Dublin City U. Water Institute, New York Legalizes Human Composting, Earth Quaker Action Team!

by | Jan 4, 2023 | Podcasts, The Climate Daily

Dublin City U. Water Institute, New York Legalizes Human Composting, Earth Quaker Action Team!



Water is the most precious commodity in the world, but it is not the most valued. Think about that for a minute. Water is the most precious commodity in the world, but it is not the most valued. That explains so much about why we’re in the water crisis we’re currently in as a people. So, in a world faced with the demands of a growing population, increased urbanization, and climate change, the  world’s water resources are under threat. And global water demand set to increase by 22% by 2030.  

This highlights the urgent need for increased water research, and the finding of technological solutions to combat our growing water problems, national and internationally. And that’s why the Dublin City University Water Institute was formed. Its aim is to improve and advance basic knowledge of physical, chemical, biological and engineering processes in aquatic systems; to enhance the understanding of human interactions and attitudes with water; to develop and promote improved methodologies for water management.

That’s all well and theoretical but how does that matter to us? Because of their Citizen Scientist work. It all started with Backdrop, which DCU WI launched in 2019. BACKDROP engages people to monitor the status of fresh water sites around the world at incredible scales. The measurements are simple to carry out and data collected by you can be uploaded using a mobile. The data citizen scientists produce can be used to address specific local water challenges and for researching global water issues. Want to get involved? You’ll

  • Learn more about your local area and the waterbodies around you.
  • Develop understanding of global issues regarding water.
  • Compare your data with information from around the world.
  • Support important research by collecting the necessary data.

What could be more important than that when you realize Water is the most precious commodity in the world, but it is not the most valued.




Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul signed legislation on New Year’s Eve, legalizing natural organic reduction, popularly known as human composting, making New York the sixth state in the nation to allow that method of burial. Washington state became the first state to legalize human composting in 2019, followed by Colorado and Oregon in 2021, and Vermont and California in 2022. 

The process goes like this: the body of the deceased is placed into a reusable vessel along with plant material such as wood chips, alfalfa and straw. The organic mix creates the perfect habitat for naturally occurring microbes to do their work, quickly and efficiently breaking down the body in about a month’s time. The end result is a heaping cubic yard of nutrient-dense soil amendment, the equivalent of about 36 bags of soil, that can be used to plant trees or enrich conservation land, forests, or gardens. For urban areas such as New York City where land is limited, it can be seen as a pretty attractive burial alternative.

Michelle Menter, manager at Greensprings Natural Cemetery Preserve, a cemetery in central New York, said the facility would “strongly consider” the alternative method. “It definitely is more in line with what we do,” she added. Why does this matter to us? Katrina Spade, the founder of Recompose, a full-service green funeral home in Seattle, said, “Cremation uses fossil fuels and burial uses a lot of land and has a carbon footprint. For a lot of folks being turned into soil that can be turned to grow into a garden or tree is pretty impactful.”

DEEPER DIVE: Recompose, Boston Herald, NY’s Human Compost Bill



The Quaker church has a long history of activism, most famously as abolitionists in the 19th century, working to end slavery in the United States. So it’s not that unusual that Quakers from Philadelphia established the Earth Quaker Action Team (EQAT—pronunced “equate”!) in 2009. In 2010, EQAT launched its first campaign — Bank Like Appalachia Matters (BLAM!). the goal: to get PNC Bank, a historically Quaker bank, to withdraw financing from corporations who engage in mountaintop removal coal mining. PNC Bank had a lead role as one of the primary financiers of this devastating surface mining practice which has destroyed more than 500 mountains, 2,000 miles of river and stream-beds, and cost countless lives in Appalachia.

It took five years, but after organizing bank branch actions in 13 states, and directly confronting board members and executives, PNC changed their investments policy in March 2015.

Also in 2015, EQAT launched its second campaign — Power Local Green Jobs — calling on utility companies to take responsibility for creating green jobs and benefiting poor communities and communities of color by making a major shift to relying on locally generated solar power for electricity. For six years, it pressured PECO, the electrical utility in southeastern Pennsylvania, to take action on the climate crisis and invest in those communities through local solar and green jobs. 

In 2021, PECO bowed to pressure and invested in job creation for Black and Brown community members in solar. It created and expanded its solar department, and began sourcing the solar electricity it does provide from local solar projects. What’s next for EQAT and why does it matter to us? Last year, EQAT joined as an anchor partner in the Vanguard’s Very Big Problem campaign, an international effort targeting Vanguard — the world’s largest investor in coal and #2 investor in major climate-harming projects across the globe. 

DEEPER DIVE: EQAT, Philadelphia Enquirer, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette