• Question: How do you want to be disposed of when you're dead and why? e.g. buried, cremated

    Asked by jessica200500 to Alex, Claire, Kate, Marcus on 25 Jun 2014.
    • Photo: Alex Lyness

      Alex Lyness answered on 25 Jun 2014:

      Hey jessica200500,

      That sounds a bit like a threat! 😮

      Well when I do go (and I don’t want it to be far a while yet!) I’m on the organ donor list, so hopefully there won’t be too much left of me and what is left can be cremated and my ashes sprinkled someone nice/peaceful. I don’t really like the idea of decaying in a box!

      In some countries they are running out of flat burial grounds to bury people. I think in the future having somewhere where a body is buried and a headstone (like we still do now) will seem medieval. Maybe cremating people and having a nice place on the Internet for pictures and nice words from friends will be the way to go.

      There are plenty of eco/green arguments about which is the best way but death is very personal to individuals and can depend on religions or beliefs. There could also be new technologies that are developed in the future, like ‘cryomation’ which you can check out here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-14114555

      Why do you ask? How would you like to go?!

    • Photo: Marcus Johns

      Marcus Johns answered on 25 Jun 2014:

      I had a friend who actually did a research project on the most environmentally friendly way to be disposed of after dying. (There’s a Centre for Death & Society at the University of Bath!) Her research included two other methods to the usual cremation and burial options: one would be to be frozen in liquid nitrogen, making your whole body very brittle, and then crushed into dust; whilst the other is for your body to be dissolved in a vat of chemicals.

      Personally, I’d donate as much of my body as I possibly can as organ donations or to medical research. The rest could then be disposed of via the liquid nitrogen method – it’s better than cremation as it doesn’t produce carbon dioxide directly. Although I will admit that there is something tempting about being cremated and then subjecting the ashes to extreme temperature and pressure to create a diamond – this does require a lot of energy and would probably be very expensive though!

    • Photo: Claire Brockett

      Claire Brockett answered on 25 Jun 2014:

      Hey jessican200500
      Interesting question!
      Like Marcus and Alex, I am a registered organ donor, so depending on how I die, hopefully there are other people that will benefit from my organs!

      Apart from that I would like to donate my body for research and teaching. A lot of medical schools rely on donors so trainee doctors can learn anatomy through dissection. At the moment some of my research is working with donated human tissue, and I really appreciate the decision the donors have made, because we’re learning things that would be very difficult to do otherwise!

      However, like Marcus I’m also quite tempted to become a diamond 🙂

      How about you? What do you think?

    • Photo: Kate Niehaus

      Kate Niehaus answered on 25 Jun 2014:

      Hi there,

      Like the others, I am also an organ donor. Hopefully they can be put to good use! I really don’t know much about the environmental effects of different body disposal methods, so it’s been informative to read the other responses. I don’t know how common the liquid nitrogen method is, or how costly, so if I had to say now, I’d probably opt for cremation. It’s nice to think of my ashes being spread somewhere over the ocean or in a beautiful running park. But hopefully that is still a long ways from now!