Aside from creating lists of our ideal funeral music, our funeral plans are something that we rarely really consider. The idea of “once I’m gone, I’m gone” means that the environmental impact of a traditional funeral often goes overlooked. I have to say that I had never really thought about how my death would affect the environment.
Wood for coffins, brass for the fixtures, the chemicals used to preserve the body, the mining industry required for memorial and headstones, it all has a lasting impact on our planet. And the thing is, no matter how much expensive wood and stone we place around ourselves we will eventually be claimed back by the Earth.
Others are thinking the same thing and are now trying to devise ways to turn a negative impact into a positive experience for the family and friends of those who pass away. An Italian firm, Capsula Mundi, has begun designing organic burial pods, that enable our loved ones to be buried beneath trees. Turning stark graveyards into peaceful, spiritual forests, the design allows our remains to nourish new life whilst creating a lasting, natural reminder to our memory.
The thought of becoming a tree after death is beautiful and peaceful, and whilst they are still awaiting a licence to begin manufacturing their pods, Capsula Mundi do already sell pods for ashes that can be used in much the same manner, ensuring that the footprint that we leave doesn’t harm our planet.
Funeral Directors in the UK are also trying to make changes to the services that they offer, with an increasing number of options available for woodland burials and calm spaces to scatter ashes. It is now also possible to buy biodegradable coffins, made from bamboo, banana leaf and cardboard, whilst Eternal Reefs take cremated remains and transform them into reef balls used to help marine wildlife at a time when coral reefs are rapidly deteriorating.
With our increasing focus on reusing and recycling, it seems only natural that we should consider how we can reuse our bodies once we have passed away. By creating a lasting memory and adding beauty to what would normally be a sad situation, we can also ensure that the footprint we leave is a positive step for future generations.