ECO-DEATH TAKEOVER: Changing the Funeral Industry

ECO-DEATH TAKEOVER: Changing the Funeral Industry



hello don't be alarmed it's just me a friend we're here today to talk about your future corpse now I know it's not the easiest to contemplate is it if only we could avoid this conversation somehow if only the overall death rate wasn't holding at a solid 100 percent that's everyone all people future corpses alas there is no avoiding it you will someday be a corpse and all your friends and family will have to decide what to do with you Gorp see poo what a gift it would be if they knew what you wanted for your body what a way to ease the minds of those given the sacred task of caring for you when you're dead let me help you start to make that decision today learn about your options go in with your eyes wide open I use that voice isn't scary to begin I'll send you off to my colleague Katelyn at your friendly neighborhood cemetery a place of peace and reflection amidst the chaos of modern life full of snapchats and hashtags Beyonce's and BuzzFeed's the cemetery is one of the remaining vestiges of American simplicity right I mean what could be simpler than putting a body in the earth right but have you ever thought about what really lies beneath that friendly neighborhood cemetery corpses obviously caskets yes maybe a few errant dinosaur bones no for real but is that it when your time comes will it just be you and ankylosaurus placidly turning to dust beneath the feet of your grieving loved ones unfortunately in today's funeral industrial complex the answer is no if you choose to spend eternity here dust to dust might be a little more complicated first there's your corpse Katelyn take it away when you die you're bound to develop the nasty habit of decaying so what will the funeral home do fill your circulatory system and body cavity full of a carcinogenic cocktail of preservative chemicals called embalming fluid the formaldehyde in embalming fluid is considered to be in the top 10 percent of the Environmental Protection Agency's most hazardous and damaging chemicals a known cancer caused are in Ballmer's must wear full-body protection when handling from aldehyde based embalming fluid and we're putting that in you and then putting you in the ground anything for that forever corpse to further protect an embalmed corpse we put our dead inside a sealed casket modern caskets can be made out of wood metal or a combination of both additionally they're often gasketed with a rubber seal to stop moisture from penetrating the interior and touching the corpse but wait there's more you don't get the smooth manicured look of a modern cemetery without some underground support to keep the earth from sinking around a grave caskets are placed inside burial vaults or grave liners essentially a casket for a casket I heard you like caskets so I got a casket for your casket for your casket usually made from concrete or metal they can be lined with plastic or wood allowing only the underside of the casket to come in contact with the earth the caskets and vaults aren't the only thing we're sinking into cemeteries the average American funeral can cost between 9,000 to $11,000 if not much more that's hundreds of dollars for embalming and preparation of the body thousands for a casket thousands for a vault thousands for a burial plot not to mention all the extra fees that can add up like the services provided by a funeral home while some people turn to crowd funding to pay for funerals it's rare that such a site will raise enough money in a short amount of time to pay for the funeral expenses even the popular crowdfunding site GoFundMe only raises an average of approximately $2,000 for funeral or memorial campaigns we have this cultural expectation that we need a fitting and respectable burial for our loved one and end up paying an exorbitant amount up to $10,000 for a sealed casket alone in hopes of ensuring the departed's preservation after doing right by their dead and spending beyond their means many people fall into severe debt or even bankruptcy but this is what we've been conditioned to do by our culture and the funeral industry pay to avoid the reality of death that is to say the more you pay the less you decay yay we're obsessed with putting extra resources into the ground with our dead in an attempt to stop our bodies from doing what they do best decomposing all the wood that goes into making caskets has to come from somewhere in one year over four million acres worth of forests go into creating caskets that's like the size of New Jersey over 115 tons of Steel are also used for caskets over 2 billion tons of concrete are used to make burial vaults and more than 800,000 gallons of formaldehyde are put into these conventional American cemeteries every year that's 800 thousand gallons of a known carcinogen going into the ground and for what a bid for immortality you can pump a corpse full of formaldehyde put it in an airtight casket inside a burial vault lined with plastic in the most pristine Memorial Park in the Western world and it's still only a temporary solution that body will decompose like a champ so what's a corpse to do what's the option for a person who lived an eco-conscious greener life to live a greener death can we really change the funeral industry I'm glad you asked join me as we step out of the traditional cemetery and into the world of natural burial and green death find out how simple it can actually be just to bury a body and let decompose but in a way less serial-killer way then I just said it at this point you might be asking um excuse me like what about cremation cremation doesn't require caskets or embalming and all that stuff isn't cremation like the Eco way to do death yes and no on the one hand direct cremation or cremation done without visitation or embalming can cut back on a lot of the resources