Green Funerals Offer an Eco-Friendly Alternative to Traditional Burial and Cremation

"The environmentally friendly funeral industry is booming," says The Atlantic, as Americans seek out ways to go green even after they're dead.

There are many ways we living, breathing human beings can contribute to the green movement. We can drive fuel-efficient cars or install eco-friendly lightbulbs or invest in a smart thermostat. Each of these representative industry shifts to offer greener alternatives to traditional practices, and many folks have taken advantage either out of a sense of ecological duty or an eagerness to participate in a hot trend.


But what about staying green after you're no longer a living, breathing human being? How can you be eco-friendly once you're dead? After all, you may be shocked to hear just how polluting normal funeral practices can be. Shannon Pallus of The Atlantic explains:

"Each year, a million pounds of metal, wood, and concrete are put in the ground to shield dead bodies from the dirt that surrounds them. A single cremation requires about two SUV tanks worth of fuel. As people become increasingly concerned with the environment, many of them are starting to seek out ways to minimize the impact their body has once they’re done using it."  

Enter: the environmentally friendly funeral industry, which Pallus describes as "booming" in the wake of the green movement's recent popularity. There's even a non-profit watchdog group, the Green Burial Council, dedicated to keeping an eye on businesses that offer eco-friendly ways of sending off the dead.

The GBC advocates for green burials that involve light-weight biodegradable caskets and a less-polluting mixture of embalming oils that removes the formaldehyde. Another unique idea supported by a group called the Urban Death Project is to replace cemeteries with a downtown, three-story compost structure where bodies are “folded back into the communities where they have lived.” As for alternatives to cremation, there are eight states in which "green cremations" are legal. This process forgoes flames and instead dissolves bodies in a mixture of chemicals.

Take a look at Pallus' full article (linked below) to learn more about the green funeral industry, and let us know what you think.

Read more at The Atlantic

Photo credit: Robert Hoetink / Shutterstock

Stand up against religious discrimination – even if it’s not your religion

As religious diversity increases in the United States, we must learn to channel religious identity into interfaith cooperation.

Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
  • Religious diversity is the norm in American life, and that diversity is only increasing, says Eboo Patel.
  • Using the most painful moment of his life as a lesson, Eboo Patel explains why it's crucial to be positive and proactive about engaging religious identity towards interfaith cooperation.
  • The opinions expressed in this video do not necessarily reflect the views of the Charles Koch Foundation, which encourages the expression of diverse viewpoints within a culture of civil discourse and mutual respect.
Keep reading Show less

Here’s how to curb your impatience once and for all, and finally feel less stressed

"Having a high level of patience often isn't something that comes naturally; instead, it is something that improves over time"

Personal Growth

You're waiting for the elevator at the office, sitting in a meeting that's late to start, or checking your phone with the hope that a co-worker finally responds to your email.

Keep reading Show less

NASA's idea for making food from thin air just became a reality — it could feed billions

Here's why you might eat greenhouse gases in the future.

Jordane Mathieu on Unsplash
Technology & Innovation
  • The company's protein powder, "Solein," is similar in form and taste to wheat flour.
  • Based on a concept developed by NASA, the product has wide potential as a carbon-neutral source of protein.
  • The man-made "meat" industry just got even more interesting.
Keep reading Show less

Where the evidence of fake news is really hiding

When it comes to sniffing out whether a source is credible or not, even journalists can sometimes take the wrong approach.

Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
  • We all think that we're competent consumers of news media, but the research shows that even journalists struggle with identifying fact from fiction.
  • When judging whether a piece of media is true or not, most of us focus too much on the source itself. Knowledge has a context, and it's important to look at that context when trying to validate a source.
  • The opinions expressed in this video do not necessarily reflect the views of the Charles Koch Foundation, which encourages the expression of diverse viewpoints within a culture of civil discourse and mutual respect.
Keep reading Show less