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Soylent Green is PEOPLE…..

Charlton Heston said it much better than I ever could.

Sir George Young, leader of the House of Commons, said the proposal to warm a Worcestershire leisure centre with heat from a nearby crematorium was a “groundbreaking scheme”.

I feel sick.


  1. Single Acts of Tyranny says:

    I have no idea whether this scheme makes financial sense (and obviously if it needs subsidy then forget it), but in principle, if my earthly remains one day warm your house, I really don’t care.

    It’s not compulsory, so I don’t see a problem given the above provisos, albeit it does sound a bit like “Brave New World”

  2. Tim Newman says:

    That’s that pesky “yuk” factor again…

  3. JuliaM says:

    Like SAOT, I can’t get too worked up about this either. As long as those who might object are given a choice, why not?

  4. CountingCats says:



    It is a desire for treating the dead with dignity. They are not a fuel, any more than they are the raw materials for soap or lampshades.

  5. Thornavis says:

    The dead aren’t the fuel, that’s the gas or whatever it is that’s needed to burn the bodies which will be contributing practically nothing as fuel, most of which contribution I should imagine comes from the coffins. If we were burning bodies just to provide heat you might have a point. I’d much prefer my body did something useful on its way to dissolution, that’s a perfectly natural process, decay is the prerequisite for growth, so if the dead are providing heat for the living I don’t see any problem, any more than if they were providing nutrients for trees in a churchyard that shelter the living and give them aesthetic pleasure.

  6. Tim Newman says:

    It is a desire for treating the dead with dignity. They are not a fuel, any more than they are the raw materials for soap or lampshades.

    I see your point, but whereas the dead are not going to be turned into soap or lampshades as a matter of course, they are going to be burned and heat will be produced regardless.

    Also, I’m not sure the burning body contributes much to the overall heat loss. I’d guess that compared to the gas burners, the burning body produces negligible heat in the overall process*. And recovering waste heat from gas burners (or turbines) is inherently sensible in any system (we do it on our FPSOs on a massive scale), so it would make sense to do so in crematoriums.

    But yeah, I see your point, it isn’t very dignified. But then I’m an engineer and we rarely incorporate dignity into our designs.

    *George Best excepted.

  7. Tim Newman says:

    Thornavis beat me to it…and I was also thinking about the flowers in graveyards.

  8. [...] seems to think this is sinister. It ain’t got nothing on this though. It’s a long article but well worth [...]

  9. RAB says:

    I’ve been to rather a lot of funerals in my time, two in one day once, and I wonder how dignified they really are.

    Once the curtain closes on your loved one and the mourners all file out to look at the flowers and get in their cars to go back to the house, you look up and see the smoke coming from the chimney and you also see the next funeral lining up to come in. It’s a factory.

    And most relatives wonder whether all of the ashes you get back are actually all of your loved one, or perhaps has bits of someone else mixed in.

    Once I’m gone you can leave me out for the Binmen for all I care, though they probably wouldn’t take me cos the bloody lid isn’t shut properly or something. So if you can divert the heat that is just being wasted going up the chimney to a good use, I really don’t have much of a problem with it.

  10. CountingCats says:

    I don’t care what happens to me either, I simply regard this as just another example of government callousness.

  11. NickM says:

    That would be amusing. They’d issue a fixed penalty against you ;-)

  12. JuliaM says:

    My father – and his father before him – chose to leave his body to medical science. Now, when you tell people that, imagine the ‘Yuk!’ factor! Yet how else are medical students supposed to learn anatomy?

  13. Alisa says:

    ‘Callousness’ is Government’s middle name, and so the point here is ‘government’, period. As far as I can tell, the crematorium in question is operated by the government, or at least strictly regulated by it.

  14. Alisa says:

    And indeed, the issue here is very similar to organ donation – specifically, the difference between the mandatory and the government-mandated kind. A *huge* difference, IMO.

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