Thursday, August 28, 2008

Eco-friendly burials on Japan's Mt. Ontake--a feasible idea?

A friend in the village, I-san, has talked with me on a couple of occasions about creating a eco-friendly burial ground on Mt. Ontake. I'm intrigued by the idea, and so was happy to find the following blog entry recently.

There is a growing literature concerning the negative environmental impacts of western burial practices (i.e., attempting to preserve a body with embalming fluid, coffin, concrete, etc.). See the Centre for Natural Burial website for more information.

Ontake-san is a sacred mountain, and many worshipers expect that their spirits will return there after they die (stone monuments on the mountain are erected for this purpose). So, it seems like a logical step to move towards creating a green burial ground on the mountain. Anyway, seems no less obscene--in my mind anyway--than the ski resorts, tourist shops, and mountain huts that currently litter the mountain.

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