I don’t like to think about it, who does, but I’m going to die eventually. And I hater to be the one to say it but you in all likelihood will, as well.
For most of us in the this country, there are two options; you are conventionally buried or you are burned. But both have downsides
According to Grist:
- If you choose to be buried, as the majority of Americans do, your body will be drained of blood and injected with a cocktail of formaldehyde, methanol, and other solvents that prevent decay. This pickling prolongs the amount of time it takes for your body to decompose, but it will decompose eventually, and as it does, all of those toxic chemicals are leached out of you and into the earth — despite preventative measures like caskets and coffins. For a proper viewing and burial, you will pay between $7,000 and $10,000, and you’ll still be dead.
- Burning comes with its own environmental problems. Cremation — in which bodies cook for a few hours in an 1,800 degree oven — releases soot, carbon monoxide, and trace metals like mercury into the air, and each cremation requires 28 gallons of fuel and releases of 540 pounds of carbon dioxide into the air. En masse, it’s not an insignificant amount: the Funeral Consumers Alliance estimates that 246,240 tons of carbon dioxide are released each year due to cremation, or the equivalent of 41,040 cars.
Neither sounds ideal, huh? But there’s a greener way to go
Meet the Infinity Burial Suit.
The brain child of designers Jae Rhim Lee and Mike Ma, the Infinity Burial Suit is essentially a body suit you wear after death. They say that it
“cleanses the body of toxins before returning it to nature.”
The human body is full of toxins. According to the CDC, we have hundreds of toxic pollutants in our bodies, like pesticides, preservatives, and heavy metals like mercury and lead. NOT things we want leaching into the soil or groundwater. This where the where the mushroom come in.
Lee knows many people might be uncomfortable with the idea, but she also thinks it can help people come to terms with their own inevitable demise.
In a 2011 TED Talk she said,
“We want to eat, not be eaten by, our food. But as I watch the mushrooms grow and digest my body, I imagine the Infinity Mushroom as a symbol of a new way of thinking about death and the relationship between my body and the environment.”
After six years of development, the Infinity Burial Suit was finally available about about three years ago. Its first user will be Dennis White, a 63-year-old suffering from primary progressive aphasia, a rare neurological disease.
White said in a documentary,
“I never thought about death until I was diagnosed, and I want to go out with a bang, like I’ve lived most of my life. What a long, strange trip it’s been.”