When you croak, you have the same two options as people have had for the last coupla' thousand years: six feet under in a pine box or burn-y fire incineration.
If you ask us, neither sounds all that great.
Thankfully, there's a burial revolution upon us. In particular, the green burial movement has struck a chord with people looking for alternative death care options. The term "green burial" includes a belief system that focuses on recycling remains for positive environmental impact as well as a series of burial inn products and innovations that make caring for the dead with minimal environmental impact a priority. Anyone who remembers last year's burial pod craze will appreciate what these alternative burials do; in the case of the pods, they turn graveyards into sustainable forests that continue to nourish the surrounding ecosystem for years to come.
One of the most exciting, and beautiful, green burial options comes in the form of the Infinity Suit, a specialized postmortem outfit created as a radical alternative to traditional funerary practices. Created by green burial company Coeio, the specialized jumpsuit uses mushrooms to naturally decompose and cleanse toxins from a dead body so that it harmoniously eliminates pollutants while nourishing plants in the area.
This is a huge deal, seeing as how a typical American burial involves pumping a body full of synthetic fillers and formaldehyde, a carcinogenic preservative meant to make a corpse look alive. Bodies are then entombed in caskets varnished with toxic chemicals, and the EPA rates casket manufacturers as one of the worst hazardous waste generators. Cremation isn't much better for the planet; every year, 5,000 lbs of mercury are released into the atmosphere from dental fillings, adding to the already high dangerous level of greenhouse gas. So, there's really a need for something like the Infinity Suit — especially considering that not only does it provoke and challenge cultural attitudes and traditions towards death, but it's also a way for the deceased to make the world a bit of a better place, even from beyond the grave.
It's quite literally life after death.
Infinity Suit creator Jae Rhim Lee believes green funerals are the final frontier of environmental sustainability, largely because death is still such a taboo thing in our culture.
“The choice to have a green burial reflects a deep understanding of our place in the larger ecosystem and the cosmos,” she told The Creators Project.
Astrophysicists, in particular, have a particular fondness of this concept. Neil deGrasse Tyson has even said he wants his body to be “buried not cremated, so that the energy contained gets returned to the earth, so the flora and fauna can dine upon it, just as I have dined.”
In 2011, Lee gave a speech at the TEDGlobal Conference titled "My Mushroom Burial Suit." It has over 1.3 million views and prompted responses like, “This might be the best way to prevent future zombie attacks,” and “I love mushrooms and the thought of them transforming my body into something good for nature makes me happy and less afraid of death.”
Watch it below and see why flesh-eating mushrooms could really be the best way to die.