rights as protected by the Bill of Rights. How long would it take before composting human remains becomes mandatory? And if human remains become a substantial portion of the nutrients needed to grow food, how long before forced euthanasia of the elderly, disabled, unemployed, dissidents, political enemies, etc., would become the norm?
Just look at China, where black market organs are bought and sold for profit, where political prisoners are routinely arrested, imprisoned and killed for their “fresh” organs.
I’ve always told my children that when I die, don’t mourn, celebrate the life I led for my soul has returned home to be with God. I never thought that I might have to add – please don’t compost me.
“Life is hard. Then you die. Then they throw dirt in your face. Then the worms eat you. Be grateful it happens in that order.” David Gerrald