Letters to the Editor: Dead bodies eventually rot, so why bury them in lavish caskets?

Evergreen Cemetery
Construction personnel on the Metro Gold Line work in front of Evergreen Cemetery in East Los Angeles.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: “Dust to dust” was an apt print edition title for Amy Goldman Koss’ splendid op-ed article on modern alternatives to traditional human burials.

No doubt that title — taken from the book of Ecclesiastes’ teaching that “all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again " — drew the attention of many pious souls nonetheless inclined to oppose such environmentally friendly alternatives as human composting.

Perhaps Koss’ common-sense insights — and gently engaging humor — will make them reconsider whatever comfort they find in the faith-based conceits of decedents enjoying eternal rest in lavish coffins.

When we die, why shouldn’t our bodies be allowed to expeditiously rejoin the Earth from which we sprang? As Koss related, that process is inevitable. So why not sooner rather than later?


Sarah S. Williams, Santa Barbara


To the editor: Koss omits the “greenest” way of death — recycling.

My late mother gave a whole-body donation to the UC San Diego School of Medicine. After my sisters and I said our goodbyes to her, her body was respectfully removed.


It is a comfort to think that her body helped medical science, and perhaps kept someone alive. It also costs nothing.

Kim Cox, El Cajon


To the editor: If the letter that criticizes your editorial supporting “human composting” reflects the best available argument against that eco-friendly burial option, then our Legislature should waste no time making it legal.


No, composting the remains of a decedent who opted for that procedure is not the “antithesis of respect” for him. Rather, it respects his well-considered advance directives.

No, human composting does not evince some slippery slope that will lead to consuming remains as food, notwithstanding the “Soylent Green” film’s titillating premise.

No, the Roman Catholic Church’s opposition is not justified by Pope Francis’ exhortation “to be good stewards of the environment.”

Time for human composting opponents to pack it in.


Greg Gilbert, Burney