Caitlin Doughty: A burial practice that nourishes the planet
Caitlin Doughty - Progressive mortician
Caitlin Doughty asks: What if we re-designed the funeral industry for an eco-friendly end of life? Full bio
to be laid out to be eaten by animals.
by animals is not for everyone.
the end-of-life talk with your family
I don't know, cremation.
is not strictly legal at the moment,
for all of human history;
right now as we speak.
to be consumed by vultures.
those who follow the Parsi religion
called "Towers of Silence."
that popular in the Western world --
have come to be chemical embalming,
30 years or so of my life
have their turn with me?
are we not all, in this room, animals?
that we are doomed to decay and die,
I've worked in the funeral industry,
of my own funeral home.
"doomed to decay and die" thing:
in the world in that avoidance
is based on the principle
and beautification of the corpse.
this idea of human exceptionalism.
because humans are worth it!
and complex affair,
to the earth from whence we came.
the importance of ritual,
to the people that we love.
to create and practice this ritual
sanitation and beautification.
will protect your dead body
made of hardwood or metal
that casket will be lowered
concretes, metal, hardwoods --
near the dirt that surrounds it.
your body through embalming:
for the public health
infectious disease, like Ebola.
which, let's be honest,
is not the same bacteria
will beautify the corpse.
dead body of your mother or father
looks a little more alive --
and then decay are not the natural end
eco-friendly way of death.
powder-blue tuxedo kind of affair.
are not particularly sustainable,
and our reliance on chemicals.
the environmentally friendly option,
of a 500-mile car trip.
of North Carolina,
in the summer sun.
at their "Body Farm,"
a "human decomposition facility."
are brought here,
to benefit the future of forensics.
in various stages of decomposition.
named Katrina Spade
not of cremating the dead,
and other livestock for years.
and lay their dead loved one
in four-to-six weeks,
and all -- to soil.
with the very recent desire
the ashes that are left over --
in the soil just right,
if you actually become the soil,
you've always wanted to be --
for the future of cremation.
we shouldn't even have cemeteries anymore
are purchased by a land trust.
a few dead bodies in that land,
it can't be developed on --
to a tree post-mortem --
I'm decomposing under here."
gives to the cemetery
and managing the land.
and no graves in the typical sense.
about the property
or a small metal disk,
woven willow and bamboo,
just choose a simple shroud.
that most cemeteries require
for them to landscape.
they can luxuriate in nature;
to the area are allowed.
in with the landscape.
in both urban and rural areas.
native plants and animals to a region.
they offer us, once again,
in a hole in the ground.
isn't really working for them.
just doesn't reflect us.
what we stood for during our lives.
solve climate change?
as citizens of this planet.
that is more humble and self-aware,
About the speaker:Caitlin Doughty - Progressive mortician
Caitlin Doughty asks: What if we re-designed the funeral industry for an eco-friendly end of life?
Why you should listen
Caitlin Doughty is the founder of The Order of the Good Death, a group of funeral industry professionals, academics and artists exploring ways to prepare a death-phobic culture for their inevitable mortality.
With a proclivity for the macabre from an early age, Doughty began her career in the funeral industry as a crematory operator. Currently a licensed funeral director and eco-friendly mortician in Los Angeles, Doughty owns Undertaking LA, a nonprofit funeral home that empowers families to care for their dead. Her first book Smoke Gets In Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory is a New York Times bestseller, and her next book From Here to Eternity will be released in fall 2017. Her video web-series, "Ask a Mortician," has been featured on NPR, BBC, Forbes and more.
Caitlin Doughty | Speaker | TED.com