A Seattle architect named Katrina Spade has proposed a new solution for urban food production: convert the recently deceased into nutritious compost to feed the food crops.
The project is called the Urban Death Project, and it describes the process of turning dead humans into food as follows:
The Urban Death Project is a compost-based renewal system. At the heart of the project is a three-story core, within which bodies and high-carbon materials are placed. Over the span of a few months, with the help of aerobic decomposition and microbial activity, the bodies decompose fully, leaving a rich compost. The Urban Death Project is not simply a system for turning our bodies into soil-building material. It is also a space for the contemplation of our place in the natural world, and a ritual to help us say goodbye to our loved ones by connecting us with the cycles of nature.
The Urban Death Project website describes the project as a 501(c) non-profit, and a fundraising effort is due to launch March 30th on Kickstarter. The donate page explains, “Your gift supports the creation of a meaningful, equitable, and ecological alternative for the care and processing of our deceased.”
Human sewage is already used as compost for food crops
As a matter of full disclosure, I’m happy to say right up front that I am the developer of UltraClean Super Plant Food sold at SupplySource.com and that our plant food has NO composted dead people in it. (Perhaps I should add that to the label?)
Nor does it contain human sewage waste as is frequently found in the majority of compost products sold at big box stores across America. Those products are derived from so-called “biosolids” which are sourced from human waste sludge mixed with other biomass sources such as dried leaves and plant waste.
Yes: in America today, if you buy compost from the big box stores — or even directly from some cities — you are growing your garden vegetables in composted human waste. Lovely…
The Urban Death Project wants to take it one step further. Instead of just composting the feces and sewage from humans, their idea is to compost the entire bodies of the deceased and turn them into nutrients for urban food production. As Fellowship of the Minds reports, this sounds a whole lot like “Soylent Green.”
On one hand, death is a natural cycle of life; but then again…
From an environmental perspective, of course, the idea of composting human bodies into nutrients for plants isn’t as strange as it might sound. In fact, the far more bizarre ritual is pumping dead bodies full of embalming fluids and burying them in overpriced luxury caskets full of synthetic resins and fibers. Embalming fluids are extremely toxic to the planet, and it seems far more respectful to put the body of a deceased person in the ground and let nature run its course.
After all, your body isn’t YOU. The body is just a vessel for the non-material spirit (consciousness) which leaves the body at the moment of physical death. If your time with your physical body is over, then why not return the body to the Earth from which it came in as natural a state as possible?
So from that point of view, at least the intention of the Urban Death Project can’t be faulted. The architect, Katrina Spade, appears to be approaching this from what she sees as a holistic community solution. But she’s so far missing some huge problems with this plan, as I’ll detail below. In fact, the Urban Death Project, if pursued as described on the website, would actually accelerate the death of the very same population it claims to help sustain.
Composting does not eliminate heavy metals and toxic chemicals
To understand the contamination problem with the Urban Death Project, consider this Q&A on the project website:
Q: Is it safe to compost bodies?
ANSWER: Composting creates heat, which kills common viruses and bacteria. Research into mortality composting of livestock has found that the temperature inside the compost reaches 140 degrees Fahrenheit, which is high enough to kill off pathogens. Farmers are using mortality composting in order to safely dispose of their dead livestock, as well as to control odor and runoff. The Urban Death Project is fine tuning this process to be appropriate and meaningful for humans in an urban setting.
The problem with this explanation is that compost heat does not eliminate toxic heavy metals or toxic chemicals. It also doesn’t eliminate prions, the folded proteins associated with Mad Cow Disease.
The average urban dweller’s body, it turns out, is a toxic stew of lead, cadmium, mercury, fluorine, pesticides and other chemicals. To depict this, I created a Counterthink cartoon entitled Seafood Mercury Warning.
As the cartoon explains, sharks have been warned not to eat humans any longer because of all the toxic mercury found in the teeth of those humans.
This is not a joke: A typical city-dweller living in America today has an atrociously high level of toxic mercury in their teeth. On top of that, they have also bio-accumulated extremely high levels of lead, cadmium, arsenic and other toxic heavy metals which persist during composting. Lead is often bound to calcium in the human skeletal system. As those bones decompose, they release the lead which becomes part of the composted soil. This lead, in turn, is taken up by plant roots and shuttled into the food crops to be eaten by other humans.
