Death is not only sad, it’s such a costly, wasteful and environmentally damaging affair – embalming our loved ones with dangerous chemicals such as formaldehyde, elaborate coffins and funerals; so it’s no wonder that green funerals and natural burials are gaining popularity.
When my mother died, we had somewhat of a low impact (read: low budget) funeral; not so much due to environmental concerns, but that my mother would have been absolutely horrified if she knew we splashed out a ton of cash on the process of dealing with her remains.
A cheap funeral does not mean you don’t love someone. My mother was cremated (the casket metal fittings reused on other coffins) and her ashes spread in various places she loved. There are no monuments to her, no headstones, not even a plaque – just beautiful places to visit.
Handy tip: when spreading ashes, make sure the wind is at your back! I unfortunately failed to do so as I was caught up in the emotion of the moment and wound up with some of my mother in my hair! It was a little tragic, but somewhat funny and I’m sure my mother would have shaken her head.. but smiled too.
Anyhow, moving right along..
Jumping on the eco-death bandwagon is PETA, an organization well known for over the top media stunts to attract attention to their cause in switching people to vegetarianism and veganism. While I’m not a fan of PETA for various reasons, their coffin idea is certainly a good one.
The coffins are just simple painted pine boxes, along with PETA slogans of course. It’s a coffin that certainly makes a statement.
The coffins are reasonably priced and PETA gets 75 bucks from the sale of each one. I think that other environmentally focused organizations could do well to take a leaf from PETA’s book (for a change); although it does make the topic of death somewhat more commercialized.
Still, making a social or environmental statement with your final moment above ground will give an added reason for folks to remember you by I guess – and it certainly would be a different sort of fundraiser for your favorite green group.
Personally, I like some of the middle Eastern traditions where the body is interred quickly negating the need for embalming and it’s wrapped in a shroud instead of an ornate box.
Then again, I’d also be happy to be cremated, composted or dumped unceremoniously into a hole and a tree planted over me while everyone made bad jokes about my less glamorous moments during life – of which there are plenty :).