February 27, 2024

New York passes human fertilization law

Howard Fisher, a 63-year-old investor who lives in North New Yorkwe weHe has a wish when he dies. He wants his remains to be potted, processed by tiny microbes, and composted in rich fertile soil.

“I am committed to composting my body and my family knows that,” he said. I’d rather it happen in New York, where I live, than anywhere else in the country. “

Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul signed a bill last Saturday, 31, to legalize natural and organic reduction, better known as human fertilization. Thus, New York became the sixth state in the United States to allow this method of burial.

Washington state became the first US state to legalize human fertilization in 2019, followed by Colorado and Oregon in 2021 and Vermont and California in 2022.

For Fisher, this alternative, an environmental method of burial, is consistent with his philosophical views on life: living in an environmentally conscious way.

The process goes like this: a person’s body is placed in a reusable container accompanied by plant materials such as wood chips, alfalfa seeds, and straw. The organic blend creates the perfect habitat for microbes to naturally thrive and do the work, breaking down your body quickly and efficiently in about one month.

The end result is a mound of nutrient-dense soil, equivalent to 36 bags of soil, which can be used to plant trees or enrich conservation lands, forests and gardens.

In urban areas like New York, where land is limited, this can be seen as a very attractive alternative to burial.

The container used in the human composting study at Washington State University
The container used in the human composting study at Washington State University

Michelle Minter, director of the Greensprings Cemetery Conservation Center in central New York, said the foundation would “strongly consider” this method as an alternative. “It’s definitely more in line with what we’re doing,” he added.

a Cemetery The 52-hectare nature preserve and set amidst a protected forest offers ecological and natural burials, when bodies are placed in a biodegradable container and then in a grave where they can completely decompose.

“Anything we can do to get people away from concrete ceilings and luxury boxes and formaldehyde we must do and support,” she said. But not everyone agrees with this idea.

The New York State Catholic Council, a group representing bishops in the state, has long opposed the law and called the burial method “inappropriate.”

“A process that is perfectly appropriate for returning plant debris to soil is not necessarily appropriate for human bodies,” Dennis Post, the organization’s executive director, said in a statement. “Human corpses are not household waste and we do not believe the process meets the criteria for the reverent treatment of our remains,” he added.

It continues after the announcement

Katrina Speed, founder of Recompose, an eco-friendly funeral home in Seattle that offers human composting, said the company has an alternative for people who want to align the disposal of their remains with the way they live.

“This feels like a movement” among the environmentally conscious, she said. “Cremation uses fossil fuels, and burial uses a lot of land with a carbon footprint,” Katrina said. “For many people, the idea of ​​turning into soil that can later become a garden or a tree is a very cool idea.” /News agency