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FCA News, March 2015

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First, a few words from our sponsor:


Hello, my name is the Grim Reaper. You may recognize me from my various appearances over the decades, most recently at your local funeral home. Studies show that 10 out of 10 Americans will be affected by Cessation of Life Syndrome, or CLS, at some point in their lives (usually at the end). Yet most families won’t talk about it.  


You or a loved one may be at risk for complications from CLS if:

  • You think it’s “morbid” to plan ahead
  • You make nervous jokes about “putting me in box and throwing me out on the curb” and end the conversation without making actual plans
  • You find yourself talking about CLS in the subjunctive mood: “Just in case anything should ever happen to me.”

As a founding member of Funeral Consumers Alliance, I know how helpful the organization can be. That’s why I worked with them to develop Before I Go: You Should Know. This funeral planning kit has space to record all your important information so that those you love will know what to do when CLS becomes a reality for your family.


  • There is no need to ask your undertaker; funeral planning is right for you.
  • Kit may be filled out on an empty stomach or after eating.
  • Potency drops when kit is left in a file drawer. For maximum efficacy kit must be shared and talked about with friends and family today.
  • Side effects may include organization, relief of worry, and a sense of smug superiority when thinking about that one cousin who never plans anything and makes every life event a catastrophe. Also she never returned that casserole dish.

Don’t delay, order today. Because I’M GOING TO GET YOU ALL MWAHAHAHA planning ahead is a gift of love.

Bonus tips—Having a hard time starting that conversation? There are complementary therapies that can help make Before I Go more effective.

Save the Date!

Our biennial conference will take place in Atlanta, Georgia, in June, 2016. We’ll have a firm date shortly, so be sure to check back at 


Should your FCA buy liability insurance? Probably not.

-Josh Slocum, executive director 

Lots of FCA-affiliated organizations have questions about liability insurance. Do we need it? What if we get sued? Shouldn't every nonprofit have insurance?

The short answer to the last one is, “no,” but the reasons aren’t always straightforward. Let’s talk about:

  • What liability and risk actually are and how to assess them
  • The different types of insurance
  • Weighing the cost of insurance against the actual risk
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 25 March 2015 15:55 ) Read more...

High court ruling may open up casket options in South Carolina

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-Gere Fulton is past president of the national FCA and a current board member of the Funeral Consumers Alliance of South Carolina. This editorial originally appeared in The State

On Feb. 25 the U.S. Supreme Court held that the N.C. dental board erred in trying to prevent teeth whiteners in spas and malls from competing with dentists. The Board of Dental Examiners, comprised entirely of dentists, had issued cease­ and­ desist orders, and after a series of appeals, the high court voted 6­3 to overturn those actions, as an unreasonable restraint of trade. For people in South Carolina who want to be able to decide for themselves where to buy their caskets, it was a great victory.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 18 March 2015 15:29 ) Read more...

Wanna be a tree?

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This pair of italian designers would like to help you. Capsula Mundi is an egg-shaped, biodegradable burial container, on top of which would be planted a tree, which would absorb your nutrients and flourish. The container is made from starch plastic made from plants. Foregoing the traditional wooden casket, you save one tree and then nourish another. If you are a fan of trees, this is the burial for you!


Alkaline hydrolysis bill defeated in Indiana

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HB 1069, the bill that would have legalized alkaline hydrolysis in Indiana, was defeated last week, chiefly because of criticism surrounding the process of disposing a liquid byproduct of the chemical cremation down the drain. Republican legislator, casket company owner, and former president of the Casket & Funeral Supply Association of America (hmm... no special interests there), Dick Hamm, reportedly compared the process to "flushing a loved one". 

As we've said before, one's personal preferences for body disposition should not restrict the choices of others. And Hamm's critique of alkaline hydrolysis seems unfair since in the common practice of embalming, the abdomen is pierced and sunctioned, blood is removed and the contents are routinely flushed down the drain, though this practice never faces the same condemnation from funeral industry professionals. 


The Stranger: The Architect Who Wants To Redesign Being Dead

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We've linked to the Urban Death Project story before, but those wanting to know more would glean much from this article. Katrina Spade is the visionary behind the Urban Death Project, a sort of green burial for those in urban areas. Bodies would be composted in urban decomposition chambers in a period of weeks or months after which their families could retrieve their remains in the form of nutrient rich soil.

Not only would it serve as a meaningful option of eco-friendly body disposition, but Spade is also researching the value that composted bodies, human and animal, could have in addressing the problem of degenerative soil caused by over-farming. Bodies are full of nutrients that could help replenish soil that is rapidly eroding due to aggressive agriculture and increased farming needs. 

Of course, in a society that has enough trouble even admitting that death happens, it will be a long time before the general public feels comfortable talking about the dead in terms of their "nutritional value", but for those who would like to "return to the earth" in the most literal sense, the Urban Death Project has an allure. 

Read the full article at The Stranger.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 04 March 2015 14:55 )

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