It is not a pleasant topic to think about, but it is a part of life. There are many opinions on what happens after we die, but there is one inevitable event—in some way or another, we find ourselves in dirt. The great thing is, there are many options and paths we can take to get there. For example, some of these options are cremation, regular burials, Viking funerals and the list goes on.
Unfortunately, these can get complicated when preparing and taking environmental factors into account, especially Viking funerals. Unfortunately, there are also numerous legal issues with Viking funerals. I recommend an eco-friendly, creative option—natural burials. These are different than burials as we normally know them.
Typically, a dead body is pumped with chemicals, covered in makeup, dressed in a nice suit or dress, placed in a box and buried in a cemetery. The embalming fluid used in this method is harmful, and cremation is not in the clear either.
As reported by Connor Spackman with BBC News, Rosie Inman-Cook of the Association of Natural Burial Grounds explained "embalming fluid used in conventional burials contained 'litres of toxic fluid' while cremation released a significant amount of carcinogens into the atmosphere."
Natural burials are better for the environment. This method nourishes the earth instead of separating the body and the earth.
According to Matthew Cella of U.S. News, advocates for this eco-friendly method argue, "it's nothing new, 'just a return to what we used to do.'"
Think of it like recycling or composting, but not with trash or food. I am not saying you should bury your loved ones in the way that you placed your old hamster in a shoe box, but that is an option. People should be aware there are more options for their burials. There are areas where people are currently digging natural graveyards.
According to Allyson Chiu with US News, "America's first green conservation burial ground— The Ramsey Creek Preserve in Westminster, South Carolina — was opened in 1998. Now, there are more than 120 cemeteries across the U.S. that offer eco-friendly services. They range from hybrid cemeteries – conventional cemeteries that have converted part of their land for green burials – to conservation burial grounds – a natural burial ground that also acts as a wildlife preserve."
This method is better because it only uses resources which can go back into the earth, such as biodegradable and organic materials. Less resources are used when going this green route.
Plus, it looks simpler and peaceful. Funerals take a lot of time and unnecessary steps, and this is also a way which gets the family more involved with taking care of the deceased. With green burials, the costs tend to be cheaper, but, like any funeral, prices may vary.
We should make it easier to lovingly place our loved ones to rest. Many of us probably had someone tell us when we were growing up to "always be our unique selves", and natural burials sure are the more unique approach.
This is a great alternative to our typical cemeteries, and it takes care of our planet. Would you or someone in your family want to be surrounded by flowers and laid to rest in nature to feed the plants? This is just one of the questions we need to ask ourselves. It is never too early to plan ahead.
I personally would like to be buried in a biodegradable floral basket, or maybe a fungus suit. I am aware all of this might sound weird, but if anything, it is peaceful way to go and ultimately better for the planet.