Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!
~ Hunter S. Thompson
You care about the environment. You know climate change is a real thing. You recycle. You finally remember to bring your reusable shopping bags to the grocery store. You have your own water bottle and you are trying to remember to use your glass straw (or some kind of reusable straw). You fully comprehend that we are on the precipice of that tipping point of no return in terms of squandering vital resources like air, water, soil, trees, food, etc. You may even have reduced your meat consumption or gone totally vegan in an effort to support greater sustainability.
Have you considered how your body may impact the environment and those left behind after you die? A green burial could be your last and perhaps one of your greatest statements about how you really did love the earth.
According to the Green Burial Council, conventional burials – embalming, funeral home viewing and placing a steel casket in a cement lined hole – result in the annual use of 77,000 trees and nearly 5 million gallons of embalming fluid containing cancer-causing chemicals. And these fancy toxic-style funerals aren’t cheap! On average, the entire process can cost a minimum $7,000.
One might think cremation would have less of an impact. It does in terms of taking up less actual land, but … according to the National Death Centre, a Britain-based funeral consulting group, one cremation uses as much energy as a 500-mile car trip and releases 250 pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
Ok, so how do you sidestep this final insult to the earth that goes against everything you believed when you were alive?
What are the alternatives?
Listen to the latest 50 Shades of Green Divas podcast to hear about some of the latest and most earth-friendly methods of creating a greener goodbye. We chat with Kerry Potter, owner of Dying to Bloom, a natural burial boutique in Nyack, NY, where she helps education people about their options for a green burial and holds a weekly Death Cafe meeting to help break the taboo of talking about this important fact of life.
If you haven’t really made plans for your body after you die, don’t wait. Do some homework — it won’t jinx you, and make you die sooner. Figure out what is most comfortable for you and let your family know your wishes. Also, if you can find a way to talk about it with other family members whose funerals you might be in charge of, be tactful, but have the conversation and help them understand their options and the potential implications they could have.
Death is difficult for so many reasons and talking about it can be a challenge, but it happens to all of us and the more conscious we are about how we live and how we die, the more positive our impact on our world can be.
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