The Funeral event in the 2015 Sustainable Living Festival (SLF). Can I say it was like a party? You don’t know who’s going to make it. Low grade anxiety. It’s a hot night. You’ve done your best with watermelon and snacks and cold bubbly water. The venue host (Jay of Nest Co-Working) helps out. Maybe it will be alright.

And then they arrive. Great people who may not have much in common. But they all want to know:

How much sustainability can there be in a Melbourne funeral?

Some are quite optimistic about sustainability. Everyone recognises the challenges.

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Social_env_econ sustainability

Thanks to Johann Drea (2007)

My goal is to give the social aspect of sustainability more of a look in. How can anyone, at the time of a death, do what has to be done without that help. Community. Friends. How much headspace does a family have even to compare price offers by different funeral companies, let alone to assess how green a coffin is?

But here we have the time. We take the coffin as a case study.

Here’s a waste pyramid. Check out the least favoured option. Think about how many coffins go up in smoke or six feet under.

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Waste pyramid

Thanks to drstuey

What’s is the most sustainable coffin option?

Small groups come to different conclusions.

Well, at first we thought the recycled coffin was the natural choice. But then I thought, I couldn’t take up that option without having quite a big conversation with my family.

enviro rental

We liked the pine coffin, but really we have to think about pine plantations, and where the timber comes from. Perhaps recycled timber?

pine coffin

We had to agree to forget the cardboard coffin. Produced in China, the worker conditions, air and water pollution put them out of the running.

This was just the start. Why be buried in a coffin at all when you could go in a shroud?

Questions questions questions

Everyone wants more information about sustainability in Melbourne. What is the sustainability performance of Melbourne’s crematoria? Why lawn cemeteries? When will there be a dedicated green burial option?

Are we going to talk about the vigil, asks one participant.  More on the SLF event in my next blog.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]