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Old 02-10-2007, 07:30 PM   #1
Ronald Cherrycoke
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'What is the most ethical way to commit suicide?'


'What is the most ethical way to commit suicide?'



Dear Ethan,

After careful consideration I have decided to end my life. Things haven’t been going very well for me lately, but more importantly I am keen to reduce my carbon impact on the planet. Like the average Briton I probably produce around 9.3 tonnes of carbon each year. I am 26 years old, and reckon I could live for another 60 years; if I end things now I will save a total of 558 tonnes of carbon, for which I believe future generations should be grateful. But I have a question: what is the most ethical way to commit suicide? I don’t want my self-destruction to be destructive to the planet!

Yours faithfully,
Zach Montague
Richmond-upon-Thames




Dear Zach,

I empathise with your selfless decision. All responsible studies show that there are just too many people living on this planet for life to be sustainable. At least you have had the courage to do something about it, in a small and local way.

In fact your suicide could actually save far more carbon than you realise. Think of the children you might have had, and what CO2 vandalism they could have done. Your death will also reduce the carbon impact of friends and family members you leave behind – all those journeys they won’t make to visit you, unnecessary presents they won’t have to buy or wrap. I estimate that over 60 years your suicide will stop your loved ones from producing 583.2 kg of carbon from gift-buying alone. So your death will be even more generous than you know!

To your main question, which is a good one. As we know, many suicides are harmful to the environment. I often wonder about the state of mind of people who asphyxiate themselves with exhaust fumes in their cars – do they not know that every minute their car is chugging out up to 70g of CO2? As for people who jump off buildings, they seem to give no consideration whatsoever to the toxic cleaning products required to scrub the pavement. Suicides should take more time to think about the impact of their deaths on their surroundings.

I think the key to a green and ethical suicide is to leave no trace of your body behind. Selfish families will insist on holding a ceremony to dispose of bodies, often without a thought as to the environmental impact. A church funeral means people driving miles, maybe even flying to attend, not to mention the damage done by a gas-guzzling old hearse. It might be argued that once buried, human bodies provide food for other species, but as one brave EU environment commissioner reminds us, embalming fluids pose a danger to ‘living organisms’ – maggots and beetles that feast on the deceased – and should be banned. Will your family stop and think of the poor insects?

Even worse, they might opt for cremation. Did you know that 437,000 wooden coffins – the equivalent of 140 000 trees – are wastefully burnt in these self-regarding ceremonies in Britain EVERY YEAR? Cremation pollutes the environment with dioxin, hydrochloric acid, sulphur dioxide and carbon dioxide. All your good intentions in taking your own life could be undermined at the touch of an incinerator button.

So ideally your suicide should leave nothing to bury or cremate. A colleague in America advises eco-warriors who choose Carbon Suicide to throw themselves off a boat, so that the body disintegrates on the seabed and makes little impact on the ozone layer. However, I’m not so sure. Whales, dolphins and fish have a hard enough time with pollution and nets without having to avoid or swallow human carcasses, shoelaces, belts and buttons. If you do take the sea-suicide option, please remove all your clothing first (and post to a green charity shop prior to death).

In my view, probably the most ethical way to commit suicide is by self-cremation. Go deep into a forest, douse the body sparingly and set yourself alight. The ‘experts’ assure me that there is as yet no environmentally-friendly flammable liquid to match petrol. However, before turning to the Great Satan gasoline, I think a truly committed individual might experiment with vegetable oil and bio-fuels – after all, if they can power green cars, surely they can burn a green carcass! But even if you have to use a few (carefully measured) cups of petrol it will do far less damage to the eco-system than a conventional cremation. (Ironically, an obese over-consumer may burn more easily.) What’s more, the few remains of your body can be recycled by foxes and other small carnivores. So you will be sparing the planet from your 558 tonnes of carbon and literally giving a hand to Britain’s beleaguered wildlife at the same time.

My last word to you, Zach: don’t leave a suicide note. Even using a single sheet of paper contributes to the felling of trees for profit and the threatened extinction of many animals. Why ruin your selfless ethical moment? Post it on MySpace as a shining example to future generations of how to choose life by ending it all. Good luck!



Ethan Greenhart is here to answer all your questions about green and ethical living in the twenty-first century. Email him at Ethan.Greenhart@spiked-online.com
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Old 02-10-2007, 10:55 PM   #2
Ronald Cherrycoke
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y 1 February 2007

Is it ethical to get married?