Composting human bodies, in other words, would concentrate the toxic heavy metals and chemicals which are already causing a wave of degeneration and disease around the world. In fact, the mass of a modern human body would be considered “environmentally hazardous” by the EPA if it were water. That’s because humans bio-accumulate and concentrate the toxins of modern agriculture, animal feed, toxic medicine and toxic home building materials.
The Urban Death Project advocates precisely the kind of activity which would concentrate these toxic heavy metals to higher and higher levels in the urban food supply:
Loved ones are encouraged to take some compost back to their own yards and gardens. The compost is also used to nourish the site, and city parks use it to fertilize plants and trees. In this way, the dead are folded back into the fabric of the city.
I found scary high levels of heavy metals in human hair vs. animal hair
As the science lab director of the Natural News Forensic Food Lab, I personally test food, water and environmental samples for toxic heavy metals. The ICP-MS instrument I use is sensitive down to parts per billion concentrations across most of the Table of Elements.
One of the things I have done with this instrument, mostly out of curiosity, is tested hair samples of willing participants compared to hair taken from animals on my ranch. Hair from my ranch animals includes dog hair (from brushing my dog), rabbit hair (from a recently deceased slow-poke rabbit my dogs caught), goat hair (from my happy goats) and chicken feathers (from my free-range chickens).
What I found was very disturbing: for many elements, human hair had over 100 times the heavy metals of ranch animal hair. This was especially noticeable for mercury, which is inhaled from mercury dental fillings (so-called “silver fillings”) and then eliminated by the body through hair, urine, feces and so on. Notably, I consistently found very high mercury levels in the hair of people who had mercury fillings. That’s no doubt because mercury fillings cause mercury contamination of the bloodstream that feeds hair follicles.
(I may, in fact, re-do this entire experiment in the near future with a larger data set of willing people to find out just how strong the correlation is between mercury fillings and mercury in your hair.)
But the point here is that if the Urban Death Project plans to use human bodies as compost, it’s going to end up growing extremely contaminated food that’s loaded with toxic heavy metals and synthetic chemicals. This, in turn, will unleash an accelerating death spiral as the next generation eats the toxic food grown in the toxic compost of the previous generation. With each successive generation, the concentrations of toxic elements rises and becomes more dangerous to the health of the community.
Contaminated food produces more dead bodies for the program…
It’s not rocket science to realize that if you grow food using composted human bodies that are contaminated with toxic heavy metals, then you get a toxic food supply that causes even more disease and death.
This is not in any way respectful of the natural cycles of life. In fact, it is really a spiral of toxicity and death that will only concentrate the toxic heavy metals with each iteration of dead bodies being composting in the system.
From a scientific point of view, if a society is composting human bodies and human waste back into the food supply, that same society is inadvertently accumulating toxic heavy metals into higher and higher concentrations with each successive death. Over time, this creates an acutely toxic compost system giving rise to an acutely toxic food supply that accelerates disease and death, thereby reinforcing a vicious cycle of poisoning and death.
Much like the Romans likely went mad because of lead in their aqueducts, the Urban Death Project might very well end in a cascade of disease and death from lead, cadmium, mercury, arsenic and possibly even copper (which drives people mad when consumed in chronically high quantities) contaminating the food supply.
Who gets to drill out all the teeth?
From a practical standpoint, the Urban Death Project could theoretically eliminate a significant portion of toxic elements from the system by drilling out the teeth of the deceased and separating teeth matter into a hazardous waste containment system to be disposed of somewhere else. (The Nazis did this too, but they were looking for gold, not mercury.)
However, even the process of drilling out these teeth — which would be incredibly gruesome — is also extremely toxic, exposing the workers to airborne mercury particles which can be easily inhaled and absorbed into their bodies. When they die a premature death from working as “mercury extractors,” all their inhaled mercury is also added to the human compost system.
