I just stumbled upon an incredibly depressing and frightening article in the NY Times that I thought merited sharing.
In 2016 two climatologists published a study in a prestigious journal called Science where they were able to quantify the relationship between carbon dioxide and the Arctic’s summer sea ice. They found that each metric ton of CO2 shrinks the ice by 3 square meters or 32 square feet.
Obviously, aquamation doesn’t solve all of our environmental problems, but I thought that putting it in the context of something as vivid and beautiful as the Arctic would be interesting.
My medium sized company, working with hospitals who switched from cremation to aquamation, was responsible for reducing greenhouse gases by almost 600,000 lbs. in 2018. A metric ton equals 2,200 lbs., which means that we kept 272 metric tons from the atmosphere. In terms of the Arctic, we saved 8,704 square feet of sea ice.
The alarming part isn’t what we saved, but what we lost.
The cremation of an average size dog releases approximately 100 lbs. of greenhouse gas. That means as few as 22 dogs can create a metric ton. And, each metric ton shrinks Arctic sea ice by roughly 32 square feet. The math is a bit over simplified, but the message is clear. Millions of animals are cremated each year. When we start putting the impact in the real world context of something like the Arctic, the damage is staggering.
Aquamation has already been approved for humans in 17+ states and is in use for animals in 35+ states. The machinery is being sold at a clip of one per week. It makes sense: approximately the same price as cremation, gentler on the pet and green. What then is the barrier to using it? And, what is the cost for not using it?
Cars, food waste, meat production etc. tend to occupy the top spots when talking about greenhouse gas, but there are other things that don’t automatically pop into our heads. Cremation is one of those things.