Saturday, April 11, 2009

Just When I Thought I Had Seen Everything

Photo courtesy Austrian Times.

We all know the evils of air-conditioning and all the ways to cool an area naturally such as planting a tree or two; or, digging into the ground a bit to benefit from some of that natural, all-surrounding cool.

However, in the true tradition of “too much is never enough”, those who are so inclined are now able to purchase an air-conditioned casket in case being sheltered by the earth won't keep their loved one cool enough.

Embalming is not customary in Serbia; so, adequate refrigeration of the deceased until burial is crucial in hot weather. These coffins are designed to keep the occupant at a below-freezing temperature until burial to prevent damage from heat and decomposition. The manufacturer says it is designed to keep bodies "fresh" prior to burial in hot summer months.

However, it turns out that air-conditioned coffins have become a sort of status symbol and potential aid to a more comfortable journey to the hereafter. This rage started in Novi Sad; but, these caskets are now flying off the shelves whenever, wherever they can be found at a whopping £4,500 ($6,600 US) each.

The purchasers buy these casket "in hopes they will have a more comfortable afterlife." The Daily Star quotes: "People imagine they want to feel comfortable in a coffin. "They feel they want to be as relaxed as possible as they make their journey to the next world."

There is no information about whether the coffins would continue to freeze the deceased after their burial.

Promessa Organic AB may seem an odd name for a burial business. That is until you learn they’ve developed an environmentally-friendly way to lay your loved one to rest.

Within about 10 days of death, the body is frozen in liquid nitrogen, making it very brittle. Once vibrated, it turns into an organic powder. In a vacuum chamber any water is evaporated away to leave a dry power (about 1/3 of original weight). A metal detector removes surgical pins, dental amalgams and such forth. The remains are then placed in a corn or potato starch coffin, to be buried in a shallow grave. Within 12 months, or less, this has composted in a loam soil.

One of the suggestions made (my favourite) is to plant a tree, bush, or other living, growing thing at the burial. This way my body will nourish a new living thing; my loved ones will have a living, green reminder of me and I will be where I love to be - in the good, brown earth.

The first facility opened in Sweden in 2005.

Did You Know that a cremation can use up to 23 litres (6 gal) of fluid oil and 0.5kg (1.1 lb) of activated carbon, while adding an annual contribution of 1/3 of total mercury emissions in Sweden?

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