Alkaline hydrolysis and water cremation may not be words that are familiar to you yet. But for many communities around Canada and the USA they are rapidly becoming a regular part of our cremation vocabulary.
Change is difficult. Not changing is fatal.– William Pollard
It’s not easy to bring about change. But as history has shown us, change is inevitable. Refusal to change can sometimes lead to calamitous results.
Cremation Options in BC
Here in BC — our green paradise — we’re very limited in what happens to our body or the body of a loved one after we die. We have just two options: cremation or burial, neither of which are truly environmental nor sustainable.
Other places in North America have more options that are more eco-friendly. For instance, in 2019, Washington State Governor Jay Inslee signed SB 5001 legalizing natural organic reduction (or recomposition) and alkaline hydrolysis. In Ontario and Saskatchewan, alkaline hydrolysis is available.
What is Alkaline Hydrolysis?
Instead of using flame to cremate a person’s body, this process combines an alkaline solution with pressure and heat to remove soft tissue and leave just the bones. The final bone remains are processed into fine powdered ash for return to the family in an urn. This process is sometimes referred to as water cremation or aquamation.
Recomposition and alkaline hydrolysis are far more eco-friendly because they don’t burn natural gas. Many people see them as gentler and more natural alternatives to flame-based cremation.
Some people see these alternatives as “icky.” But if we think about it, flame-based cremation was considered “icky” in its time as well. In the late 19th century, it was considered radical and against the norm. These days, no one would bat an eyelash. In fact, the majority of British Columbians chose cremation over burial. With increasing awareness, many have been questioning why there aren’t greener alternatives available.
In response to this need, a coalition in BC has been formed. The people guiding it are already involved in funeral services and end-of-life care. However, legislators are more willing to listen if it’s driven by the voting public.
Our desire to change must be greater than our desire to stay the same.– Shannon Kaiser
Environmentally Friendly Death Care
If you believe that we should have greener ways to deal with our bodies after we die, sign the petition here. There are about 900 British Columbians who have already signed. Help us reach a thousand (and more) signatures!
If you’d like to send a personal note of support for aquamation to Hon Mike Farnworth, please email your comments to mike.farnworth.MLA@leg.bc.ca
Again, here’s the link to the petition. Please send the link to family and friends who care about green options at the end of life. You can make a difference!