| by Kenneth Chase | 100 comments

We need to change how we bury the dead

When I say “funeral” this is probably
what you think of, right? The cemetery, the casket, the gorgeous floral
arrangements. Vin Diesel stylishly going two buttons undone
on the dress shirt. But what if I told you that other than Dominic
Toretto’s effortless style, this was probably the worst way you could
dispose of a body? This traditional casket in the ground method
most of us are used to is what journalist Mark Harris calls a “modern
burial.” And that is the chemical embalming of the
remains, the burial of the body or the placement of
the body into a metal casket, and then the placing of that casket and embalmed
body in the bottom of the grave that we call the
burial vault. So that’s pretty much the American way of
death. Aside from being a great name for a novel, the American way of death actually turns out
to be pretty terrible. The average cost of modern burial runs on
average from $10,000 to $12,000. Although you can talk to families who will
tell you they paid a lot more than that. In many cases, a lot more. This KISS casket alone will set you back seven
grand. No word on if the amps are included though. The funeral industry has also been known to
engage in predatory business practices, like selling vulnerable families add-ons and
services that they don’t need. They’ve also been the subject of a number
of class action lawsuits, including one for conspiring to fix the prices
of caskets at artificially high prices. “Modern” burials are also incredibly wasteful. The average grave site takes up 32 square
feet of land in a cemetery. And that’s just space. It uses a staggering amount of resources as
well. Which
almost sounds kind of fun right? Grill up some hotdogs, toss some diving rings
in for the kids to fetch. Not so fast. Formalin, which is the formaldehyde-based
preservative solution embalmers use, is incredibly toxic. OSHA deems it a dangerous carcinogen and strictly
regulates its use, and the EPA treats it as a hazardous waste. Embalmers experience higher levels of brain,
colon, and prostate cancer as well as leukemia. To embalm a typical body it requires 3 pounds
of this formalin solution and sends 120 gallons of untreated “funeral
waste” directly into the sewage system, including blood, water, fecal matter, organ
fluid, and carcinogenic chemicals, as well as whatever unknown diseases the body
contains. Okay cool, so modern funerals suck. But what are the other options? Well, let’s start with cremation. Countries all across the world cremate bodies. In Great Britain, 75% of people get cremated, in Switzerland it’s 85%, and in Japan that number is almost 100%. Two years ago, for the first time in this
country’s history, more Americans were cremated than buried and then pretty soon we’re going to hit
50% of Americans being cremated. For one thing, it’s a lot cheaper. A typical cremation costs around $1,400 compared
to the $10,000 to $12,000 price tag we mentioned earlier. (Again, a little more for that sweet KISS
casket.) Cremating a body also requires much less space, since there doesn’t need to be a grave. And it doesn’t require a swimming pool full
of formaldehyde either … sorry kids. You can also do all sorts of fun stuff with
your ashes like put them in fireworks, spread them in a National Park, or even turn them into a reef. But is it actually better
for the environment? So it sounds like cremation is better, although
it’s far from perfect. Is there no way to do this without hurting
the environment? Swedish scientists asked that same question
and developed something called promession. It’s a process where you freeze a corpse
in liquid nitrogen, rapidly vibrate the body so it breaks into
millions of tiny particles in just a few minutes, then freeze dry the particles and remove the
harmful metals leftover from your dental fillings. You’re left with a fine dust which actually
looks very similar to cremated remains. It solves most of the problems of “modern”
burial and cremation but unfortunately hasn’t been approved for
human beings yet. Another option is alkaline hydrolysis, where a body is put into a chamber which is
then filled with water and lye, pressurized, and heated up to about 320 °F. The body tissue is broken down in a process
that’s similar to natural decomposition, and dissolved to nothing but a skeleton in
about 12 hours. Damn, spooky. It’s more environmentally friendly since
there’s zero toxic emissions and it has about one-tenth of the carbon footprint
as a cremation. All that said, the simplest option might be
natural burial. A number of natural cemeteries have sprung
up across the country where unembalmed bodies are buried in biodegradable
containers, or sometimes nothing at all, and allowed to
decompose naturally. It’s inexpensive, natural, and can actually help preserve and restore
vulnerable land and wildlife. Not to mention it’s how humans have done
it for most of recorded history. No matter what the method, though, it’s
clear that we have to reform the way that we bury the dead. In less than a quarter-century 76 million
people in America alone will get to the average life expectancy of
78 years. If all those people were buried in traditional
graves, we’d need a cemetery the size of Las Vegas
to accommodate their bodies. The point is, we’re all going to die. The question is, what are we going to do with
all the bodies?


Jan Dom

Sep 9, 2019, 7:53 pm Reply

Islam is the solution to all our problems. Why would your turn a relative or a close friend into ashes?

