Smoking hot bodies

Composting and the animal afterlife

Featured in

  • Published 20231107
  • ISBN: 978-1-922212-89-4
  • Extent: 207pp
  • Paperback, ePub, PDF, Kindle compatible

IF, IN AN attempt to break Marvel’s grip on the superhero genre, you were to reboot the early ’90s children’s animated series Captain Planet and the Planeteers, you needn’t change much. Our hero could keep his aquamarine mullet, which would now be ironic. His cast of Planeteers – Kwame from Africa, Gi from Asia, Ma-Ti from South America, Wheeler from the US and Linka from the USSR – satisfy contemporary standards of workplace diversity (although Linka would need a new passport). Bad guys would still be looting and polluting, but more likely in the form of pumping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere rather than CFCs. And as well as encouraging viewers at home to reduce, reuse and recycle, Captain Planet, I am sure, would now hold a compost fork.

Is it possible that we are beginning to appreciate death? I don’t mean mortality, which Western culture continues to sweep under the existential carpet, but the physical act of decay. Breaking down is on the up: composting is cool. Most community gardens now offer composting lessons, schools make their own piles from playground food scraps, and the range of compost bins at my local Bunnings takes up an entire aisle. At the end of 2022, the American celebrity chef Alison Roman recommended The Rot, an email newsletter I subscribe to that is dedicated to ‘all things compost’.

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