An alternative ending: being laid to rest as mushroom food is now an option for mourning families to commit the remains of their loved ones back to the earth.
Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, worm dirt to mushroom food. There is a movement towards “green” burials for the deceased. Brad Smith’s recent article on the burial pod that turns your remains into a tree is a prime example of a shift in the development of new ways to honor our dead. Now there’s a new option for the deceased to be laid to rest. COEIO has developed an eco-friendly, affordable, and meaningful alternative to traditional crematory and burial options for the deceased. A suit that turns the dead into food for mushrooms.
At around $1,000-1,500 the cost of the suit is quite comparable to the cost of a casket or crematorium. Cremation is often thought of as more environmentally friendly, but it actually releases significant amounts of mercury and greenhouse gases.
Creator Jae Rhim Lee has a background in permaculture and mycology in her studies at MIT. While studying mycoremediation, Lee visited a green cemetery and was inspired to immerse herself into the correlation with death and decomposition. That led to designing the suit, which she wore in a fashion show at the Museum of Science in Boston.
Following the show, several others took an interest in her design and it’s potential. Together, Lee developed a team and launched the Infinity Burial Project as a home for the “Decompiculture Society,” with hundreds of members jumping on board. Lee spoke in a TED Talks presentation that’s been viewed well over a million times. The Society joined her on immersion into burial practices with tours of embalming fluid factories, organizing workshops and lectures, even being ejected from the National Funeral Directors Association Annual Convention. Needless to say, her concept has gathered it’s fair share of attention, but are still unconventional.
Death is a natural and inevitable part of life. None of use are getting out of here alive. Lee’s goal is to revolutionize the funeral industry, reconnecting us with the earth in our end of life planning.