Jame Fernand

Sep 9, 2019, 8:05 pm Reply

This video is amazing. I had to check the date stamp because I noticed you didnt talk about the Capsula Mundi developed in Italy. I
They are currently selling the ash capsules for a very reasonable price. If you still haven't covered this, I'd be very interested in seeing an update to this video!!

Andryan Sinulingga

Sep 9, 2019, 10:44 pm Reply

That's why Zombie apocalypse would only happen in US

Kate Hawk

Sep 9, 2019, 4:43 am Reply

I want some of my DNA saved so one day I can be cloned, or put in space to float forever.

Claude Yuen

Sep 9, 2019, 8:58 am Reply

Bodies shud b burnt…many cases of ppl buried alive!

-• amalia •-

Sep 9, 2019, 10:19 am Reply

just toss the body to the ocean i guess

Christian Soldier

Sep 9, 2019, 5:12 pm Reply

I never understood why you would want to pay thousands of dollars to bury a dead body

My_ Dog

Sep 9, 2019, 9:44 pm Reply

Alright I’ll tell them to bury me in the backyard

Chetan Oimbe

Sep 9, 2019, 2:47 am Reply

Fun fact : The , Zoroastrian's doesn't cremate or bury their dead.
They simply put the body in a tower called "the tower of silence" and let the vulture feed on him.
Isn't it nice ?

M Alghamdi

Sep 9, 2019, 3:27 am Reply

The old ways, are the best ways.

Draw Clearly

Sep 9, 2019, 4:08 am Reply

Solution: Donate body to science

Dhruva Shah

Sep 9, 2019, 7:56 am Reply

Just throw a lot of bodies in a ditch and cover it with soil and plant seeds so plants can grow

zeeshan Kulkarni

Sep 9, 2019, 1:22 pm Reply

The solution given in end is exactly how Allah showed Cain to bury his brother Abel after he murdered him. It's mentioned in Quran


Sep 9, 2019, 8:09 pm Reply

take big corpse boat, go to deep part of ocean, dump all the bodies. easy

Chloe Sets

Sep 9, 2019, 8:55 pm Reply

I don’t know why people need to put dead people in caskets like litteraly their wasting land smh

david shmilowitz

Sep 9, 2019, 2:16 am Reply

Encouraging people to donate their bodies to science/medical research would be great too.


Sep 9, 2019, 2:38 pm Reply

Wrong wrong wrong sky burial is the way to go

Dynamic [Josh]

Sep 9, 2019, 2:44 pm Reply


_ _

Tent Guy

Sep 9, 2019, 3:13 pm Reply

Stop HAVING kidssssss


Sep 9, 2019, 3:45 pm Reply

Let's face it after around 40 years or so no one will remember most of us and no one will visit our grave anymore even before that. Just do the natural burial and reuse it after few decades or so.

zelen plav

Sep 9, 2019, 5:54 pm Reply

In the USA, a body must be embalmed and put In a casket since the Civil War. Embalming was necessary because it took so long for the bodies to get back to their families for burial and decayed on the way because of the heat of summer.

Gudetama life

Sep 9, 2019, 6:58 pm Reply

Where I am from you have to pay to have a grave, If you don't pay, someone else gonna get it.

Samuel Trencher

Sep 9, 2019, 10:19 pm Reply

How bout we all just agree on going into the furnace.

walid karim

Sep 9, 2019, 2:40 am Reply

I don't want to be used after death!


Sep 9, 2019, 5:48 am Reply

In Islam you don’t need a casket we cover the body with a cloth and bury it.

That nigga bush from around the corner

Sep 9, 2019, 6:52 am Reply

I want to be cremated and sprinkled over a large McDonald's French fry.

Esteban Nemo

Sep 9, 2019, 11:24 am Reply

If Vox had a video entitled, "We need to drink water to survive", I'd still run it by Snopes.

Fukai Okami

Sep 9, 2019, 4:31 pm Reply

Natural burial is the best. We create an elaborate process to just dispose corpses. We forget that we too are animals whose purpose is mere decomposition after death. And then we ponder over "alternative" burial methods. The religious burials and other burials are alternative. Natural burial is the norm.

Syed Nayeem Uddin

Sep 9, 2019, 8:44 pm Reply

As per the videa the best way is the old way just drop the body in shroud and it does help nature, the surrounding land gets more cultivated.

Adhi Wicaksono

Sep 9, 2019, 6:36 am Reply

So, the muslims get it right?

Ali Jama

Sep 9, 2019, 9:30 am Reply

All you need one clean white sheets it cos less than $1 ! When you go your shoes better then you

Positive Mentality

Sep 9, 2019, 9:56 am Reply

Burial should be free of cost.

