Sustainability Beyond the Grave
There are lots of things you can do in your daily life to be more sustainable, for example, switch to reusable bottles, reduce your plastic consumption and cycle to work instead of driving. But what about what happens when we leave this place called earth?
Although not often talked about, we can still positively impact the environment beyond the grave, if only we know how. There are many different changes we can make when planning our final arrangements.
This article will look at 5 ways you can positively contribute to the earth beyond the grave.
#1 Prepare your assets
After you pass, your assets, including your home, will be passed down to your beneficiary. What you can do is make your home as efficient as possible, so it continues to lower toxic emissions beyond the grave. The best way to make your household more efficient is by investing in renewable energy for your electricity and switching your heating source. These are the things that will stay, while appliances and furnishings may likely be replaced.
Investing in a renewable energy source for your electricity means switching from the reliance on the National Grid that uses non-sustainable energy such as oil or gas and instead invests in solar panels. Solar panels use the energy directly from the sun, as opposed to fossil fuels, and transform it into electricity. This also means you do not have to rely on outside sources.
You can also switch your heating supply over to a more eco-friendly option, such as a gas, electric, or biomass boiler, a heat pump, or solar thermal. All are great options to make a positive, cleaner change.
#2 Switch from a casket to an eco-friendly alternative
While a casket is one of the traditional methods of burial, it is not the most environmentally friendly. Many modern coffins are made with wood that is chemically treated and uses synthetic glues and paints, which means they are not biodegradable and can leak nasty toxins into the soil.
There are many, eco-friendly alternatives to a casket that you can choose from, for example:
- An egg-shaped pod made from biodegradable materials that is buried under a seed or a tree
- A coffin that uses fungus to help decomposition and fertilize the soil
- A Mourn urn that is made from bioplastic gradually release ashes into the earth
# 3 A flameless cremation
Many cremations emit toxins into the atmosphere and run using fossil fuels. Fossil fuels are a nonrenewable energy source that takes millions of years to form and pollutes the earth.
A flameless cremation is an alternative method to a fire cremation that instead uses 95% water and 5% alkaline to naturally break down remains. The scientific name for this method is Alkaline Hydrolysis and comes with many eco-friendly benefits. These include:
- Over 90% energy savings as it uses 1/20 of the energy of standard flame cremation
- No toxic emissions such as greenhouse gases or mercury are released
- No fossil fuels are burned in the process
A flameless cremation is a great way to contribute to the environment by saving energy and reducing pollution.
#4 Use products that will last or are biodegradable
Biodegradable products are made in such a way that when they are in contact with bacteria and fungi, they naturally dissolve. This significantly reduces the harm they can cause to the environment as with many products, they can take thousands, even millions of years to decompose. It is therefore important when making funeral arrangements, that you express wishes to friends and family that any products that are used on your burial site are to be biodegradable. For example, rather than standard flowers that are placed upon water-soaked foam blocks, opt for biodegradable copper mesh. Both enable a beautiful floral tribute, but one can harm the environment while the other dissolves quickly.
#5 Opt for a minimalist burial
As above, many products are used in a burial that can harm the environment. This doesn’t mean your family cannot pay tribute. It just means making changes to the type of tribute and the products that are used.
Biodegradable products are a great alternative but are not the only option. Instead, you can choose to take a minimalist approach. This kind of approach doesn’t mean you cannot have any items at all. It just means you only use items that emphasize meaningful experiences rather than possessions, and you know will last a long time and in turn, reduce plastic waste and consumption. Opting for personalized bronze headstones that are not only durable but feature an etched photo, can replace and outlive the plastic-wrapped photos that usually sit on a grave.
Making sustainable swaps now and beyond the grave is a great way to make a positive contribution to the planet.