Up until now all of my blog posts have argued that political policy and corporate responsibility are the key components in creating biodegradable products, design and materials. But this post will be the optimistic opinion, because in the last important choice anyone makes for themselves or their loved ones there is a biodegradable answer: biodegradable caskets. For centuries ancient societies used mummification to preserve the physical being of a person, most often for important individuals. There is one society still mummify their dead (National Geographic, April 2010). There is also a group in Utah who offer a pet mummification service. More recently in the rest of the world cremation and wooden or metal caskets inside of concrete boxes, or even sarcophagus's were the options for preparing the body after death. While there are these small groups who are still preparing bodies for the afterlife in the least biodegradable way possible, there are more people planning on cremation or allowing their body to break down into the earth quickly.
With the population of the world growing and growing, and cemeteries filling capacity, our world really is shrinking. So why not save some space and become your own biodegradable option? While some cemetaries prefer that new residents use certain materials that are not very "green," there is a way around this. The law in Minnesota states that funeral plots can be made on personal property as long as the property is 3 or more acres. And for those looking to have a beautiful casket for your ceremony then there are a variety of casket designs made from untreated wood or even paper. There are a great deal of religious and personal issues that abound with the topic of death, but I think that people are starting to think about the world as a place that they can leave without leaving behind a physical trace for decades to come. I also think that since people feel so strongly about death this is one area of biodegradability that the government would be unable to pass any sort of strict regulations. I respect that people have the choice to do with their bodies what they feel is best for their beliefs, whether they are religious and/or environmentally minded (because I do not think that those two things are opposites).