I’ve never understood our modern burial practices. I have a general understanding of the methods, I just don’t understand how we can continue with these practices that fill this earth with even more toxic chemicals, waste space and resources and attempt to avoid the natural decomposition methods.
Most of us have heard of green burials and funerals by now. If you haven’t, you should look into it. An article summarizing the benefits of green burials and information for what you need to know and do if you are interested in this method, pulls out some interesting numbers when looking at resource use for current burial methods.
Going all-natural also saves resources when compared to modern burial practices. Take these numbers Harris compiled into consideration: There’s enough coffin wood in the average 10-acre cemetery to build 40 houses, as well as 1,000 tons of steel from metal caskets, 20,000 tons of concrete in burial vaults, and enough embalming fluid to fill a small backyard swimming pool. “Each year, we divert enough metal to construction of caskets and lining of some burial vaults to completely rebuild the Golden Gate Bridge, and enough concrete for burial vaults to create a two-lane highway running halfway across the country,” Harris [Grave Matters: A Journey Through the Modern Funeral Industry to a Natural Way of Burial] says. “All for a short period of preservation.”
That’s all very interesting, but what really lead me to writing this post is something I stumbled upon a few days ago. My fascination with fungi and the need to decay naturally in forest made me enthralled with this Ted Talk about a mushroom burial suit by Jae Rhim Lee. I’ll let her explain rather than writing about it. It’s worth watching, and if you’re not familiar with Ted Talks, those are worth looking into as well for inspiration and motivation. Ok, let’s get on with letting mushrooms eat your dead body!