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The Wastefulness of Death.docx

Not only does the process of preparing the body take

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13). Not only does the process of preparing the body take its toll on the environment, but graveyards must then have their lawns mowed, watered, and sprayed with pesticides and weed killers, which further adds pollutants into our oceans and rivers. Cremation and traditional stone-and-wood casket burial are not the only two options - burial options such as the traditional Jewish and Muslim method of wrapping a body simply in fabric, or the more modern method of the ‘plain pine box’ burial are practiced only by an increasing minority of modern day Americans (Harris 23). Largely, however, Americans have continued to follow the same wasteful burial methods that have even been banned in many European countries. Many Americans remain ignorant of the many options that are available to them for alternative burial methods, and refuse to make the shift to ‘green’ funeral options. One of the major reasons for that may be, sadly, that one most universal human characteristic: greed. It may be difficult for many of us to accept, but upon our loved one’s death, even the disposal of their bodies becomes a business. The manipulation and exploitation of grieving family members of the deceased has become a million-dollar business in modern America, as the average funeral costs the American family around $10,000 - for most families, the most expensive purchase they’ll ever make (Doughty 1). A young Californian mortician, Caitlin Doughty, investigated this crime when she discovered that many clients claimed that the funeral home that they entrusted their loved one’s body to had informed them it was illegal to not embalm a body (which is simply not true), to not have a traditional burial, or that ‘alternative’ green options were not available. What could be the answer to this question besides greed? Funeral homes make thousands of dollars every year by convincing Americans to shill out for the
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velvet-lined casket, the polished wood, or any number of luxuries for their deceased loved ones.
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  • Fall '09
  • DeCourcy
  • Cemetery, Funeral, Professor Andrew Bernstein

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