that a more conventional burial requires when a corpse is ready to be cremated that they head directly to the Crematory a corpse can be cremated in a wooden casket with no metal parts or in a simple cardboard container that typically costs under $100 into the cremation machine they go and once the process is complete the cremated remains of the deceased are given to their loved ones to do with as they please a direct cremation typically costs between one thousand and twenty two hundred dollars so yes cremation does have its eco-friendly perks no embalming no fancy caskets no bolts required however where there's a Crematory there's fire and where there's fire there's smoke and in the case of a Crematory that smoke can contain a lot of harmful substances among those substances are carbon dioxide carbon monoxide hydrochloric acid sulfur dioxide dioxin as well as carcinogens poly chlorinated dye Ben zodiacs ins and poly chlorinated die benzo Firenze and in the case of corpses with amalgam dental fillings mercury vapor is dispersed into the air where it eventually rains down and can contaminate water the chemical output of a cremation gets even worse if it's not a direct cremation and the body has been embalmed in that case we have our old friend formaldehyde to contend with much like mercury when formaldehyde is incinerated and vaporized it is suspended in our atmosphere until it bonds with water and rains back down upon the earth you know what they say april showers bring cancer and yes measures can and should be taken to make cremation more environmentally friendly many crematoriums now have pollutant filtration systems that diminish but don't eliminate the chemicals that are released into the air during a cremation some are even reusing the enormous amount of excess energy used to cremate bodies to heat houses or public buildings even a swimming pool but as great as all these efforts are it's merely putting a bandaid on a process that's inherently flawed don't get me wrong yes cremation is a significantly greener option than burying an embalmed corpse in a vault but could it be better I think it can welcome to alkaline hydrolysis alkaline hydrolysis what's that some kind of corpse spa treatments well kinda if by spa treatment you mean process through which water and lye accelerate the natural decomposition of a corpse reducing it to soft bone fragments then yeah spa treatment in alkaline hydrolysis sometimes called aqua Meishan water cremation or flameless cremation a corpse is placed inside a pressurised steel container sometimes the corpse is in a biodegradable shroud but no casket is used the chamber is then filled with a mixture of 95% water and 5% potassium hydroxide or sodium hydroxide and heated to 365 degrees Fahrenheit over the course of two to three hours the alkaline pressured and heated solution circulates around the corpse and mimics the chemical decomposition process the body would undergo if buried except alkaline hydrolysis only takes a few hours instead of months or years all the soft tissue is dissolved leaving only bone fragments behind up to 30% more bone fragments than after a cremation the leftover broth from the process is an inert neutralized mixture of amino acids peptides sugars and salts that can be repurposed as fertilizer or safely flushed into the sewage the resulting bones are pulverized and returned to the dead person's loved ones to do with as they wish according to the funeral consumers Alliance when compared to flame cremation alkaline hydrolysis uses one-eighth of the energy and leaves less than a quarter of the carbon footprint and releases no mercury emissions from fillings and speaking of emissions since corpses and materials aren't being incinerated at such high heats between 1600 and 1800 degrees Fahrenheit in a typical cremation machine there's a drastic reduction in greenhouse gas and carbon dioxide emissions and hazardous chemical emissions are almost non-existent but what about using all that water the water used to reduce a body and then flush out an alkaline hydrolysis machine is equivalent to less than three days worth of water that the average living person uses I think aqua Meishan water cremation whatever you want to call it we need to decide on the name is potentially the future of body disposal so why is it everybody doing it why is it only approved in 14 states and three Canadian provinces why have their corpse spas on every corner because the human body is not garbage but a gift from God it is disrespectful to the human vessel to discard them in such how could you do such a thing to your mother if you loved her you wouldn't dare it is odd disgusting dehumanizing and insensitive to the dead basically the arguments against alkaline hydrolysis can be boiled down to boiled down get it what has been called the ick factor opponents of alkaline hydrolysis are troubled by the notion that grandma has turned into sludge and then flushed down the drain it's Satan's by the way all them fire and brimstone fighting words are pulled directly from arguments Americans had against cremation back in the late 19th and early 20th century most of those arguments of disrespect or treating humans as waste are echoed in the current battle against alkaline hydrolysis except now cremation is being defended as respectful and proper Oh America you fickle Beast but it's all about perception those who argue against alkaline hydrolysis like the Catholic Church see flushing away the dead as undignified and unnatural some see setting your mom's corpse on fire or putting her chemical soaked body in an underground box is undignified that's why we need lots of legal options different strokes for different dead folks as my mom used to say not the dead part also when your loved ones corpse is embalmed where do you think their bodily fluids go after being replaced with embalming fluid just