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‘Even in death, Tutu remains a vigilant protector of the environment’ – IDN–InDepthNews
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‘Even in death, Tutu remains a vigilant protector of the environment’ – IDN–InDepthNews

By Lisa Vives, Global Information Network

NEW YORK, IDN – Archbishop Desmond Mpilo Tutu was a voice for his nation throughout his 90-year tenure. A Twitterstorm erupted after his last wishes for green burial.

Archbishop Tutu was a key figure in exposing the world to the grievances of South Africans who exploited the Black majority. He was blunt in his exchanges with President Ronald Reagan. He stated that America’s policy toward South Africa, also known constructive engagement, was un-Christian, evil, and immoral.

He appealed to foreign investors who still make profits, but urged them to exert persuasive pressure for racial changes. If that fails, they should be forced to take punitive measures, such as economic sanctions.

He even took on his countrymen and criticized the new political leaders for putting their own advancement ahead of that of the poor. Black empowerment seems to only benefit a small minority, and it is often repurposed. We are on a powder-keg.

The ex-teacher, cleric and activist was fearlessly outspoken about a wide range of topics, including Israel’s occupation and gay rights, climate changes and assisted suicide.

His last request, fitting of a man who detested ostentation, and defended nature, was that his funeral be simple and inexpensive. He also requested that the casket be made of pine and that it be adorned with only his family’s bouquet of carnations. Aquamation, which is an eco-friendly option to traditional cremation, uses water instead of fire and allows for the preservation of his remains.

Aquamation is part a growing green burial movement. It avoids non-biodegradable material and promotes natural decay. Advocates claim it is an environmentally friendly alternative for cremation by fire and ornate caskets, which emit greenhouse gases.

After the private aquamation ceremony, Archbishop Tutu was buried behind the pulpit where he once condemned bigotry.

California-based Green Burial CouncilTweeted: Desmond Tutu is a tireless environmentalist, even after his death. He chose a green alternative to cremation#aquamationas his final act to nurture the Earth.

Aquamation is a more environmentally-friendly method of (cremation). It is a process that involves water and is more eco-friendly. This is what he wanted to be as an eco warrior, said the Rev. Michael Weeder from Cape Town.

In 2019, aquamation was brought to South Africa. There is currently no legislation that covers the practice. [IDN-InDepthNews 05 January 2022]

Photo: The coffin was carried by the clergy after the funeral of Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu, held at St. George’s Cathedral, Cape Town, South Africa on January 1. (Jaco Marais/Pool/AP).

IDN is the flagship agency for the Non-profit International Press Syndicate.

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