Can you cut 1 Tonne of carbon pollution out of your life?Take the challenge
Written by Katie Liew
In part one of our series we discussed the unseen environmental toll of traditional burial techniques. In our final instalment, we look at the ingenious and environmentally friendly options for people wishing to leave this world in a manner that has less of a carbon footprint.
THE WEIRD AND WONDERFUL
The Infinity Burial Suit, aka the Mushroom Death Suit!
This one is fascinating to say the least. The brainchild of designers Jae Rhim Lee and Mike Ma, this invention is a body suit worn after death, cleansing the body of toxins before returning it to nature.
Mushrooms aren't called magic for nothing – they've been known to aid oil waste clean-up and clean toxic environments – such as our bodies.
The Suit is embroidered with threads infused with mushroom spores. After death, the mushrooms consume both the body and its toxins, which speeds up decomposition, neutralises toxins and return nutrient delivery to plants.
In short, the suit eats you up, transforming our bodies into vital nutrients leaving behind only a wonderfully clean eco-compost to enrich the earth and foster new life.
LIFE AFTER DEATH
Turns out there is such thing as life after death, but not as we know it.
Image: Bios Urn
The Bios Urn, created by Spanish designers, estudimonline, offers a sustainable and planet-strong approach to an inevitable phase of human life. It promotes a different form of life through nature - a tree seed to grow in the name of your loved one, housed in a 100% biodegradable urn. It is nothing short of a simplistically beautiful concept brought to life.
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With the ability to choose a tree seed of your choice, or 6 predetermined options (pine, ginko, maple, oak, ash, beech), the prepared soil allows a perfect water flow while an expansion disc increases to mix the ashes.
Image: Bios Urn
The urn is then buried and begins biodegradation when the roots are strong enough to come into contact with the ashes.
Image: Bios Urn
Pitfalls? You still need to be cremated, which as we know from part one of this series has its environmental impacts.
Image: Capsula Mundi
The Capsula Mundi, is an Italian design concept similar to the Bios Urn. It bypasses the cremation process (ashes however, can still be used in a smaller capsula) with the foetal-laid body nested in a biodegradable egg-shaped pod, thus replacing coffins. A chosen tree is then planted on top of the pod, serving not only as a memorial but a memory forest for our planet.
DEATH DEFYING ACT
The Urban Death Project is a compost based renewal system where bodies are laid into a mixture of woodchips and sawdust. Over time, the body decomposes, transforming into nutrient-rich compost which will be used in part by loved ones, and also city parks.
You can read more about the project in an article we wrote last year.
A green burial is one that further legitimises environmental and societal aims such as protecting worker health, reducing carbon emissions, conserving natural resources and preserving habitat.
If none of these options above are for you, you can still try and go as green as possible:
- Bypass embalming
- Choose a biodegradable casket (e.g. wicker, recycled cardboard) a or burial shroud of organic material (e.g. cotton, silk)
- Offset your burial's carbon footprint by making a contribution to a carbon fund, such as www.carbonfund.org
- Purchase a biodegradable urn made from cardboard, wicker or un-lacquered wood
- Donate your organs
- Recycle medical parts such as pacemakers, medical implants, prosthetic limbs
- Order organic only flowers
"Death is the only pure, beautiful conclusion of a great passion."- – David Herbert Lawrence.
Read part one of the series here.
Katie is your not so typical tweed jacket-wearing accountant who is currently dabbling in the marketing field. She strongly believes in the power of one (never to be underestimated!) and is passionate about leaving positive footprints and making a difference, even if it's as tiny as she is! You can keep up with her on Instagram and Facebook.
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