What to Do When an Environment Advocate Passes Away

Coffin with flowers

No matter whom you ask, they know that a traditional funeral is costly. There is the casket or urn, where the body will rest as it is either lowered to the ground or kept in a safe space. The processing of the body is also to be considered, as embalming is a standard practice to keep the body from decomposing while it is available for viewing.

These all sound pretty standard and you have money to spend on the arrangements, but what if the person you are sending off to their final rest was a known nature lover? Would you risk disrespecting their life’s work in a funeral arrangement that takes such a toll on the environment? If you would rather bury them in a respectful manner, consider the following:

Forgo the Traditional Coffin

Metal coffins take a long time and plenty of resources to make. Do not mistake them to be your only option. In fact, they are the least environment-friendly option if you consider the process of embalming that they are often paired with.

Embalming uses harsh chemicals that, should they leak into the soil, could prove to be harmful. Of course, this does not mean leaving the body exposed and potentially resulting in a health risk. Eco funerals, which are on the rise in the UK, use a shroud or biodegradable casket, allowing the body to return to nature on its own.

Schedule a Shorter Formal Viewing

The person’s death should have been registered within five days, during which the burial can be planned. For many who have family flying in from other parts of the UK, a longer formal viewing affords them some time to travel and reach their destination with plenty of time left for grieving.

What this means for the environment is hours of candles or fluorescent lights in use to keep the body presentable. Families holding the wake will not want visitors to think they do not care enough for the departed to give them a decent funeral. They might even go out of their way to plan a lavish ceremony, all of which only use energy wastefully. A night or two for viewing should already be enough. A week, however, is excessive if you are considering the environmental toll.

Bury the Body Close to Home

Woman visiting grave

Burial spots such as cemeteries are not for the dead. After all, they no longer have the capacity to complain about their resting arrangements. However, they do need to be considered, especially if they had strong beliefs.

Families choose burial spots that are scenic not because they want their loved one to have a good view, but rather because they want to be greeted by the serene environment when they visit. This might lead them to cemeteries that are far from their residence. On burial day, that means several cars burning fuel to reach the final resting place. Add to that all the gas you will consume for every visit and your loved one might just turn in their grave from discomfort.

You may not be comfortable with a burial that seems unorthodox but if it is what your dearly departed would have wanted, do your best to make it happen as your final gift to them.