Discussing North Korea recently, the journalist Christopher Hitchens reflected darkly that, bad as things are in the Communist country, “at least you can die.” Well, it seems that Kim Jong Il and his merry band have one up on the West. For, here in the free world, even death does not guarantee you escape from the unwanted attentions of the green movement. A Scottish company, whose staff have clearly spent many a long, dark night of the soul fretting over the hazards posed by the greenhouse-gas emissions and energy consumption of funeral-parlor cremation ovens, has developed a new system that literally liquefies human bodies.
The system, which dissolves corpses in heated alkaline water and then smashes the bones up for good measure, has been successfully tested in Australia, and parent company Resomation Ltd. is trying to get the law changed in Europe, the United Kingdom, and all 50 U.S. states to expand the practice. The technique was allegedly “developed in response to the public’s increasing environmental concerns.” I must confess that the mercury content of the burning corpse has never been at the top of the bereaved’s list of concerns at any funeral I have attended, but perhaps I am underestimating the comfort that knowing your late loved one is in for three hours of chemical dissolution — and some good mechanical bone-cracking to boot — can bring to the disconsolate, especially if the procedure is undertaken in the name of environmental purity. Come on Gaia, let’s stick one to Big Death!
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