This is the last of a 3-part radio series I have contributed to for CBC’s long running Ideas programme. Just when anthropologists like myself get exasperated that “the world is getting smaller and smaller” there’s nothing like a programme like this to remind us all that there is great diversity – such as in how death and dying are encountered today – even between seemingly similar English-speaking countries like Canada and Britain!
Burying the dead can be hazardous to our health. Every year, across North America, enough embalming fluid is used to fill a swimming pool, and enough metal to build another Golden Gate Bridge. Cremation can be toxic too, creating vapours from mercury fillings and hip implants. Against this backdrop, IDEAS producer Mary O’Connell concludes her three-part series with a look at the burgeoning green burial movement and its message of de-corporatizing death.