Though death is a pretty gloomy topic that no one particularly likes planning for, it is inevitable and ultimately arrangements need to be made ahead of time if you intend to get what you want post-mortem. Though a traditional burial in a specified plot used to be the norm, there are all sorts of innovative ways for your cremated remains to be used now that many people are turning to these methods to memorialize themselves.
Whether it’s traditional cremation or something as chic as using your ashes to grow into a tree placed in a self-watering pot, there are endless options for your remains and people are pursuing green options. The latest option to be added to the list of green burials is a coral reef burial, in which your ashes will be incorporated into a coral reef that will grow with the passing years and turn into a thriving ecosystem.
There are a few companies that are doing this, such as Set Free At Sea and The Neptune Society, and their approaches all vary. Set Free At Sea combines ashes with an organic live-rock mixture to sculpt and create a structure that will be placed in various places on the ocean floor. Each season, they head to a different location, such as the Philippines or Miami to do a drop of 30 structures, filming each placement so that family members can see where their loved one’s final resting place is. Each year, they send an update on the development of the coral reef.
“Set Free At Sea’s top priority is to make everlasting memories for you and your loved one. Simply put; our goal is to promote life even after we pass.”
The Neptune Society created a 16-acre coral reef system off the coast of Miami where molds of over 100 individuals have been placed after being created from their ashes. Each mold has a bronze plaque affixed to it, and the structure is even approved by the Green Burial Council, meaning it’s built to last, promotes marine life, and is free of any harmful materials. Tour groups and divers are allowed down in the area and there has reportedly been an increase in marine life of up to 60 percent since the installation.
There’s a lot to consider when it comes to deciding what should be done with your remains after death, and choosing one of these green options, whether it’s a coral reef or simply having your ashes dispersed at your favorite national park, isn’t such a bad idea. Just be sure to asses all of your options, taking into consideration the carbon footprint that cremation has or the felling of wood that your potential casket has caused, before making a decision about where best to keep your remains.