When someone is on their death bed, what are they thinking about? Their family. Their friends. Their achievements in life. What about the planet they live on? It is perfectly reasonable to place the importance of loved ones above mother nature when you have a limited amount of time left, but giving back to the planet should not be overlooked. The act of giving back to the planet, no matter how small the act, is always an incredibly selfless gesture. The person who is making their end-of-life transition will rarely see the positive impact of their final gesture of gratitude to the planet. This gesture can take the form of planting a tree or donating their belongings instead of throwing them away.
Our planet has no official spokesperson to advocate on it’s behalf. The burden to preserve the environment for future generations does not rest on the shoulders of the government, organizations, corporations, or even communities. The responsibility to protect the environment for our children rest on the shoulders of every single individual.
Being a good shepherd for the planet is a responsibility few people take on in their life sadly. Considering the emissions produced on a per capita basis, every American citizen should take on some accountability for their individual role in pollution. Looking at this graph, it is clear that the average American plays a large role in carbon dioxide emissions. I am not trying to only bring you bad news. There is hope. A hope nested in the fact that Americans are in an incredible position to bring about a positive change.
This change comes in many forms including:
- Providing financial assistance to environmental organizations
- Improved education on living a more green lifestyle
- Using more environmentally friendly products
The funeral industry is responsible for an incredible amount of pollution. This pollution is not always evident, often taking place behind the scenes. The materials used to make memorial products and to preserve the body until the memorial service are huge culprits in perpetuating this cycle of pollution.
- 40 million tons of concrete is used to create burial vaults
- 800,000 gallons of formaldehyde-based embalming fluid is buried
- 4 million square acres of forest is cut down for wood to make caskets which contains enough trees to sequester 65 million tons of carbon dioxide a year
- 115 tons of steel is used to manufacture caskets annually
All these factors cause an untold amount of problems for our planet. Fortunately, the green funeral revolution is picking up steam nationwide. Memorial product companies are using more environmentally safe materials for cremation urns and caskets such as biodegradable rock salt, wood, wicker, and gelatin. Safe Passage Urns is taking their conservation efforts one step further with their Green Initiative to plant a tree for every cremation urn sold. If more companies and funeral homes adopted similar policies, this would equate to an incredible number of trees planted. 2.6 million trees to be precise! Considering 2.6 million Americans die every year, if everyone could take the time to give back to mother nature we could leave our children and our children’s children a more pristine environment. I wish only to bring awareness to the potential everybody has to give back to the planet during their life as well as at the very end of their life. The Chinese proverb, “The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago, the second best time is now” summarizes the mentality of taking action and making the world better for future generations to come.
“Graph” URL: https://www.economicshelp.org/blog/10296/economics/top-co2-polluters-highest-per-capita/
“Cremation urn” URL: https://safepassageurns.com/