like they did with cremation I believe we can come around to alkaline hydrolysis it's a matter of being exposed to it as writer Sarah Zhang said alkaline hydrolysis could certainly use an image makeover it's been used in medical schools for years and used for livestock and pets let's visit resting waters a pet aqua mission facility in Seattle to give you an in-person sense of how it's done I am Darcy I'm Joslyn and we on resting waters where a pet funeral home based in Seattle Washington so occupation is essentially water cremation so we read the body of the soft tissue using water instead of flame like traditional flame beats permission does after the aqua mayshen process we remove the bone remains from the tank and we then place them on a drying rack to dry naturally with just air and after they are dry which usually takes anywhere from 24 to 72 hours and they are processed and the same method that would be used for plane based cremation using a Crim you later that becomes the white take home ash remains so I chose aqua mission because I felt like it was the most suited for Seattle Washington we're a very green community and yet there wasn't a green option for disposition when it came to our pets and knowing that so many pet owners choose cremation it gave them an alternative to that aqua mission is more eco conscious and eco friendly to us than traditional flame based cremation because we don't burn fossil fuels we have low energy consumption and when you put the water consumption into real-world examples it's actually quite low so one cycle takes less water than an average family for uses and and you can also say that her pet it takes less water to aqua meet them than it does to give them a bath one of the reasons why we created the space and the way we did was because it gave families an option to come and see the body care facility and a way that didn't feel frightening to them our equipment is really benign and our space looks more like a medical facility than it does a disposition center we can have it look beautiful because we're not doing anything that otherwise isn't beautiful so as far as you know us doing this process gives us a really unique insight into aqua nation versus traditional flame based cremation and it's just when it comes down to it it seems as though it's a much gentler kinder and family-friendly process than going to a place where there is the retort the high heat the dust all of those things that's not the case when it comes to aqua Meishan so here in Washington State unfortunately aqua mayshen is not available to our human families only our pets which seems really silly because we're here and we're doing this beautiful green option but only for our furry family members and not all of us but shouldn't we all have the same option instead of seeing alkaline hydrolysis as some bizarre science experiment being done to our dead maybe we could reframe our collective brains to see it as a gentle eco-friendly solution to the environmental issue surrounding cremation and burial lake philosopher and alternative funeral advocate Phil Olson told the Atlantic burning grandma on fire seems to be violent in contrast green cremation is putting grandma in a warm bath is the system perfect of course not but with the cost of alkaline hydrolysis being equivalent to if not lower than some cremation services it seems to be the next natural step in the evolution of death technology of course if we're talking natural you can't get much more natural than natural burial it's in the name slow your roll their mortician isn't all burial natural are you trying to hock some gimmicky new-age gluten-free organic vegan woowoo funeral thingy in my woods okay fine yes natural is a tricky word and not the easiest to define humans have been naturally burying their dead since dead bodies were invented so somewhere between when that fish crawled out of the primordial soup and Elvis but what people in the West have come to accept as tradition in terms of burying our dead in the last hundred and fifty years is far from it I mean remember this now when we talk about natural or green burial we're at least I'm talking about the simplest way to put a corpse in the earth and let nature take its course with little to no negative environmental impacts what does that entail honestly not that much an uninformed corpse is either wrapped in a biodegradable shroud made of something like unbleached cotton or bamboo cloth or placed inside a casket made of biodegradable material like sea grass or willow like this lovely lady next a shallow hole three to four feet deep and human-sized is dug no burial vault required or wanted bonus the dead person's loved ones can help dig the hole if they're into that sort of thing the corpse is then placed in the earth and covered with dirt once buried the corpse can be feasted upon by bacteria carrion beetles maggots and the whole Wild Kingdom living in that soil voila you've been naturally buried Congrats your decay is imminent but maybe you're saying big whoop Caitlin maybe that green buried corpse will decay in the dirt faster but so what an embalmed corpse in a steel casket and cement vault will decay too it'll just take longer Plus isn't it unsafe to have an uninvolved corpse buried in such a shallow grave without a sealed casket what about all the germs and diseases that a corpse could leach into the ground and water supply don't listen to them my precious it'll just be you and me and the bacteria in fact a study published in the pan American Journal of Public Health found that not only do pathogens survive for a very short amount of time in a dead body and in the soil around it but the groundwater outside the cemetery was more contaminated by products associated with the burial process than the actual corpse Oh what's more the pathogens present in a corpse buried in a shallower natural