Planning your funeral is a considerate way to show your family that you love and support them. In a time of grief, many individuals have a difficult time exploring the best way to memorialize their loved ones. You can take this stress off your family and represent your values after death by planning an eco-friendly funeral.
Eco-friendly funerals allow the deceased to make a positive environmental impact from below Earth’s surface. Planning an eco-conscious end-of-life ceremony can bring you and your family peace. You can explore your options today to stay on top of your funeral plans.
One of the best ways to practice sustainability is to get back to basics. Natural living processes avoid the use of chemicals and synthetic materials. Traditional burial practices avoid these external components.
Before the Civil War, Americans buried the dead in shallow graves without caskets or corpse preservatives. They placed the deceased in a shroud to honor their bodies and covered them with soil. Traditional burial processes protect the environment from various pollutants and conserve natural resources.
In the U.S., we pollute the environment with 827,000 gallons of corpse preserving fluids annually. These chemicals negatively impact the ecosystem, causing nutrient depletion. We also use 1.6 million tons of concrete and 30 million feet of natural wood in the burial process.
When you plan a traditional burial process, you ensure that your body will not contribute to environmental degradation after death. The funeral option also allows your body to decompose and organically unify with the Earth.
To maximize your body’s contribution to environmental protection after death, you can plan a compost burial. These natural burial methods convert your body into rich nutrients to support the local ecosystem. Similar to the process mentioned above, this method avoids the use of caskets and chemicals.
Compost burials lay your body on the Earth, placing wood chips on top. Individuals then add moisture or nitrogen on top of the plot and let microbial activity begin. Enzymes decompose the body, leaving nitrogen and carbon-rich soil behind.
Your loved ones can collect this nutrient-dense matter and use it to grow a memorial garden or tree. When converted into plant material, your body can filter tons of carbon and air pollutants, producing a clean and supportive atmosphere. Using your remains to support ecological conservation can comfort your family after your death.
Only 32% of individuals talk to their families about after-life plans. Reach out to your loved ones and explain your funeral options, allowing them to contribute to this process. Your family will experience this event, so it is essential to make sure they feel supported in whatever option you choose.
Mushroom Burial Suit
Another eco-conscious burial option includes a mushroom suit. This process is non-conventional, and it effectively converts your body into a toxin filter to conserve the environment. There is no better way to tell your loved ones you care about them than preserving the planet for their future use.
The suite consists of organic cotton with embedded mushroom spores. As your body begins to decompose, the mushrooms grow. The fungal matter processes toxins and converts your body into rich nutrients to support soil composition.
Due to our modern consumption patterns, our bodies are full of various toxins. Preservatives, pesticides, heavy metals, and volatile organic compounds reside within us. Mushrooms filter these elements before they reach the soil. The nutrient-dense soil, in turn, helps the fungi grow, and filter more toxins in the environment.
Many individuals believe that cremation is a sustainable alternative to the modern burial process. Cremation uses 28 gallons of fuel to process one body. It releases soot, carbon monoxide and mercury into the environment, which contributes to rising global temperatures.
To shrink the carbon footprint of your end-of-life plan, you can engage in aquamation. This is an eco-friendly process that heats your body in water to attain skeletal remains. Aquamation removes muscle, blood, and flesh from your body, so your skeletal remains can transform into ashes.
Companies can repurpose the heated water to process other bodies in the future. This shrinks the carbon and water footprint of aquamation.
To support the aquatic ecosystem after death, you can plan to become an eternal reef. Nearly 50% of the planet’s coral reefs died in the past few decades. These structures are essential to the health and existence of marine species.
You can use your deceased body to heal this issue. Scientists created a way to combine cement and your remains to develop a reef pod. Your loved ones can produce a plaque to present on the reef in remembrance of your life. They can also design the reef to reflect your values.
Over 1,800 eternal reefs exist in the ocean today. These structures aid in healing endangered aquatic species and create new habitats. Instead of taking up dwindling space in a cemetery, you can repurpose your remains to support marine vitality.
Where to Start
If you are planning your eco-friendly funeral, it is essential to reach out to your family. Talk to your loved ones about your funeral preferences and accommodate their mourning needs. You can always alter your plan down the line to best support your friends and family.
Next, you can reach out to your local funeral home and discuss accommodations for eco-friendly funerals. Since the pandemic, many funeral companies have offered virtual services and pre-recorded memorial videos to reduce the event’s environmental impact. Ensure that you connect with a company that honors your eco-conscious practices to optimize your funeral service.