Archive for March, 2008

Burial or cremation? Cemetery or Plumwood Moutain?


Some friends of Val have suggested that her body should be buried at Plumwood Mountain, although this would seem to require approval by various bodies, including Council, Coroner and doctor. Other friends have suggested the cemetery at Majors Creek (16 kms south of Braidwood) where her son is buried.

There has been a suggestion that cremation should be considered and Val’s ashes scattered or buried at Plumwood Mountain. I think that this would not be a favoured option for Val. In Val’s paper (Tasteless – see the category Ecological death on this site), she was strongly against current funeral practices that failed to position humans as part of the food chain. The paper talks about an ecological form of death where the body becomes part of “the feast in a chain of reciprocity”, and understanding “life as circulation, as a gift from a community of ancestors and … a flowing on into an ecological and ancestral community of origins.” Val was critical of conventional practices that buried bodies below the level of soil fauna activity. She saw death and “burial and bodily decay as the ground of entry to a sacred ecological community.”

So, I think Val would most likely want to be buried not cremated, where her bodily decay would nuture other life forms at her place. I suspect her preference would be to buried at Plumwood Mountain, rather than in a cemetery.

What are your views?

Go here for more info on natural death options.

This discussion is now closed. Many thanks for everyone’s input and the rich discussion.


Quotes from Val’s work


Here are some of my favourite quotes from Val’s work:

EC=Environmental Culture – The ecological crisis of reason (Routledge, 2002) 

FaMoN=Feminism and the Mastery of Nature (Routledge, 1993)

Creativity , meanings, and spirtual presences have always been multiple, widely distributed and able to be discerned in the world, not located above, or beyond it. (Forest Lover, Live Forever! A Philosophy of the Forests in The People’s Forest.)

So, the problem is not primarily about more knowledge or technology; it is about developing an environmental culture that values and fully acknowledges the non-human sphere and our dependency on it,  and is able to make good decisions about how we liveand impact on the non-human world. (EC p3)

The distorted perceptions and mechanisms of denial which arise from the master rationality are an important reason why the dominant culture which embodies this identity in relation to nature cannot respond adequately to the crisis of the biosphere and the growing degradation of the earth’s natural systems. (FaMoN p 194)

Review of Raymond Gaita’s The Philosophers Dog


I think this is an unpublished review of this book – raimond-gaiata-review.doc

Obituaries and stories


Read the story of Val’s burial


Look through Kumi Kato’s photo essay

Photo essay Kumi Kato

Read Jackie French’s story about Val 


Read Freya Mathew’s obituary published in the Guardian


Go here for The Times obituary on Val written by Kate Rigby

Read Martin Mulligan’s tribute val-plumwood-and-judith-wright.doc

Read Ian Cohen’s address to the NSW Parliament on Thursday 6 March 2008


Read Gill Burke’s obituary in the Braidwood Times obituary-braidwood-times.doc



A paper by Val critiquing the shallowness of the concept of sustainability deep-sustainability-as-cultural-work.doc

Being Prey


This story about Val’s encounter with a crocodile reveals some fundamental truths about our relationship with nature being-prey.doc

Ecological Death


Val sent me a copy of a paper ( tasteless.doc) in which she speaks about death. The paper is titled Towards a Food-based Approach to Death, and for those who are working out how to manage Val’s funeral, relevant reading.

Is Ecological death (an animist narrative of death), and situated between “heavensim” and atheism (read human “exceptionalism”) a rich inquiry into our place in nature?