grave are killed off quickly and efficiently leaving little to no chance of contamination why is that because when a corpse is buried closer to the surface of the earth in a shroud or biodegradable casket it has access to oxygen flow oxygen allows bacteria to break down the tissues of a body and as bacteria gobbles up that tissue it creates heat in certain conditions a decomposing corpse can reach well over a hundred degrees Fahrenheit even if a corpse doesn't reach such high temperatures the heat it does produce kills off most if not all pathogens that may have been present at death but the most striking difference between natural burial and a more conventional burial is the impact on the environment whereas there are ways to try and make conventional burial more green with things like eco friendly and bombing fluid or earth friendly caskets it's all an attempt to make an inherently destructive practice a little better however with natural burial the practice is not only non destructive it's inherently beneficial to the environment not to get all circle of life kumbaya on you but green burial is the ultimate way for a person to give back to the earth that supported them their entire life you eat plants and animals in life and in death they get a chance to eat you go get him but wait the benefits of green burial are multiplied in conservation burial conservation burial its natural burial with a kick yeah we need to decide how to market that one to listen it's the Wild West out here guys we're trying to hawk some gimmicky new-age gluten free organic vegan whoo at a conservation burial ground once you bury some bodies in the land it can't be developed or artificially altered it's like chaining yourself to a tree postmortem through a conservation easement which is a legal agreement with a land trust or a government agency that limits the use of land in order to protect it a conservation burial ground in effect becomes hallowed ground as Prairie Creek Conservation Cemetery in Florida calls it only plants and trees that are indigenous to the burial ground can be planted in essence conservation burial puts your death to work your death makes nature preservation possible guys who has the key who has the key but what does all this mean can alkaline hydrolysis and natural burial really replace cremation and more traditional conventional burial yes yes yes not only can they be replaced they should be replaced but how well death wings ask and ye shall receive eventually we're running a marathon here not a sprint first alkaline hydrolysis has to be approved and legalized for human corpses in your state / province / country while many places use alkaline hydrolysis for animals a lot of people are squeamish about using it for humans if a bill to legalize alkaline hydrolysis comes up for a hearing contact your representative and tell them yes do me now if other greendeath technology like recomposition a body composting should ever come up for a vote call an email about that – that's what we did with alkaline hydrolysis in California just this year and it already the Bradshaw celebration of life Center in Minnesota reports that given the choice between flame cremation and green cremation as they call it 80% of their customers choose green cremation the only thing holding it back seems to be public awareness availability and you know Church it's Satan's errand meanwhile natural burial legal in all 50 US states while its popularity is growing rapidly the general corpse burying public still doesn't seem to understand that natural burial is safe and very doable you hear things like actually it's against the law not to involve the body otherwise it's a public health risk not to mention a rotting corpse is disgusting okay I want to be crystal clear on this embalming is not required by law in America there are rare circumstances in a few states like transporting a corpse across state lines where it may be required but if you want to be buried at a natural burial site in just a shroud you have every right to do that do not I repeat do not let any funeral home convince you that embalming is a legal matter the only thing you're required to do preservation wise is refrigerate a corpse if it has not been buried within 24 to 48 hours depending on state law refrigerate can just mean some ice packs so the question remains remains get it I've been talking for a long time here people why isn't everyone choosing natural burial like alkaline hydrolysis it's all about access and awareness if you think that you might want a natural burial talk to your local funeral home ask them if they can offer such arrangements if they don't why not would they consider it the funeral industry is a business and funeral homes have to keep up with what their customers want in order to stay relevant and in business so if you want a natural burial tell your local funeral director hi I'd like to decompose Thanks or hey if you're a real go-getter and own a prime piece of wild undeveloped real estate consider starting a natural burial site of your own it's a pretty long and complicated process but if you've got the land and the time it's one of the best ways you can leave the green death revolution the point is the more people who choose natural burial over traditional burial and alkaline hydrolysis over cremation the more people will learn that they have choices when it comes to their remember you will die it will happen that choice has already been made for you but by choosing a green death alkaline hydrolysis natural burial or any other green death advance that may become available your death could have both an environmental and cultural impact or lack of impact which is kind of the point in order to protect it if fasting can contain a lot of harmful substances why is that the chamber is then filled the chamber is then filled with the mixture guys the key you

