Friday, February 24, 2012

Modern Ethical Dilemmas

Warning:  This post is a little weightier than many discussed on this site, so if you're not in the mood for some deep thinking, perhaps skipping this post may be in your best interest.

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This morning I was scanning some headlines when the following story caught my eye:

Dead bodies to be burned to heat UK swimming pool...

My response was one of disbelief until I clicked on the link and came to the actual article in The Telegraph perhaps slightly more appropriately titled:


My first thought was absolute revulsion!  Heating public pools with with the heat generated by crematoriums.  Could I allow my kids to take swim lessons at such a facility?  It brought back images of Nazi death camps burning bodies and making a profit off of death.

Smoke rising from Hadamar, a Nazi eugenics facility

However, after reading the article, it spoke about heat in excess of 1,400 °F from the crematorium being vented to the atmosphere and the waste involved.  Furthermore, a local authority estimated a savings of about $23,000 a year in heating costs to the town by diverting currently wasted energy.

What are your thoughts on the matter?  I'm still trying to work this one out in my mind.


13 comments:

Rob From Amersfoort said...

Their pragmatism may be commendable, but still I wouldn't swim at such a pool...

p.s. You did a Godwin before we even started the discussion :-)

Nate Maas said...

LOL! I had not heard of Godwin's Law before your post, but I suppose I did. I think like you, I would have a hard time not thinking about the heat in the pool if I were to swim in it. I think I'm probably with you, some things are just not worth the pragmatic benefit. There's got to be a better way to efficiently heat the pool.

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

Nate, one of my hobbies is reading comments and forums on the computer. The comment section of that Telegraph story was a doozy.

We humans are not exactly made of dry twigs and straw. Don't these types of furnaces burn a fuel like natural gas? If so then that wasted engergy is also vented out to the atmosphere. At least use the resource for something.

As for the pool I'm with Rob, I couldn't enjoy myself knowing those hot gasses are close overhead.

A Thought provoking topic to say the least.

Anonymous said...

Gives " meet me in the hot tub " a whole new meaning

Jan said...

Nate, do you have an ethical problem with cremation? If you don't have an issue with cremation, then there shouldn't be a problem with the process. From my perspective, since I raise sheep for meat, I WANT to utilize as much of every lamb I butcher. I think it is respectful to acknowledge how useful that lamb is and not treat it as "garbage" after its death. I would have no problem with utilizing the energy generated by running a crematorium.

Nate Maas said...

Jan and Mike, thanks for your input. Like I said, I haven't quite worked this one through in my mind. I'm really don't like waste, but on the other hand, I don't believe the difference between animal and human is only one of degree, but kind, so I do not believe that human remains should be considered purely bio waste.

I need to do some more thinking on this one.

Far Side of Fifty said...

Just my thought..It is sinful to waste..and if using the excess heat from a crematorium could be put to good use..why not? Of course I live in Minnesota..where I hate to see heat wasted:)

Arnold said...

I think I'd be okay with it. I mean it does have economic and environmental benefits. I wouldn't have a problem with swimming in that pool.

Schmitty79 said...

I think that worrying about the fact that the heat came from dead bodies is irrelevant. If those individuals preferred to be cremated and their wishes are being carried out, and that heat also helps save money in the 10's of thousands for the town, then go for it. Swimming in the pool? Absolutely. It's not like the ashes are being thrown in there with you.

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