Winds of Change | earthrise

Two stories about communities adjusting their way of living, and dying, to reduce carbon emissions.

Over the past 20 years the Danish island of Samso’s 4000 inhabitants have moved from a reliance on fossil fuels to wind, solar and biomass technologies. Today, they get all of their energy from renewable sources and boast a carbon footprint of negative 12 tonnes per person, per year.

And, in Delhi, a team of environmentally-conscious engineers have found a way to adapt the age-old tradition of Hindu cremation to today’s need to protect the environment.

With eight and a half Hindus dying each year, funeral pyres exact a huge environmental toll: felling over 50 million trees, emitting eight million tonnes of carbon dioxide into the air, and adding to India’s already critical air pollution problem.

The Mokshda green cremation system is capable of reducing fuel wood consumption by over 60%. The system has been around for 15 years; a very short amount of time when it comes to taking on a centuries-old tradition. But mourners are now beginning to seriously consider it.