29 thoughts on “ECO-DEATH TAKEOVER: Changing the Funeral Industry

  1. Since finding your channel, I've browsed around the laws of Norway to find out if I would be able to be buried "Naturally" in the woods with no casket, and the answer is no.
    We have to be buried in a cemetery, and we need to be in a casket. I am not sure about the metal/sement "casket to put a casket in" kinda thing, and if that's a thing we do here, but you inspire me to both research these things, and also have the talk with my family.. After all, we never know when we'll stop breathing and start decaying..

  2. if i get cremated, i want to have 'disco inferno' blasting through some speakers. "BURN BABY BURN!" oh it would be so great…
    i really want to see peoples faces when it happens.

  3. no embalming for me, no casket, no rubber seals. Just put me in a degradable box, or give my body to science, and play 70s disco beep-bop music at my funeral.

  4. I wanna get eaten by a pig when i die, i have enjoyed so much bacon over the years (im not done yet, im coming for you little piggy!), its only fair they get to munch my buch in return. Kinda poetic if yeh think about it.

  5. there is no way I want cremation, I don't like the fact of me burning it scares me, I think I rather go green! I can't imagine living my life then being in a small box on someones fireplace, oof

  6. Thank you, one always wanted a natural burial, never knew it was actually a thing! Then you mentioned the conservation burial, that's exactly what I want.

  7. Ultimate green burial has 2 methods – one involves you + a biodegradable sack + heavy rocks…just combine and toss into the deep ocean…or toss body into an active volcano…no fuss or muss

  8. I'd bet thataryland doesn't do aquamation bcuz they don't make as much money as they would for traditional burials. MD is the greediest state!
    I'm definitely down with aquamation when I die!
    ** Until I just watched this video….I believed it was illegal to be buried natural. Putting a body in the ground?!!😲r u kidding!??😡 I had no idea we were allowed to be buried w.o. imbalmingfluid either. I've only been to one loved ones' funeral so my knowledge is scarce 😳

  9. This was very informative. I'll be finding out if Aquamation is available in my state!

    I recently read that Luke Perry the actor best known for his roles in Riverdale and Beverley Hills 9020, who passed away unexpectedly on March 3, 2019 after a massive stroke, was a huge proponent of natural burial. He was interred on his own ranch in a special shroud containing a variety of specific and specialized fungi in the form of mushrooms. He had read about this "mushroom suit" just prior to his death, and his family contacted the woman who developed the "suit" who agreed to make him one. The fee for the suit was $1500.00. The family chose his burial site, and dug the shallow hole you eluded to, and he was placed inside in the fungi "suit"/shroud. Apparently, the family felt that this was the last loving act they could do for their father/spouse, and it actually helped them deal with his untimely and unexpected death.

