In this episode of Future Lens, our hosts Gordon Stencell and Mark Pundzius discuss alternative burial practices. We talk about a more ethical and environmentally conscious approach to our burial practices, from turning yourselves into diamonds, or even subaquatic habitats to save our precious reefs. Would you prefer to become a tree or be consumed by mushrooms?
A Burning Question
Since the late 1990’s the trend toward cremating rather burying our dead has been gaining ground. As costs increase and space in cemeteries gets harder to purchase, consumers are considering alternatives to the traditional end of life rituals and practices. During the current pandemic, additional constraints and restraints have been put in place for public safety.
While the hair-accessory craze, called “mourning jewelry” or “hairwork” was a Victorian trend of fashioning wearable trinkets out of the hair of deceased loved ones, modern trendsetters are providing keepsake alternatives in the form of pressed vinyl records and “spirit pieces”, diamonds made from the ashes of your dearly departed.
The “Greening” Of Death
Demand for earth-friendly ways to care for the dead has sparked the market of greener options. A “green funeral” requires two elements: no embalming and a biodegradable casket, while a “green burial” is one of an un-embalmed body in a biodegradable casket without a burial vault or a grave liner. Green cemeteries are cemeteries dedicated to green burials. These cemeteries do not allow embalmed bodies or burial vaults and all caskets must be biodegradable.
Detox After Death
Want to reduce your carbon footprint after death? A jumpsuit is woven from a mushroom-spore-infused thread called the Infinity Burial Suit slowly digests you after burial all the while neutralizing any environmental contaminants you harbour - such as pesticides, heavy metals or preservatives. Due to popular demand, they are introducing an infinity pod to use this process to help your pet’s body return to nature.
Donate To Science
Beyond organ donation, you can now sign your body away to the Institute for Plastination in Heidelberg, Germany. Using “plastination”, (a process designed to preserve the body for educational and instructional purposes), you can be repurposed to support medical professionals as well as educating the broader public about the wonders of the human body.