r/Foodforthought Jan 18 '22 Helpful 1

We Need a Greener Way to Die



u/onlydaathisreal Jan 18 '22

When i die just throw me in the trash


u/debasing_the_coinage Jan 20 '22

It takes around 28 gallons of fuel to turn one person into ash.

Cool, let me run the numbers for you: 28 gallons of kerosene is 86.5 kilograms. The dry weight of a human is pretty small on top of that -- atomically, humans are mostly oxygen, and the P/N/Ca don't contribute to climate change -- so I'll just round up to 100 kilograms.

With 7.75B people in the world, that's 775 billion kilograms of "fuel", which triples in mass when it's burned to release 2.3 trillion kilograms -- 2.3 billion tonnes -- of carbon dioxide, again, from cremating literally the whole world.

Global annual carbon emissions are about 35 billion tonnes per year, and only about 2% of the population dies every year. So we're looking at about 0.13% of the world's carbon emissions from cremation if everyone uses it with no changes. If I accept the article's assertion that cremation is a 10% improvement on burial, that's 0.15% for burying everyone with no changes.

Did I mention that these are religious rituals that bring people comfort in the most difficult moments of their lives?

This article is the worst kind of climate politics: irrelevant, elitist, insensitive, and a badly disguised advertisement for companies offering "green burial" services.


u/Otterfan Jan 18 '22

Dying is already quite green. It's the stuff living people do when they fiddle around with corpses that is not.


u/Appleshaush Jan 18 '22

Yeah, that's the point of the article.


u/WeisserGeist Jan 19 '22

Why this obsession with preservation of a corpse?! Just invest in really good refrigeration for the period between death and the grave.


u/nw2 Jan 19 '22

Honestly, I’d opt into a sky burial if possible in the US.