Drilling out the teeth is only one step in this process, however, and it may not be enough. As I mentioned above, lead tends to accumulate in bones. Cadmium accumulates in skin and arteries. Pesticides, pharmaceuticals and personal care synthetic chemicals accumulate in skin, hair, nails and organ tissue. Unless the Urban Death Project plans to skin the bodies of dead people, extract their large bones, shave off their hair and pull out all their nails — a task that seems incredibly gruesome and blatantly undignified to the recently deceased — they are not going to be able to avoid the accumulation of extremely toxic chemicals and heavy metals in the compost that feeds the food crops.
If you grow corn in the human body compost, in other words, you get TOXICORN laced with mercury, lead, cadmium and whatever other chemicals or metals got absorbed by the corn plant. Who knows… this might even be worse than eating GMO corn!
Truth be told, nearly all dead bodies in modern society as too toxic to recycle into food even if you wanted to. Sure, it all sounds “Greenpeacy” and holistic and aligned with “circle of life” thinking, but if you look a little closer at these bodies, you’ll discover just how toxic modern humans really are in terms of total chemical burden.
And yes, I know there are some people who think you can pray over these dead bodies and transmute toxic chemicals into loving chemicals (or whatever). Sorry to burst the bubble on this myth, but such ideas are pure bunk. You can meditate all you want — even for a lifetime — and you’ll never be able to change mercury into zinc. Or lead into gold, for that matter. To get lead out of an ecosystem, you have to use physical solutions such as plant remediation (growing plants that are especially good at latching on to certain toxic elements in soil). You can also use ion-exchange technology, similar to what I incorporated into the invention of a dietary supplement called Heavy Metals Defense (which binds and “captures” toxic heavy metals during digestion).
The Urban Death Project really is a death project after all
Thus, I propose the Urban Death Project, as much as it appears to be coming from a place of holistic intentions, is nevertheless a bona fide “death project” that will cause widespread sickness and death if carried out as currently envisioned.
This is not necessarily due to any failure in the thinking of the architect who designed the system, mind you. The project is impractical because modern-day humans are simply too toxic to turn into plant food (even if you wanted to). This Soylent Green, in other words, wouldn’t be approved by the FDA for human consumption. (How’s that for hard core irony in a polluted world?)
If you think farm-raised shrimp is toxic, that’s nothing compared to crops grown on modern-day human compost.
How composting could become forced euthanasia
And then, of course, there’s the whole realm of ethics. In China, where black market organs are readily bought and sold for profit, political prisoners such as Falun Gong members (a meditation group) are routinely arrested, imprisoned and killed for their fresh organs. Corrupt members of the government commit false arrests for the purpose of padding their own pockets with the profits of those organs as they are sold for black market transplants. (Anyone who thinks there’s no such thing as a black market for organ transplants has never looked into the medical history of Steve Jobs…)
In a society where the Urban Death Project provides a substantial portion of the nutrients needed to grow food that keeps members of society well fed, it’s not very difficult at all to imagine a young, hungry population invoking “Democracy!” to achieve a majority vote for the forced euthanasia of the elderly so that their bodies can be tossed into the composter. After all, today’s society has already lost sight of the very concept of individual rights and human rights as protected by the Bill of Rights. The push for vaccine mandates, for example, is predicated on the frightening idea that the state owns and controls your body, and that any medical intervention desired by the brainwashed masses can be forced upon people against their will… even if it’s dangerous and sometimes deadly.
With all the human depopulation talk coming out of the mouths of people like Ted Turner and Bill Gates, it’s also not difficult to imagine a world where citizens are required to turn themselves over to the “recyclers” upon reaching the age of 70. Or 65. Or whenever the government decides it can no longer afford to keep sending out social security checks and Medicare reimbursements.
And that’s how the Urban Death Project, despite being paved with good intentions, could very easily become the Urban MASS Death Project that’s used by the government to greenwash mass murder.
What do you think about all this? Katrina Spade is into permaculture (yay!) and ecologically sound architecture. Does her Urban Death Project idea have merit? Sound off with your comments below. But remember, your government is now reading everything you post online, and politically incorrect comments will get you thrown into the urban death composter vats ahead of schedule…
Finally, if you want to grow food without using dead people as nutrients, check out my Food Rising Mini-Farm Grow Box invention at www.FoodRising.org