Date of Award


First Advisor

Donald McClelland

Second Advisor

Sarah Snyder


In a world in which the only certainty is death, people are often hesitant to discuss that inevitability or the consequences of our current death practices. Over our recent history death has become more industrialized than ever, increasing the fear of discussing death. The current most common methods of body disposition in the United States are conventional burial and flame-cremation. Both of these options result in heavy resource use and unnecessary pollution of the environment. Alternative options that are better for the environment are available, including green burial, alkaline hydrolysis, and human composting. These options, along with body donation, are all further explored in environmental and practical contexts. All of these options rely on the ability of people to be able to confront their own mortality and discuss their death with their next of kin.

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