California has approved “human fertilization.” Not everyone is happy.

There are two traditional options for what to do with the body after death: burial or cremation.

in California, a third option will soon present itself for those who are confused about this deadly file. This selection is human fertilization.

Assembly Bill 351, Signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom On Sunday, residents will be allowed to choose human composting, or natural organic reduction (NOR), postmortem starting in 2027.

The composting process, which has already been approved in Washington, Colorado and Oregon, involves placing the body in a reusable container, surrounding the corpse with wood chips and aerating it to allow the growth of microbes and bacteria. After about a month, the remains will completely decompose and turn into soil. Companies like Recompose in Washington offer service in a natural organic matter reduction facility.

Unlike cremation, the process avoids burning fossil fuels and emitting carbon monoxide. National Geographic It is estimated that cremations in the United States alone emit about 360,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually.

During the early depths of the coronavirus pandemic, when funeral homes were flooded, Los Angeles County suspended regulations for cremation emissions. The bill’s author, Democratic Assemblywoman Christina Garcia, says the threat of climate change is the motivation behind the new law.

“AB 351 will provide Californians an additional option that is more environmentally friendly and gives them another option for burial,” Garcia said in a statement. “With climate change and sea level rise as very real threats to our environment, this is an alternative way of eventual action that will not contribute to emissions into our atmosphere.”

Garcia added that she may choose her own way when she dies. “I look forward to continuing the legacy of fighting for clean air by using my scraps to plant a tree,” she wrote.

The idea of ​​composting human remains has raised some ethical questions. Colorado version The law states that the soil of several people cannot be combined without consent, the soil cannot be sold and cannot be used to grow food for human consumption. A California bill prohibits combining the remains of multiple people, unless they are family members, but unlike Colorado, California does not explicitly prohibit the sale or use of soil to grow food for human consumption.

The operation has been met with opposition in California from the Catholic Church, which says the operation “reduces the human body to a mere disposable commodity.”

“NOR uses essentially the same process as a home garden composting system,” said Kathleen Domingo, executive director of the Catholic Conference of California, in a joint statement with SFGATE. She added that the process was developed for cattle, not humans.

“These disposal methods have been used to reduce the possibility of disease transmission by dead carcass,” she said. “Using these same methods to ‘transform’ human remains can create an unfortunate spiritual, emotional, and psychological separation from the deceased.”

The church also said that the process of scattering the remains in public places “risks people trampling on human remains without their knowledge while frequent dispersals in the same area amount to a mass grave”.

San Francisco Archdiocese Executive Director Peter Marlowe told SFGATE that Archbishop Salvatore Cordelion is against the law, and supports the position of the California Catholic Conference.

Newsom signed the bill without comment.

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