    Does anyone know if a plot has already been purchased for you, if you can still have a natural burial or does it go by the rules of the cemetery? My son-in-law was raised by his grandmother who he called "Nana" and her cousin who he calls "Gram". ("Nana" passed away it will be 4 years ago in September from an aggressive colon cancer.) For whatever reason, when Nana and Gram bought their plots in the cemetery, they also purchased a plot for my son-in-law and his wife. He married my daughter in July of the year Nana died. My daughter has mixed feelings about the cemetery plot as she's claustrophobic to begin with, and actually wants to be cremated via funeral pyre which I don't even think is legal. However, I know she's anti-embalming, and would be more comfortable with Aquamation or cremation, but if she's got to use that plot she'd probably prefer a natural burial. (I, of course, have no idea why someone would purchase a burial plot for someone else not knowing what their wishes might be, but I'm sure it was done out of love.)

  10. Ask a Mortician, I'd love to just be dumped in the dirt to, as Neil Degarsse Tyson said, "that the flora and fauna can enjoy feasting on me, as I have enjoyed feasting on them for so many years!". Also, the pods, where you are potted with a tree! I hope we all go this way! I'm donating anything viable, hoping there won't be much left! Thankyou for all this info!πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ˜˜πŸ’“βœŒπŸŽƒ

  11. I wish our family had this information for our Mom and Dad's funeral. Not only that but non of us siblings never talked about what they would of wanted. Which made it so hard to agree and pay for both funerals. A lot of people are uncomfortable talking about death.
    Standing Ovation to you… for making the subject a not so sad and gloomy conversation.
    Everyone…. If you still have your parents I highly suggest to sit down and talk openly as a family to discuss your preferences. It will make the process a lot easier and less stressful! The main subject we got to decide on ourselves was "The Clothes" they were buried in. The funeral home basically showed us their package price list ( basically choosing package A was top notch casket – Package D cheapest casket ect…..). This wasn't just one funeral home either, I'm talking 4 funeral homes in the area did this type of practice! What a Dam Shame!
    Life can change in a blink of an eye so Cherish your Loved ones.πŸ’—

  12. I had to research this process for my freshman year of college seminar called Death, Dying and Science, and it was like the beacon of hope i'd been looking for since cremation and traditional burial was not something I ever thought of as something I would eventually want. I'm hoping it becomes more available and tell a lot of people about the process since most aren't aware of what this is

  13. Ok, so I’m making preparations and I need to know how much this costs and what states have approved it. I’m in Texas and I know this state has a very backwards way of thinking for the most part but I’m making adjustments to my Will so I need to let my kids and husband know what I want. Im all about being safe for the environment yet, I know my kids would want to see me before burning me to ashes. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for educating us and giving us better options. I love you and your channel! 😊β™₯️🌺

  14. the cost of my dads funeral was 22,000$ and when way wife died in 2012 i had her cremated and it only cost me 1,500$ .

  15. Caitlin, your channel is the best. You are a revolutionary that must be praised and protected at all costs! ☠️ β™₯️

  16. What I want when I die is a green burial. The best part is the cemetery I will be buried at will be free for the plot. Only money they will have to spend for me is for someone to dig the hole. I just want them to put me in cardboard or a pine box and put me in the hole. Use my life insurance to pay for what they want or pay for my nephew to go to school.

  17. This is one of the most informative and interesting videos I’ve ever watched. Thank you Caitlin, this video was fantastic as always.

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