Two Asian charities have joined forces with the U.S. National Funeral Directors' Association (NFDA) to get people to start thinking about deathcare rather than healthcare.
No, deathcare is not another tine in Britain's expanding Liverpool Death Pathway fork, it is a chance to think about the way your final exit is made, assuming you were told you are on the NHS' mandatory road to demise in time to plan.
Funerals used to be local affairs, someone came around and sold you a plot, and then a funeral director gouged your family for the big money in their moment of grief, but now it is a big international business, so the NFDA and the Lien (environmentalism) and ACM (deathcare and all it entails) Foundations in Singapore have gotten together with architecture website Designboom to host Design For Death contest and redesign deathcare for the future.
The Design For Death competition is seeking ideas stressing how deathcare can be more environmentally friendly and yet still be customized to make the dead feel more individual. In 2010, the Lien Foundation held a "Happy Coffins" competition that got 733 entries from 33 countries. Total prizes this time are EUR$80,000.
Funerals have already gotten more creative. You can be part of a reef memorial at sea or have a diamond made from your ashes. Thermal energy from crematoriums in the UK is used to power homes of the living. Your ash is not just trash any more.(1) But cremation, which used to be environmentally the way to go, is now not enough, since so many people do it and activists have to find something new to complain about. Now they say your cremation releases 350 lbs. of greenhouse gases so your death is causing too much global warming.
I am not worried about all that, though I will still care about the living even after I am gone. As I have said before, that is why I have designed an elaborate labyrinth as my crypt and when a descendant of mine reaches the final room, they will have to fight my undead Lich for their inheritance.
This is not what I actually look like today. But it will be after I die.
"Through Design for Death, we hope to shift paradigms and spur new practical initiatives in deathcare - from green funerals and sustainable practices to upbeat send-offs and digital legacies," said Lien Foundation's CEO Mr. Lee Poh Wah.
Sure, that is nice too. My idea is more fun around Halloween.
(1) Can you come up with a better slogan? I tried to think of something catchy that rhymes with ashes but was stumped in the 4 minutes it took to write this article. Really, aside from another way to ridicule England's death panels, I had nothing going into this.