S3E30: Join the Ecosystem with Natural Composting after Death

For the environmentally-conscious, Natural Organic Reduction (composting) is a low-toxicity, carbon-capturing burial option.

Sunlight filtering through a mossy forest.  Learn about composting after death in this episode.
Composting allows recently-departed to be transformed to nurturing soil. What better legacy than to continue to nurture life in death?

Leaving an Ecological Footprint

We have had a few episodes about options for burial or what to do with human remains. Nearly all have an environmental cost. Embalming uses toxic chemicals that may eventually leach into surrounding soil. Flame cremation in the U.S. produces as much CO2 as burning 800,000 barrels of oil – for an individual.  This is equivalent to taking a flight from London to Rome.

“For each individual who chooses NOR [Natural Organic Reduction] over conventional burial or cremation, the process saves the equivalent of one metric ton of carbon from entering the environment.”

Cristina Garcia, the lawmaker who drafted California’s human composting bill

Our topic this week is human composting, which is now legal in five states. “This is an alternative method of final disposition that won’t contribute emissions into our atmosphere and will actually capture CO2 in our soil and trees,” said Cristina Garcia, the lawmaker who drafted California’s human composting bill. “For each individual who chooses NOR [Natural Organic Reduction, or composting] over conventional burial or cremation, the process saves the equivalent of one metric ton of carbon from entering the environment.”

A human body with leaves and straw to be composted in a special facility that uses oxygen and heat to accelerate natural processes.
The Greenhouse at the Recompose facility. (US Funerals Online). A human body is placed with organic materials to be composted in a special facility that uses oxygen and heat to accelerate natural processes.
A woman in a trendy black Coeio Infinity burial suit , laden with mushrooms ready to help purify toxins as they naturally break down the body
The Coeio Infinity burial suit

Composting is an alternative to burial or cremation.  A deceased body is covered in natural materials and over the course of about three to seven weeks, thanks to microbial activity, it breaks down into nutrient-dense soil. As this process is happening, families can visit the facility where this is taking place. They will ultimately receive the soil that remains. It’s up to the family to determine how they want to use that soil.

We talk about some of the options, including using mushrooms to purify toxins in the body as they break it down in a trendy burial suit, such as the one 90210 actor Luke Perry was buried in.

Related Episodes:

References:

Grief as a Milennial

Claire Luckey, who goes under the name “Grieving Bitch” on Instagram has joined the Everyone Dies correspondent team.  At age 32 and only 5 months into her marriage, her husband did not recognize her when she arrived home from work one day. He was diagnosed with Stage 4 glioblastoma (brain cancer) in February 2020, and Claire was his caregiver until his death in June of 2021.

Claire struggled to find any resources for dealing with loss of a spouse at such a young age. She channeled her sense of humor (and inner bitch) by creating the “Grieving Bitch” account on Instagram.  Claire is sharing her grief journey and life challenges as a 34-year-old widow living in New York City with Everyone Dies in a regular ‘Third Half’ segment.

Claire joins us to talk about how she and her husband found ways to maintain intimacy through the course of his illness. Some days this means ice cream and cuddles! She also talks about vibrators and recommends her favorite.

Live Every Day

Marianne has been enjoying Willie Nelson’s album “A Beautiful Time”, a reflective album that encompasses a lot of the topics and values we have for this show. She shared the lyrics for Live Every Day – you can listen below.

Live Every Day - From Willie Nelson's Album A Beautiful Time

Live every day like it was your last one
And one day you're gonna be right
Treat everyone like you wanna be treated
See how that changes your life

Yesterday is dead and tomorrow is blind
And the future is way out of sight
Live every day like it was your last one
And one day you're gonna be right

If there someone you love
You haven't told them
You wanna tell them today
If there someone you've wrong

And you've not said I'm sorry
It might be a good thing to say
Pick up the phone and send them a message
It's time to make everything right
Live every day like it was your last one
One day you're gonna be right

Live every day like it was your last one
And one day you're gonna be right
Treat everyone like you wanna be treated
See how that changes your life

Yesterday is dead and tomorrow is blind
And the future is way out of sight
Just live every day like it was your last one
And one day you're gonna be right

Live every day like it was your last one
And one day you're gonna be right
Treat everyone like you wanna be treated
See how that changes your life

Yesterday is dead and tomorrow is blind
And the future is way out of sight
And just live every day like it was your last one
And one day you're gonna be right

Live every day like it was your last one
And one day you're gonna be right

You can purchase Willie’s album here: https://amzn.to/3xDPc1n   #affiliate

Recipe of the Week

Since we’ve been on the topic of mushrooms, how about something soulful to warm you this fall? A nice scalloped potato and mushroom casserole with spinach and swiss cheese. Sound like an answer to a midweek “what’s for dinner” crisis? Head over to Taste of Home for the full recipe and directions.

Get this casserole recipe at Taste of Home
Cowboy playing his guitar by a coffin, and a dog howling. Coffin is vibrating... Learn about songs to wake the dead. Learn about funeral music at Every1dies.org

As a songwriter, ‘Everyone Dies’ is inviting you to showcase your original work on an upcoming podcast.

There are many wonderful songs that could be played at a funeral. We also know there are songs that could be played, but are cringeworthy (e.g. Ding Dong the Witch is Dead; Another One Bites the Dust; Ring of Fire, etc.).

We are inviting you to send us a recording of two of your original songs (i.e. that could be played at a funeral, one that is appropriate, one that is likely not) to be included in the third half of the ‘Everyone Dies’ podcast. We will include as many artists over the next year (maybe longer if we are enjoying the segment) as possible.

What we need:
Go to this link, fill out the form and submit it along with your two original songs in .wav or .mp3 format (i.e. two original songs that could be played at a funeral, one that is appropriate, one that is likely not). We will screen them and let you know what week your work will be included. We will include all your information in our show notes so people can purchase your recordings.

From Everyone Dies:

Everyone Dies: and yes, it is normal!

Everyone Dies (and yes, it is normal) is a story about a young boy named Jax who finds something special on the beach where he and his grandpa Pops are enjoying a wonderful day. Pops helps Jax understand that death is a normal part of life. This book provides an age appropriate, non-scary, comfortable way to introduce the important topic of mortality to a preschool child. Its simple explanation will last a lifetime. Autographed copies for sale at: www.everyonediesthebook.com. Also available at Amazon

Mourning Jewelry
mourning jewelry earings

We offer a way to memorialize your loved one or treasured pet with a piece of handmade jewelry.  When people comment on it and the wearer can say for example “I received this when my mother died” which opens the conversation about this loss. All our jewelry is made with semi-precious stones and beads, vintage beads, and pearls. You can choose between earrings or bracelets and the color family. Learn More

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