Burial Reefs

My (alive and healthy) mother wants to be buried in a pine box. She has reminded all of us on multiple occasions to visit Budget Casket upon her demise. I am a budding environmentalist, but the idea of that just creeps me out. For myself, I want a big, solid container that keeps everything out! I’ve been reading about green burial options for years, but none of them seem appealing to me. I know this makes me a bad environmentalist, but I don’t like the idea of decomposing along with the rest of what’s in the ground! (shiver)

That said, I read about one green burial option today that actually sounds viable! This one, I think I can get behind. There’s a company called Eternal Reefs that takes a person’s cremated remains, seals it in a concrete container, and turns that container into an artificial, underwater reef. Sea life grows around the reef, and it lasts about 500 years. A little brass plaque marks the spot, so people can still visit and even dive to the site. Voila – you’ve got a place for loved ones to visit, you are sealed in from all the scary biological processes (except for the horrible cremation process in the first place), and you’re not only not harming the environment, but you’re actually fostering its health. Another plus: your children don’t have to diligently keep the dog from knocking over your creepy urn, nor do they have to keep paying for a burial plot in perpetuity. Kind of neat. Just make sure I get submerged off of South Padre, not Galveston, please.

http://www.cnn.com/2009/TECH/02/17/dying.green/index.html

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5 Responses

  1. Eco-friendly cemeteries and burial are without a doubt a good idea. But as for the reef idea, how will the families visit grave sites that are under the ocean?

    The reef burial idea has good intentions but is short-sighted in the same way as ash scattering without memorialization is. In both cases, nothing is left for the surviving family. It will unfortunately take a generation or two before this loss is felt by our society and the practice dies out.

  2. Well, that’s a very good question. I would assume there would be underwater photos made available, and the families could visit the beach near the site. Obviously a more attractive option for those who live near water than us land-locked folks, but I still think it’s a step in the right direction. Would an underwater webcam be too morbid? 🙂 You could watch the fish swim. It would be like a screen saver, but so much better…or weird, dark, and morbid, not sure which! Although I have to say, I really hate visiting cemeteries, so anything else seems like a better option to me.

  3. i want one of the pods that they plant and then put a tree on it. i couldn’t care less what happens to my body, but i would like to give back to the earth instead of making it worse.

    on the family thing, one thing i’ve learned is that death/funeral is all about the people still alive. so i do want to give them an option of a place to come visit IF THEY WANT TO. i figure a tree in a grove is as nice a place as any, and far less creepy than a bunch of tombs.

  4. sorry, one more. this is the only “green” cemetery in texas, i believe.

    http://www.ethicianfamilycemetery.org/

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