With all the attention on how we can reduce our carbon footprint, most of us don’t know that we continue to have a significant impact on the environment when we die. All this thanks to our toxin-riddled funeral industry.
The idea is that mushrooms will grow from your body once you’ve been buried. They slowly digesting your body while neutralizing environmental contaminants you harbor such as pesticides, heavy metals, or preservatives.
When first announced 10 years ago it created a whole lot of controversy. The suit costs around $1,500 and has gained in popularity. Luke Perry, the actor who died earlier this year, was buried in such a suit.
The suit relies on the power of “mycoremediation”, which is the ability for mushrooms to clean up toxic contaminants in the environment. “I was inspired by the idea that mushrooms are the master decomposers of Earth and thereby the interface organisms between life and death,” said artist and co-creator of the suit, Jae Rhim Lee.
This may sound “creepy” – the idea of being eaten by anything after death doesn’t sit well with a lot of people. But there’s a real need for better burial options.
Right now, we have to cut down trees to make our caskets, which are then coated in chemicals, so they’ll last for centuries. The caskets then take up a whole lot of valuable land. Plus, in preparation for burial our bodies are pumped full of toxic formaldehyde which is released into the sewage system.
Cremation may sound more natural, but it isn’t much better environmentally. Cremation of a dead body is carried out at a temperature ranging between 1400 to 1800 degrees Fahrenheit for 75 minutes. The intense heat helps reduce the body to its basic elements and dried bone fragments.
That’s an incredibly energy-intensive process that releases a significant amount of greenhouse gases and toxins into the environment. In the UK, for example, cremation is responsible for 16 percent of the country’s mercury pollution thanks to all our old dental fillings.
Dying is hard on the environment.
Think about what you want to be your last footprint on the planet.
For a description of other burial alternatives see prior post from December 2018 titled Burial and Memoriam.