Sustainable Dying


Today, I have some tips about sustainable post-mortem arrangements. I know it’s morbid, but I think it’s something we often don’t consider very deeply until it’s too late, or, even when we do, we may not have all of the information that we would like. So here’s a little list of options for finding final accommodations that have a smaller impact on the environment than “traditional” (at least in Western culture) burial in a cement casket or cremation:

  • Donate your organs: this is basically the “reuse” step of the afterlife. While this doesn’t help you with a final resting place, it is a great way a positive impact on the world even after you’re gone.
  • Green burial: this is a natural way of burying a body without embalming or cremating it first. The person “is simply placed in a biodegradable coffin or shroud and interred without a concrete burial vault.”
  • Conservation burial: this is similar to green burial, but “goes a step further to commit burial fees to pay for land acquisition, protection, restoration, and management.” This means that you can be planted in an area that will be conserved and can become a natural space for your loved ones to visit.
  • Become a tree: There are projects being launched including Capsula Mundi and Bios Urn that allow you to grow into a tree after you die.

Of course, we all have our family traditions and comfort zones, so do what feels right to you, but I encourage you to think about your options and the impact that you have on the earth, both during your life and beyond.


Written by Mariah Greico, Class of 2018

Photo source here

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