We go through our lives in an effort to make the world a better place, both for ourselves, and for our children when we inevitably pass on.
It really is the little things from day-to-day, whether it is sorting through the recycling, taking public transit when you can, and turning out the lights when you’re not using them. But when it’s time for your lights to go out, what can you do to ensure the world gets one more good turn?
Apparently, there are good and bad ways to reintegrate a body back into the Earth, and you may be under the impression that some of them are better than others.
You may be in for a shock, but both traditional burial and cremation are actually pretty terrible for the environment.
If you chose for your lifeless corpse to get buried six feet under, you take part in a massive industry that deposits over 1.5 million tons of concrete, 77,000 trees worth of wood, and 4 million gallons of embalming fluid into the ground every single year.
Want your mortal remains to go ashes to ashes? Think again, because a single cremation is the same as taking a 500-mile road trip in terms of gas and electricity, and you add roughly 250 lbs of CO2 into the atmosphere.
Let’s let these inefficient ways of disposal die off, and add one of these environmentally friendly ways to pass through the veil to your will!
This funky new way of returning to mother nature will have everyone at your “shroom-eral” taking off their caps! The suit is made up of a particular type of spore that have a taste for human flesh, and while normal decay leads to bad chemicals leaking from our bodies into the ecosystem, these mushrooms gobble it all up, along with your corporeal remains.
You can die with the knowledge that you are naturally reentering the cosmos, and providing a nutritional meal at the same time. It’s also good kharma for all the mushrooms you’ve eaten in your life. Book your mushroom burial suit, and all your friends will remember you as that “fungi!”
Sky burial isn’t one for the squeamish, but if you wanted to follow in the footsteps of Buddhism then this one may appeal to you.
It involves setting the body up on a raised platform and offering it up to the birds. In Tibet, there are a handy supply of vultures to do the deed, and you may want to set up your own where there are more than just pigeons.
The practice was meant to close the cycle of life by offering the physical aspect of a person (a.k.a. the meat) back to the universe. Since there weren’t many trees to build coffins in that part of the world, it also saved them a lot of digging.
Word to the wise, you may want to uninvite the children from the reception portion of this funeral.
If you are looking for a really zen way to dissolve into the backdrop, then you may want to check out this new form of water cremation that is really making waves!
Aquamation, or alkaline hydrolysis, is where the body is placed inside a steel vessel filled with water and a small amount of an alkaline solution which breaks down the body much faster than regular water. Instead of months, you’ll be sleeping with the fishes in a matter of hours!
Similar to aquamation, burial at sea involves releasing the body into the ocean for nature to take its course under the sea. But there’s more to it than simply motoring out past the buoys and dropping off a bag with bricks attached.
Sea burial has been an important part of seafaring and military culture since time immemorial, from the Vikings right up to modern day where we see heroes such as Neil Armstrong honored with this sacred procession.
While there already exists a “green” burial, where a body is interred within a biodegradable casket and decomposes naturally. How could you top this? The better question is how can we top-soil you.
Instead of letting the nutrients within a human body “go to waste” by being buried far underneath the ground, some future-thinkers are looking to utilize traditional composting methods that have been historically practiced with livestock on people.
While not yet legal, the process would turn you into healthy soil within a month that your loved ones could then use in their gardens.
If the future of humanity is in the stars, then why not join the advancement of civilization and send your earthly remains into orbit, or beyond?
While definitely not typical, there have been several instances of this since the nineties. The first “space burial” was done by NASA, flying the cremated remains of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry into orbit, before they returned back to Earth. There are already a few private organizations that will fly you or your family members to the Moon, one-way.