As much as it’s hard to talk about, it’s inevitable that one day you will die. Burial arrangements will need to be made – but what if you don’t want to choose between cremation and burial? Wouldn’t it be great if there were other options out there? Something that’s more gentle on the environment than releasing poisonous gases into the air, or taking up precious earth with a casket. Well, thankfully there is. Here are five natural burial options to choose from.
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Normally, when a body is prepared for burial, it is embalmed. All blood is drained from the veins, and replaced by formaldehyde-based chemicals through the arteries. This is done to slow down the rate of decomposition to ensure that the body is presentable at it’s viewing. It can forestall decomposition for years, which if you think of it isn’t doing any good for the deceased nor the earth embracing their remains.
Enter a new movement: natural burial.
Decomposition is nature’s perfect waste management system. All nutrients are taken from the remains to help support burgeoning plant life, which support the entire local ecosystem.
Green Burial Canada offers natural burials, which forego the embalming process, yet still can prepare a body for viewing using refrigeration and natural lotions. The body will be placed in an environmentally friendly shroud, and if requested a biodegradable casket. No grave liner or vault will be used.
The underlying principle is that we are all a part of the natural cycle of life, and that one individual can nourish the ecosystem of the internment location. Instead of trying to preserve the remains of the deceased, they are transformed into a vessel for the collective good. That’s powerful stuff.
Grow A Diamond
Use their ashes to grow a diamond.
Eterneva isolates the carbon in the ashes, and using special machines simulates the pressure of the earth’s mantle to grow your diamond. What nature produces over decades can be grown in just a few months using the same basic ingredients: carbon, pressure, and heat.
Every diamond is as unique as it’s donor. There are a variety of colours to choose from (blue, green, colourless, black, red, or yellow), and each stone will be graded and engraved with a personalized inscription along the diamond’s edge. If you choose to have it made into jewelry, Eterneva will help you pick just the right setting.
Just as a diamond ring symbolizes every lasting love in a engagement ring, it now can extend that promise past death. It’s a unique and subtle way to keep your loved one close.
A Coral Reef
Was your loved one a conservationist? Did they love the oceans and respect the multitudes of living creatures swimming in its waters? Did they mourn the slowly dying coral reefs that made up the base of these ecosystems?
What if they could help those reefs recover, using their remains?
Living Reef Memorial is a Canadian company based in British Columbia who offers a unique chance to help support these ecosystems and a chance to create a positive outcome during a time of grief. They handcraft artificial reefs using natural sea shells, sand, ash, and a bit of ocean friendly concrete.
These reefs will be placed at the location of your choice from a list of barren sea floors, where they will be instrumental in rehabilitating the ocean floor. The coral reef will attract living creatures, and the area will grow and flourish.
Creating life from death. What a wonderful testament.
Take a traditional option and expand upon it to fit earth-friendly ideals.
Passages offers an array of beautiful urns that will naturally disperse into the ecosystem.
The urns are divided into two categories: biodegradable in earth, or in water. The earth vessels will gradually degrade into the soil, while the water vessels are designed to float briefly before sinking gracefully into the water to biodegrade naturally. All of the options available are gorgeous and thoughtful pieces. Made from paper, wood or cornstarch, the earth bound boxes are sturdy yet whisper delicacy. The water destined urns that are made from paper resemble things you would find in the ocean, like shells or turtles. They also include urns made from salt rock and urns made from gelatin and sand – both which will dissolve in as little as four hours.
But my favourite of all of these choices is a cost-friendly, absolute exquisite send-off: real, sun-dried bougainvillea petals, that you can scatter on the ground or the water to honour your loved one. Just as the tradition of each individual laying a rose on a casket before burial, each mourner can scatter these poignant petals on the send-off location of choice.
Be A Tree
This is my personal favourite.
Ever since I was a kid, I’ve had a deep affinity to trees, spending many hours walking alone through Toronto’s High Park, almost all 399 acres of it. It was at this young age when my wish for my ashes to be scattered among those trees was planted. Imagine my bliss when I discovered a company that offers a way to help germinate your own tree from your ashes.
Bios Urn® is the world’s first biodegradable urn which is designed to nurture a tree from ashes. It’s ingenious in it’s simplicity. Unlike other options I’ve seen, this capsule is manageable at 16 x 16 x 32 cm and 1.87 lbs. Two separate sections form the capsule: a larger unit to hold all of the ashes, and a smaller one which cups your chosen seed. It can support plants, a bush or a tree, and can be planted indoors or out.
The urn is completely biodegradable, but also has no expiration date there’s no rush to get it in the ground. This also means that you can order one for any preparations of your own, knowing that years from now it’ll still be there to use.
The company is really dedicated to support their clients, offering tons of articles on planting and tree health. They also offer urns for your pets (which is adorable and so heart-warming), and they are on a mission to open more parks instead of cemeteries.
Death Is Not The End
If anything this post has brought you, is the belief that life beyond death is possible. Though you have no control over the spiritual aspect, you have a multitude of ways to ensure that your remains can be reintegrated into the cycle of life.
One of most poignant things that I was told when my husband died was a scientific truth veiled in mystery: all energy contained in your now deceased loved one is never destroyed. Though they are gone, their energy is not.
Why not use some of that tangent energy to bring life?
Comment below about your personal favourite, and why it spoke to you. What else would you like me to research for you? Let me know!
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