One Simple Swap: In this column, Planetarians share solutions that we know and trust and use that are “less-bad” than a lot of other products in the world. Each week, we will introduce you to something to ponder and, we hope, act upon – a product or a habit or a conversation starter. Before you replace your old favorite products, consider a Simple Swap!
Our views of funerals and burial practices are rapidly changing. By 2035 about 80% of Americans will choose cremation instead of the once “traditional” casket burial. But many are beginning to realize that cremation is not exactly eco-friendly, and a number of alternatives are becoming available.
Types of green burial include:
- Conservation burial
- Human composting, aka Natural Organic Reduction
- Mushroom caskets
- Burial at Sea
These options can be just as sacred as conventional burials, allowing for speedy and respectful decomposition, avoiding:
- Carcinogenic embalming chemicals (formaldehyde) pose significant risks to funeral professionals
- Ground and water pollution
- Requiring valuable real estate and “perpetual” maintenance
- Vaults made of concrete, a major source of GHGe, to keep cemetery grounds from sumping
- Fossil fuels (cremation) and nasty chimney-stack pollution
- Caskets/Coffins made of varnishes, wood, metals, and plastics, filled with synthetic “comfortable” materials.
Public-policy and funeral-industry snarls are starting to untangle, and some locales are embracing low-impact farewells. How we end our lives and give our bodies back to the earth can be a powerful witness to our most important beliefs, and a beautiful gift to our loved ones. Spend some time considering what legacy you want to leave.
Laura & Gil
Our friends Laura & Gil Richardson are, in their own words, “imperfect” but they are much further down this Planetarian path than anyone I know. They are a treasure trove of sustainable living inspiration and we’ve asked them to share one simple swap per week that they’ve made (and the products they love) in hopes it might inspire you to make them, too.