Positive Mentality

Sep 9, 2019, 10:01 am Reply

Yes natural burial is better . All of us here follow that

Bruce Bartman

Sep 9, 2019, 12:10 pm Reply

I will be cremated when my expiration date comes.


Sep 9, 2019, 12:56 pm Reply

I prefer to be buried on a biodegradable casket and then a tree be planted on top of me, so it can use my remains to grow. I'll eventually be part of that tree that will live centuries ahead.

If my future grandsons/generation should want to visit my grave, I can provide them with shade and they can tell to themselves "This tree is my great granpa."


Sep 9, 2019, 2:08 am Reply

two years later

Uranus InBanana

Sep 9, 2019, 6:19 am Reply

Just let me eat them


Sep 9, 2019, 1:18 pm Reply

Why am I planning my funeral already


Sep 9, 2019, 1:24 pm Reply

i want to be smoked,thats cheap and gets you high


Sep 9, 2019, 3:59 pm Reply

I’m surprised that you didn’t include tree pod burials.

Maxwell Martin

Sep 9, 2019, 9:14 pm Reply

If I'm young/healthy enough for my body to be useful, donate it to science or donate my organs.. If I'm too old and crusty to be worth anything, dig a hole, toss me in, plant a maple tree on me.

Davonte Hampton

Sep 9, 2019, 10:31 pm Reply

Then I will become the first dead person to reach Mars

Ahmed Qais

Sep 9, 2019, 1:33 am Reply

We bury the dead the natural way just wrap them in a white cloth and put them in the ground, we treat them with respect when we see a coffin headed to the cemetery we put our right hand on our heart and say “you went, we follow rest in peace”.

Joey Lynn

Sep 9, 2019, 8:09 am Reply

americans will use anything except the metric system

Elizabeth Start

Sep 9, 2019, 4:52 pm Reply

I hate funerals. Never planed on having one. Cremation was my choice, but natural would be better. Never seen anything around me that did it.


Sep 9, 2019, 9:34 pm Reply

Bury me with a monster reborn so I can come back next turn.


Sep 9, 2019, 6:42 am Reply

I'm totally doing the skeleton thing.


Sep 9, 2019, 3:38 pm Reply

Only the heathen get cremated, Christians are buried.

Mud Fox

Sep 9, 2019, 2:59 am Reply

Natural burial!

Mr. Tuna Good Bread

Sep 9, 2019, 3:58 am Reply

Since mother Earth is dying it's best to bury the dead bodies itself as it does help the Environment


Sep 9, 2019, 8:53 am Reply

Just launch me into the sun, ty.

Lily Reen

Sep 9, 2019, 5:43 pm Reply

when you're scared of being buried alive but remember you're muslim ??


Sep 9, 2019, 7:34 pm Reply



Sep 9, 2019, 10:00 pm Reply

Human: tee hee im gonna play a little prank
Also human in cremation: and I oop

V S 8

Sep 9, 2019, 10:55 pm Reply

And now I'm scared out of my mind


Sep 9, 2019, 11:52 pm Reply

Laughs in muslim


Sep 9, 2019, 12:47 am Reply

Even dying has a price?

Freya DK

Sep 9, 2019, 11:48 am Reply

Take my organs and shove me in the dirt please

Donne David

Sep 9, 2019, 12:35 pm Reply

uhh what if instead of a grave we should plant a tree instead? so it will be like a forest

(this is not my idea by the way)


Sep 9, 2019, 9:17 pm Reply

i want to become food for children in africa

eric cheng

Sep 9, 2019, 12:30 am Reply

dminm fast anfd frious

MB vigario

Sep 9, 2019, 1:35 pm Reply

easy solution:
just eat the dead


Sep 9, 2019, 4:34 pm Reply

As much as we may wish to believe that a reminder of our existence needs to be preserved for eternity, very few people who have lived on Earth are remembered for more than a generation or two after their death. We need to get over ourselves. We are not special.

Kevin Wiyarnanda

Sep 9, 2019, 5:11 pm Reply

Muslims can't relate :/


Sep 9, 2019, 11:48 pm Reply

Why not a sea burial. But some weight on the body and there u go

Joe Hodson

Sep 9, 2019, 11:29 am Reply

When (/if) I turn 70 im gonna start building my own coffin


Sep 9, 2019, 5:48 am Reply

Man, this comment section is morbid.

Andrew Bills

Sep 9, 2019, 8:53 pm Reply

I hate coffins and the thought of preserving the body. I just want to be wrapped in a cloth and buried so my body decomposes as fast as possible.

Don’t get me going on crematoriums. What’s the point in burning coffins?

Malgorzata S.

