Millionaire philanthropist Gareth Morgan has launched a new environmental campaign, and he has a new target in his sights.
Earlier this week the Wellington economist sparked controversy when he called for the eradication of all household cats, claiming that they were sadists responsible for the destruction of much of our native wildlife.
Morgan has also launched a strong attack on long-suffering fans of the Wellington Phoenix football team, a team he is a part-owner of.
Morgan has long been known as a campaigner on environmental and public good issues, and he today announced a new initiative designed to address a growing problem.
The economist today claimed that human burial customs are responsible for the destruction of much of our environment.
He also said he had a plan to deal with the problem.
“The manufacture of funeral caskets involves the consumption of huge amounts of wood every year,” said Morgan.
“A lot of this wood is high quality, like mahogany and other tropical hardwoods. The extraction of this timber causes harm to the environment, and it all ends up just going to waste.
“And then there are the considerable transportation costs involved in getting hundreds of people to a funeral, and the wasted green spaces we devote to our graveyards. These green spaces could be returned to their natural state, becoming a haven for native plants and birds.
“Cremation is even worse for the environment,” said Mr Morgan.
“The cremation process can result in the release of toxins, such as hydrochloric and hydrofluoric acids, as well as sulphur dioxide. And then there’s the disgusting habit of grieving relatives dumping ashes into our lakes and rivers.”
Morgan said the solution was burial at sea.
“Let’s adopt the old wartime naval tradition of throwing our departed loved ones overboard, well out to sea, sewn into a sheet. We’ll shove a couple of bricks in to weigh them down, and then we’ll let the fishes feed to their hearts’ content. It’s cheap, simple and environmentally-friendly.”
He said his plan would “have a retrospective effect.”
“What this means is that we wouldn’t just adopt burial at sea solely for those who die in the future. If we want to return public cemeteries into places where native birds can flourish we’ll need to exhume all existing human remains and chuck them into the sea.
“We’ll also need to smash all the gravestones to pieces if we’re going to reclaim our cemeteries. They’ll make good fill for building sites, and we can melt down the plaques.”
Morgan said he expected his plan to have some detractors, but he insisted he was only interested in finding solutions to difficult problems.
“Doing the right thing sometimes means making tough calls. It’s not a popularity contest,” said Mr Morgan. “Just as well, because have you seen what they’re saying about me on Facebook?
“I feel I have a duty to share the wisdom I have gained through being a rich old white guy. I have a whole list of crusades to keep me busy over the next few years, provided Sir Owen Glenn doesn’t pinch them first.”