Episode 4 of #TalkDeath is all about Eco-Burials and Human Composting! Natural burials, decomposing bodies, corpse pods and the environmental impact of traditional funerals.

Founder and executive director of the Urban Death Project, Katrina Spade and Green Burial Council CEO, Joe Sehee will answer all your questions LIVE on YouTube on April 28th @ 4pm EST(1pm PST). The Urban Death Project wants to compost your body after you die and is in the process of designing their first prototype. The Green Burial Council is setting the standard for environmentally friendly natural burial grounds in North America.

We will be taking your questions live on Twitter, Facebook, Reddit and Instagram as well as broadcasting your video questions to Katrina and Joe. But we want to know your questions now so start sending us them via social media with the hashtag #TalkDeath.

Ask Your Questions in the Comments Below!

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Episode 4: Eco-Burials and Human composting is about what happens to us after we die and the impact our bodies have on the environment. Think burial is eco-friendly? Cremation a healthier alternative? Think again! Typical burials use 6 billion tons of concrete, 800,000 gallons of Formaldehyde, and enough wood in one year to build 4.6 million single family homes! Cremations are not any better, releasing carbon monoxide, mercury and sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere at alarming rates.

Luckily a powerful and growing voice in the funeral profession is trying to change this. Some companies want to turn your body into a tree, others are looking to help your body decompose with mushrooms and as for the Urban Death Project, they want your body to slowly decompose into nourishing fertilizer inside their giant mausoleum. For those who want to stick to a more traditional route, the Green Burial Council‘s certified natural burial sites do not use any embalming fluid, concrete vaults or wood caskets. Bodies instead can be wrapped in linen or placed inside a wicker basket casket before being buried.


#TalkDeath Episode 4: Green Death will air live on YouTube on April 28th @ 4pm EST(1pm PST). Click Here to RSVP!


urban death project

IMG_2053Katrina Spade is the founder and executive director of the Urban Death Project. Based in Seattle, Spade has a background in anthropology, architecture and industrial design. She received a grant from the Massachusetts Department of Agriculture to build and monitor a compost heating system which is what inspired the Urban Death Project. The Urban Death Project started as a Kickstarter project, quickly surpassing its goal of 90,000$. What is the Urban Death Project? It’s a procedure that “utilizes the process of composting to safely and gently turn our deceased into soil, creating a meaningful, equitable, and ecological option for the disposition of the dead.” More than a simple process of decomposition, Spade is hoping to challenge conventional architectural and burial norms to build the mausoleum of the future; a space where bodies can be composted and memorialized.

Urban Death Project quote

green burialFormer Jesuit lay minister and current Green Burial Council founder, Joe Sehee is a busy man. Sehee founded the Green Burial Council as a response to the growing demand for funeral and burial alternatives. There was a need to set standards that could help guide the movement. For over a decade now, the Green Burial Council has been “working to connect death with life by ensuring that our end-of-life rituals — and the facilities, products and practices associated with them — further legitimize environmental aims.” Sehee and the Council have worked hard make green burial a viable alternative for the public and funeral professionals. The Council is working on some exciting new project which Sehee will be happy to share during our #TalkDeath roundtable!

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The mission of #TalkDeath is to promote discussion about life’s big questions on death and dying from different perspectives. #TalkDeath hosts professionals whose approaches to death and dying come from varied backgrounds and we are excited to facilitate a lively, open and honest discussion about the questions you are ‘dying’ to have answered!


  1. Is there any part of the green burial movement that you think is just a fad, or really isn’t feasible?

  2. I love Katrina’s Composting initiative and have supported it since it’s inception!! I think we need this type of disposition option in urban centers. I live remote and off grid in British Columbia and see the potential in rural Canada for the easy development of green burial sites because land is not the issue out here. Perhaps we could be looking at areas of forest that have been clear cut to turn into green burial grounds as a way to regenerate growth? Personally I prefer cremation. My question is this … why are we not looking at greener ways to cremate by fire. Is anyone in North America developing a greener retort?? There is a company in India who have developed and are manufacturing and selling a Gasifier Cremation Furnace which I believe shows great potential for rural areas in North America. http://www.gasfromwood.com I live in the ‘back woods’ of BC and if you are not familiar with current forest practices, you might be horrified to see how much ‘waste’ there is from logging activities that could easily be used to fuel a gasifier cremation furnace. Instead this ‘wood waste’ as it is called by the industry is heaped in huge piles and burned. Can’t we find a way to make (fire) cremation greener? And I am aware of Bio cremation but I don’t feel it’s really all that green either …the process requires super heating the water and chemicals and ends up with about 150 gallons of waste water which goes down the drain and ends up … where??

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