The Good Funeral Guide Blog

Where do you stand on funeral pyres?

Thursday, 24 November 2011


The Natural Death Centre, veteran pioneer of the better, greener funerals movement, passionately and vocally campaigns for open-air cremation on sustainably sourced wood pyres. If you want to find out why, be patient, I’ll give you the link in a minute.

Where do you stand on funeral pyres? Do you embrace them or would you stamp them out? 

The NDC would like to know. You can tell them with one easy click of your mouse by doing the online poll on their website. Hang on!

The GFG, of course, expresses no view on this matter. We like to represent all of the people all of the time.

If you want to register a no, close your eyes now.

If you want to register a yes, go to the foot of this page here.


11 comments on “Where do you stand on funeral pyres?

  1. Richard Rawlinson

    Saturday 3rd December 2011 at 10:16 am

    Mercury poisoning aside, some bereaved wear their Sunday best at funerals and prefer crematoria because they have a roof to protect them from the elements. Personally, I love the great outdoors and wish we were less concerned about getting our designer suits wet or our hairdos blown about. The beauty of wearing black is that it doesn’t show the rain spots.

  2. Jonathan

    Sunday 27th November 2011 at 10:27 am

    My dentist told me her profession still uses mercury fillings because they’re still the best there is, so I suppose I’ve got to believe her.

    But I can’t help feeling we make problems for ourselves because we want them. Look at all the useless consumer goods packaging that gives rise to the ‘need’ for incinerators or landfill sites, for instance; if we didn’t want that problem, we’d stop going out and buying rubbish in the first place, or else deliver the packaging back to the retailer to dispose of, with the obvious long term results of a cleaner planet. But what do we do? We pay for it, then take it home and chuck it straight in the bin and pay to get rid of it.

    So, mercury poisoning? We wince at an image of pulling teeth from a corpse, while turning away from images of the environmental destruction we thereby invite.

    Therefore, again I assert; we have this problem simply because we want it.

  3. Sunday 27th November 2011 at 9:05 am

    That is indeed our hope Charles. Or as people suggest, a bit of premortem planning and the dentist should be able to sort it.
    I understand that teeth strike a particular cultural nerve, Marathon Man not to mention The Holocaust are what springs to mind, but there are a number of intrusive things that sometimes need to be done such as removing pacemakers, and of course post mortems. This would just be one more. If pulling fillings out of teeth makes you wince for god’s sake don’t investigate embalming.

  4. Saturday 26th November 2011 at 7:13 pm

    Tis true that it’s the boomers who are the culprits. I am myself as full of merc as a North Sea fish. Richard’s generation will have no need to have their emissions scrubbed, which means that all the abatement equipment being installed looks (to me) like having a very short innings. One great side effect is that crems will now start reusing the heat used to combust us, no longer pumping it hot into the atmosphere.

    I think the NDC have a theory – I’ll let Rupert take this up – that the heat caused by woodfired cremation, in addition to creating the need for a longer burn, is insufficiently hot to vapourise mercury — meaning that fish may safely graze, if that’s what fish do, and die the same gender they were born.

  5. Gloria Mundi

    Saturday 26th November 2011 at 11:41 am

    A local Crem chapel assistant told me he was cross with dentists. He reckons there is no need for any of them to be still using mercury for fillings (hence Richard’s puzzlement I guess) and if they had all stopped using it, the problem would eventually just die out. (He was talking about my g-g-generation, of course, the rude boy.) So it would be poetic justice to get dentists in to remove the offending material post mortem.

    Of course, creams are being fitted with scrubbers to take the stuff out of the equation, though apparently only 50% of cremators have to have the (expensive) gear. Bit like carbon trading. If one Crem has the gear on all four cremators, a neighbour crem with two cremators can come to some arrangement (£££s, I guess) and continue pumping mercury out. Thus was I told. True, anyone?

    And of course, no smoke scrubbers at Ru’s longed-for outdoor pyres. Whither?

  6. Friday 25th November 2011 at 11:15 pm

    All the dentists I know claim to have practised on corpses during training. The bodies used were donated to science. I’m sure for a fee they would happily call by the funeral home and remove amalgam fillings.

  7. Richard Rawlinson

    Friday 25th November 2011 at 9:15 pm

    I didn’t know mercury fillings still existed. Don’t most people have white fillings now?

  8. Jonathan

    Friday 25th November 2011 at 3:42 pm

    Dentist, of course!

    (But it may take a while for some of them to get used to the thought of working on a corpse – they may have a reputation for inflicting pain but they’re really only human, they don’t do it on purpose and, unlike doctors, not many of their patients are dead, as a general rule.)

  9. Friday 25th November 2011 at 2:17 pm

    We call a Doctor or get an embalmer to remove pacemakers. Why not call a dentist to remove amalgam fillings? Funeral pyres, why not?

  10. Friday 25th November 2011 at 2:03 pm

    I’m a yes, but with a caveat: MERCURY.
    12-16% of mercury gases are due to crematoria, I am told. The gases drop in to the oceans and are stored in fish, the older the fish, the more it accumulates.
    In the words of one bold undertaker,
    ‘we can just pop out the fillings’ but I wouldn’t know where to begin with this. Hammer and pointy tool? How hard are they to ‘pop out’? Chip and pin training, or just hit and miss for a while?
    Perhaps the kind of family who are up for an outdoor job would not flinch at this. I suppose I’d get used to it too.
    But, either way, mercury fillings need to come out.

  11. andrew plume

    Friday 25th November 2011 at 9:50 am

    and registering a ‘yes’ to this, I have Charles



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