Here at Think of It as an Adventure, we’re all about thinking outside the box. April is Donate Life month so let’s talk about the box you put yourself in after death. What can we do to create positive change even after we’re gone. A little tongue in cheek here, we can think of it as reducing, reusing and recycle on a personal scale. And the good we can do is tremendous.
Reduce: You can take action today to donate your body parts after death. Every day some 77 people receive transplanted organs but another 18 people die on the waiting list. 110,586 Americans are awaiting a donation right now. You can make a huge difference not just in one person’s life, but up to 8 people’s lives, by signing up to donate organs.
Reuse: Consider leaving your body to the U of M medical school through its anatomy bequest program. Imagine the thousands of lives that you could save as those medical students go on to long careers of service to our community.
Recycle: I first became aware of how toxic our burial practices are when I volunteered at St. Joseph’s hospice. I swore then and there that I would not be buried in that manner. For years I’ve been waiting for the “green cemetery” movement to arrive in Minnesota and now it has. Prairie Oaks Memorial Forest, in Inver Grove Heights, is going to be Minnesota’s first green cemetery.
Planning for Minnesota's first green cemetery
According to their literature, just the first phase of the Prairie Oaks memorial forest will prevent 3,000 gallons of toxic embalming fluid, 292.5 tons of casket steel, 6,084 tons of concrete and 168,750 board ft. of hardwoods from going into the ground. Because it will be a nature preserve, little maintenance will be required, saving tons of fertilizer and pesticides and more than 2 million gallons of water from being used each year.
Their website says: “Prairie Oaks will be an ecosystem that invites and supports wildlife, flora and fauna that allow you to truly bloom where you are planted!”