Burial alternatives

Excerpted from an article by Emanuela Campanella
Multimedia Journalist Global News

As life moves so quickly, people are often thinking about new ways of living, if it be new adventures or experiences. But what most people don’t think about are new ways of being buried. As dark as that sounds, funerals and cemeteries are the norm in Canada [and the United States] but companies across the globe are pushing the envelope in trying to take the green burial movement a step further.

The Cimetiere Catholique Granby, in Granby, Quebec, is the first cemetery in Canada to start a garden exclusively dedicated to biodegradable urns, where people’s ashes help grow trees. It’s called “Boise de Vie,” which translates to “the tree of life garden.” Essentially, instead of burying you in a casket, they bury your ashes in an urn made of natural products. From there, they include seeds of your choice from 20 different tree varieties compatible with the Canadian environment. “Environmentally [speaking], this process is wonderful. A conventional urn and a coffin may take several years to deteriorate. A coffin may [even] take up to 25 years. So we made a big ecological step.”

Capsula Mundi, an Italian company’s alternative to coffins, will see you buried in a pod, in a fetal position, with your remains feeding a tree. It follow the same idea as the urns, turning a graveyard of tombstones into a memorial park full of trees But instead of using ashes, it uses the decomposing body to nourish the tree. How it works is the body is placed in the fetal position and enclosed in a biodegradable burial capsule. Then it is planted in soil with a tree.

Dissolving the body, or resomation, is an alternative to fire cremation and uses alkaline and water to liquefy a loved one, sending the remains down a drain. The powered remains from the bones are then returned to the family. This so-called green cremation is seen as more energy efficient than cremation, which releases carbon dioxide into the environment. And it is similar to the natural breakdown of a body. The major difference is that this decomposition process takes about two hours to complete, while in a casket it can take up to 25 years.

The burlap sack, or shroud, burial is another natural burial process that uses only non-toxic and biodegradable materials to bury the dead. The Green Burial Council, an advocacy group, says this alternative is much safer for the environment because it doesn’t involve the embalming process bodies go through before they are buried in a typical wood, plastic and metal coffin.

Another option that appeals to persons who love the sea is the eternal reef process. Deteriorating coral reefs in the Florida Keys are bolstered by the addition of “pods”: the cremated remains of an individual are mixed with cement to create an artificial reef. The formation is then placed in the ocean – the spot selected by the individual or the family – where it becomes a haven for fish and underwater creatures.

A company has designed a burial container made to save space in cemeteries. It stands vertically, tapering from the top, where the head would be, down to the foot end, where cutting edges extend outward. This allows the container to bore its own hole as it’s screwed into the ground. As described in the patent, “The body is not affected by the motion as it is securely encapsulated within the container to stand proudly tall for all time. The inventor claims his method will give a cemetery about three times more burial space. In addition, these containers “can be readily installed in ponds, corners and steeply sloped land.”

Whatever you chose to do with your earthly remains, discuss it with those you trust and…..

…Put it in writing…

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