We should all be aware of the importance of doing all we can in our daily lives to reduce our negative impact on the environment. From recycling and using public transport instead of our cars to reducing the amount of meat and dairy in our diets, there are lots of areas in which we can help cut our individual carbon footprints.
But did you know that our impact on the environment can continue even after we die? And that if we don’t make our wishes clear in advance or make appropriate provisions in our wills, our deaths can cause further greenhouse gases to be emitted or cause more pollution to enter our ecosystems?
If you don’t want your death to add to the problem of climate change, here are a few ideas on how you can offset your carbon footprint after you die.
Have a natural burial
Many traditional ways of disposing of a body can be damaging to our planet, whether that’s as a result of using non-biodegradable coffins and urns, using chemicals and non-renewables in their manufacture, or embalming bodies with toxic chemicals that end up in the air and/or soil.
A natural or green burial, on the other hand, not only means that your death is not having a negative effect on the environment, but can actually have a net positive impact.
Here at Tithe Green Natural Burial, we only allow 100% biodegradable coffins and urns, we plant over 200 trees every year, and the woodland and wildflower sites we use support local ecosystems and biodiversity.
Although cremation can have a negative impact, taking into account the energy used to cremate the body, opting for a direct cremation can go a long way towards offsetting this. This is because there won’t be any need for large and energy-hungry funeral limousines or people driving across the country to attend the funeral.
Make an appropriate charity donation in your will
When writing your will, consider donating some of your estate to a charity that works to promote projects supporting people in parts of the world where climate change is having a damaging impact.
Of course, such donations should be to climate-friendly endeavours, such as developing renewable energy resources, reducing and recycling waste, planting trees or financing sustainable employment and agricultural projects.
Recycle, reuse and renew your belongings
Over the course of our lives, we tend to accrue all kinds of belongings, many of which are of use and meaning only to ourselves. That means that when we die, those left behind have to dispose of it all, often with the added pressure of needing to rapidly clear a property for sale or for new tenants.
Given those time constraints and the emotional toil of those going through it, it can sometimes be difficult to do this in as environmentally-friendly a way as we might like. The result is that too much ends up going to the tip.
So why not make advance provision in your will for an eco-friendly house clearance service? Such a service will ensure that any unwanted furniture is donated to those who can make use of it, that anything that can be recycled is recycled, and that anything else that might be of use is forwarded to a charity shop for resale.
One of the first ways devised for us all to offset our carbon footprints was to plant trees, and this is still something that can easily be done and that will always be of benefit to our planet.
Research suggests that a single tree can offset some 21.77 kg to 31.5 kg of CO2 every year, and that you would need to plant between 31-46 trees to offset 1 tonne of CO2. It’s also estimated that the average UK person generates about 11.7 tonnes of CO2 per year.
If that sounds like it means that a lot of trees are needed, don’t forget that you can reduce your own carbon footprint by living sustainably, that planting trees is just one way to offset your carbon footprint and that every little bit helps.
Tithe Green Natural Burial offers environmentally-friendly solutions to dying in a sustainable way. Our green burial sites in Nottinghamshire and Rutland comprise stunning woodland and wildflower burial grounds and offer the perfect alternative to traditional funerals and cremations.