Sep 9, 2019, 10:50 am Reply

Natural burials are the only way, it's ridiculous to spend resources in time of climate crisis to cater to the dead. They're dead. We need those resources for the living

Mohammed Arfat

Sep 9, 2019, 2:20 pm Reply

This is a Christian thing isn't it

Samo Aquaia

Sep 9, 2019, 7:15 pm Reply

or maybe the vegans can eat them corpses.

Rayna Engle

Sep 9, 2019, 9:38 pm Reply

this won't be how I allow my body to be treated..

Mirrer Bain

Sep 9, 2019, 1:57 am Reply

No when you say funeral I think Fun-Real lol

basant vimal sharma

Sep 9, 2019, 10:12 am Reply

Cremation is best method of disposing the dead.burial takes up hectares upon hectares of land area.

Trent Brooks

Sep 9, 2019, 8:59 pm Reply

0:49 BRB be right back lol

Ernesto Duenas

Sep 9, 2019, 12:25 am Reply

Your killing me for Gods sake

Eternity Star

Sep 9, 2019, 4:24 am Reply

Send it to space

_ jailbird

Sep 9, 2019, 2:57 pm Reply

Also Muslims does it the natural way, the right way.

Rahim Ahmad

Sep 9, 2019, 7:08 pm Reply

keep it natural bro


Oct 10, 2019, 5:33 am Reply

Any Deathlings in the House?

David Bell

Oct 10, 2019, 10:12 pm Reply

I like nature way showing the woven reed basket. But that will be made money of too and it looks like it would only be for the posh.
The clip wasn’t a set. That was the former Duchess of Chatsworth.
I would settle for the City paupers grave. That’s totally free. I have no family to bury me, so the local municipality will have my body sent with all the other dead of that day, driven to an open grave and go back to the earth.

cameron taylor

Oct 10, 2019, 6:46 am Reply

Maybe we can ask the ancient Egyptians, we seem to borrow everything else from them…

Yagya Dollie

Oct 10, 2019, 10:27 am Reply

the old ways work best – natural burial
that wicker basket made by hand (possibly by the family) looks great!
perhaps an increase in wicker coffin manufacture industry is in order
shop class for the youngsters???

Stuart Hollingsead

Oct 10, 2019, 5:22 pm Reply

Me and my whole family is going to be buried in a small cemetery in North Dakota. My grandparents are there, my great grandparents are there, my great great grandma is there, aunts uncles cousins, and a bunch of old country friends of the family.
a plot is free, there is plenty of space. Me and all my generation of my family, cousins, second cousins, third cousins, spouses and kids and grand kids could all be buried there with room to spare.
Plus I inherit the church so I can take care of the cemetery….
My plan is to get it to the point where I can have robotic lawn mowers that have a little house they recharge in. I can go out and sharpen the blades every spring and make sure it all is going smooth.

Flip er

Oct 10, 2019, 8:07 pm Reply

I want just natural

Your Life in Spain

Oct 10, 2019, 8:24 am Reply

What you call "natural burial" is what everyone does in every country except the USA. XD


Oct 10, 2019, 11:34 am Reply

This is sad, Existential crisis

Clarence Sim

Oct 10, 2019, 4:16 pm Reply

Muslims have been buried without embalming or casket for centuries.

wolf and fox squad

Oct 10, 2019, 9:10 pm Reply

Not cool

master v

Oct 10, 2019, 12:30 am Reply

feed the lions in zoo

mia morgan

Oct 10, 2019, 3:40 am Reply

check out ask a mortician’s channel! she has a lot of info on natural burial

Sachie Reid

Oct 10, 2019, 5:16 am Reply

How about sea burial? That will provide food for the fish. But then again if we eat the fish …..

Juan Too

Oct 10, 2019, 6:37 am Reply

No one lives in the desert. The desert needs.fertilizing.

harlem osama

Oct 10, 2019, 5:45 am Reply

What about just Donate your body to hospitals and univesitys, you may be usefull for at least once.


Oct 10, 2019, 12:12 pm Reply

Why don't you just donate your body to science

Everything Except Shoes

Oct 10, 2019, 4:42 pm Reply

Cremation is the least narcissistic way to go.


Oct 10, 2019, 5:59 pm Reply

I am getting buried this way.

Sangia Adachi

Oct 10, 2019, 4:07 pm Reply

Dump me in the ocean. Me and the fishes can surf together.


Oct 10, 2019, 2:52 am Reply

send me into space where aliens will revive me…

Zak Tripper

Oct 10, 2019, 3:04 am Reply

Nature rewards evolutionary complexity. Humans, the most complex species, evolved an ability to digest the widest variety of plants and animals, need to be naturally recycled at a cellular level, preferably via less complex, evolutionary food chains, beginning mainly with the mycelium fungi in soil that breaks down elements, sequestering them accordingly to promote maximum biodiversity in an environment.

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