Dear Ethan,

I am writing to you from my solar-powered “Green”berry in my honeymoon hotel in north Africa. You see, last weekend I got married, but now I’m thinking to myself: was that an ethical thing to do? Does tying the knot mean tying the planet in chains? Please advise! I will plant as many trees as it takes to make up for my nuptials.

Helen Cox
Morocco





Dear Helen,

Marriage can be a beautiful thing. Sheba and I tied the knot in an open-air ceremony in Dorset. She wanted to wear a traditional meringue-style starch-white dress until I reminded her that polyester, from which most wedding dresses are made, consists of petrochemicals and is non-biodegradable, and that silk dresses involve boiling alive or electrocuting silk worms in order to extract the silk from their cocoons. In a pre-wedding heart-to-heart, I explained I couldn’t marry a woman who was willing to wear a garment spawned from worm torture, and thankfully she compromised!

She wore an off-white dress (to symbolise the staining effect man has on the planet) constructed from natural bamboo. It was made (or should that be built?!) by those marvellous men and women at the fashion house Bamboosa, who point out that Bamboo is ‘nature’s most sustainable resource, is grown without pesticides or chemicals and is 100 per cent biodegradable’. After the ceremony we recycled the dress by posting it – freight class – to a Panda sanctuary in western China where it was fed to a bear called Ziyi and her four cubs. Sheba had a rash for a few days afterwards, and even kicked me out of the marital bed over ‘that bloody bamboo dress’! When she calmed down I explained it was probably just nature’s way of warning us not to take Her plants for granted.

I wore one of those hilarious t-shirts that looks like a tuxedo (!!!), which both raised a smile amongst our friends and families and saved me from having to splash out on a wasteful three-piece suit that had probably been hand-stitched by a nine-year-old in some sweatshop in the Far East and, worse, flown here by aeroplane. (There are an estimated 300,000 weddings in Britain each year, for which around 100,000 garments are flown over from factories abroad. That means Tuxedo and Wedding Dress Miles account for a whopping 140,000 tonnes of CO2 EVERY YEAR.)

We used sycamore seeds as confetti, because it is part of their evolutionary purpose to be thrown and to fly. Friends said they were quite moved by the act of throwing sycamore seeds, feeling honoured to do the kind of thing normally done so well by Wind and Rain. Our bouquets were made of grass, held together by knots of straw. After the wedding we held a special Throwing-The-Bouquet ceremony where we deposited them in a friend’s compost toilet. There, our grass bouquets mixed with natural waste to create a beautiful (if pongy!) fertiliser. Between feeding the dress to Ziyi and fertilising the soil with our bouquets, we expressed our eternal love for the Earth as well as each other.

However, not everyone has a Green Wedding; some people still insist on having a White Wedding, or what I like to call Noxious Nuptials….and if you had one of those, Helen, then shame on you!

That wonderful organisation Climate Care estimates that the average wedding emits around 14.5 tonnes of CO2. That is more in one day than the average person emits in a year, which is 12 tonnes. The clothes, the transport of friends and family – sometimes from abroad – plus the preparation and cooking of food all take their toll on the planet. But there are ways to have an ethical wedding. Firstly, take a tip from Sheba and me and wear naturally made clothing. You can choose from bamboo, straw or grass, and there is a wonderful fashion house that makes shoes from old discarded tyres. Wearing its striking footwear on your wedding day would be such a cool way to stick up two fingers (excuse my French!) at the rampant motoring and oil industry. Imagine, you would be taking their products, which are designed to speed cars, choke out smog and mow down unsuspecting pensioners and children, and using them in a loving ceremony.

Despite the best efforts of my friends in the Anti-Confetti Campaign, who protest outside church and registry-office weddings most Saturdays and Sunday, some people STILL throw confetti. They don’t realise that confetti consists of bleach and artificial colourings that leach into the dirt and soil. It is the Wedding Day equivalent of acid rain. Throw seeds, nuts or sycamores instead, which can then take root in the ground. (Don’t throw Brazil nuts! A friend of mine made the mistake of throwing them at Zac Goldsmith’s wedding to Sheherazade Ventura-Bentley in 1999, and we ended up with a battered and bruised bride and bridegroom!)

And instead of brides-to-be selfishly demanding expensive diamond rings – the product of diamond-mining, which is like a scar on the beautiful continent of Africa – they should look to buy metallic and synthetic-diamond jewellery from wonderful outlets such as GreenKarat, the ecologically responsible jewellers. Even better, they should make their own wedding jewellery from stone or wood, which has the benefit of being recyclable if, Mother Nature forbid, they should ever split from or divorce their husbands.

