Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Business of Death

The video, The Business of Death, was put together by GoodMagazine. I thought it might be a little too macabre to post until I remembered a great discussion I witnessed in a sixth grade technology class about coffins and graveyards. I don't recall how it came up but the kids had some thoughtful things to say about land use, death and the environment. Someone had seen the biodegradable coffins being used in Europe and from there the topics roamed from cremation to embalming to shooting the remains into space. In hindsight, that would have been the perfect moment to throw out a design challenge to my kids.

Design an economical funeral process that is respectful and doesn't pollute or waste resources.

Alas, I had some other goal in mind at the time and let that killer project slip away. This film could stimulate discussion in any class. One caution. It is about death and what we do with our dead. Tread carefully. Think about the maturity of your kids. Your own comfort level. Your community.

If nothing else, it will get you thinking. I have already looked up a few of the statistics shown in the film. Wouldn't it be fun to compare the resources used in a mainstream industry like housing and compare it to the funeral industry. Learning doesn't have to be deadly dull.

[Image:Cohen, Kathleen. "Columbia Cemetary. Tombstones of Henry and Mary Munroe.." WorldsImage. 1904. 2 Nov 2007 .

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