However, Helen, easily the WORST aspect of Noxious Nuptials is the honeymoon – and I see from your email that you are already on yours. I am very disappointed. I’m sure I don’t have to remind you that man-made flight is propelling us into a future of floods, droughts, disastrous warming and potentially a new Ice Age. Sheba and I honeymooned in our garden, in an eco-friendly tent and with only the birds and the bees (if you get my drift!) to keep us company. That, Helen, is true love….whereas swanning off to Morocco is, I’m afraid, true hate. You must plant 65 trees and 10 shrubberies to neutralise your nuptials.




Ethan Greenhart is here to answer all your questions about ethical living in the twenty-first century. Email him at Ethan.Greenhart@spiked-online.com. Read his earlier columns here
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Old 02-13-2007, 08:53 PM   #3
BigV
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Quickly.

It minimizes our suffering. Oh, and try to be quiet about it.
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Old 02-13-2007, 11:07 PM   #4
wolf
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If those are meant to be funny, they are missing the mark quite severely.
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Old 02-14-2007, 02:43 AM   #5
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I was amused by them, though not necessarily enough to read all through both. They illustrate something that has been said elsewhere -- I'll have to look for some attributions, as I ran across it unattributed in a Poul Anderson Hoka tale -- "Some ideas are so bad only a left-wing intellectual could hold them."
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Old 02-14-2007, 03:02 AM   #6
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I prefer them short and sweet:

Resume

Razors pain you;
Rivers are damp;
Acids stain you;
And drugs cause cramp.
Guns aren't lawful;
Nooses give;
Gas smells awful;
You might as well live.

-- Dorothy Parker
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Old 02-14-2007, 04:01 PM   #7
wolf
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I need to print out and frame that for work.
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Old 02-14-2007, 06:51 PM   #8
CzinZumerzet
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You and me is friends
You smile, I smile
You hurt,I hurt
You cry, I cry
You jump off a bridge
I'm gonna miss your e-mails
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Old 02-14-2007, 07:23 PM   #9
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I think it's funny. Emo.
However, there is no ethical way to commit suicide, IMO.
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Old 02-14-2007, 07:38 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronald Cherrycoke View Post
Dear Ethan,

After careful consideration I have decided to end my life. Things haven’t been going very well for me lately, but more importantly I am keen to reduce my carbon impact on the planet. Like the average Briton I probably produce around 9.3 tonnes of carbon each year. I am 26 years old, and reckon I could live for another 60 years; if I end things now I will save a total of 558 tonnes of carbon, for which I believe future generations should be grateful. But I have a question: what is the most ethical way to commit suicide? I don’t want my self-destruction to be destructive to the planet!

Yours faithfully,
Zach Montague
Richmond-upon-Thames



Dear Zach,

till you die...

Madman
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Old 02-22-2007, 01:59 AM   #11
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"If you're gonna do it, do it outside or something. Somebody's gotta clean that shit up!" ~ICP

I hope this isn't a serious thread, 'cause I didn't read...the title reminded me of a line from a song and there ya go...
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Old 02-22-2007, 03:19 AM   #12
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Bury yourself in a bamboo box lashed together with grass and vines, but not before making sure you do not disturb the burrows of any woodland creatures while digging your hole. Anyone caught using 2x4's or any other wood that was made by slashing and burning our precious forests will be dug up, sentenced to plant 10,000 trees, then reburied.
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Old 02-23-2007, 03:13 PM   #13
hideouse
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Re:taking the easy way out.

I have the impression that fasting is the generally accepted means of ending oneself as it does no overt violence and requires resolve. you can't do it hastily . It doesn't leave a nasty bloody mess, you don't stop traffic or cause sidewalks to be blocked, etc. You can do it out in the wild and not stink up the house. The advantages really add up.
And best of all, you can change your mind well along into the process.
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Old 02-25-2007, 12:26 AM   #14
xoxoxoBruce
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 9th Engineer View Post
Bury yourself in a bamboo box lashed together with grass and vines, but not before making sure you do not disturb the burrows of any woodland creatures while digging your hole. Anyone caught using 2x4's or any other wood that was made by slashing and burning our precious forests will be dug up, sentenced to plant 10,000 trees, then reburied.
Uh, why are our forests "precious"? How is bamboo an acceptable alternative? The result of "slashing and burning" is ash, well maybe a little charcoal, but anyway, how would someone to use this for burial?
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Old 02-25-2007, 11:14 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xoxoxoBruce View Post
How is bamboo an acceptable alternative?
Because it's grown back by the time you're done making the box.
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