Florida Company Using Cremated Human Remains to Restore Dying Coral Reefs, Stimulate Marine Life

by Halle Ames
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You may want to edit your will after this one. A Florida company is using cremated human remains to bring coral reefs back to life.

And now, you are either all for it (#savetheocean), or you are disgusted and think this is terribly morbid. I think it’s the word “remains” that’s turning people off. It just makes the process sound like you are throwing arms and legs into the oceans. I should clarify that your cremated ashes are going into the water for the coral reefs.

A company called Eternal Reefs is encouraging people to consider having a “green burial.” It’s more like a blue burial, but you get the point. The Florida-based company takes cremated remains of a loved one and makes them into “reef balls,” which in turn help revive dying coral. Like a sea phoenix rising from your ashes.

Eternal Reefs has been holding the unorthodox burials for 20 years now and have created almost 2,500 reef balls for the coral reefs, reports Brobible. These ‘reef balls’ aren’t the size of a tennis ball or even a soccer ball. Nope, these coral reef power-ups can weigh up to FIVE TONS and mix the ashes with concrete. The idea and design for the massive ‘reef balls’ are thanks to a company called Reef Innovations.

Giving Back To Coral Reefs

Once the concrete dries, the balls are covered with a sugar and water mixture, which attracts coral. Larry Beggs with Reef Innovations explained why coral reefs like concrete.

“The concrete is a pH-neutralized, marine-grade concrete that is very important for coral growth,” said Beggs. “Oysters, corals, invertebrates, and stuff that will grow on the reef can attach to the reef ball very easily.”

Conservationists see this as a better option than sinking structures like boats and planes into the ocean in the hopes of coral attaching. George Frankel, the CEO of Eternal Reefs, noted that grieving families can even personalize the coral reef balls.

“We work with families who have lost somebody and had their loved one cremated,” said Frankel. “We put fresh concrete on the top of the reef ball, and then they put handprints, they write messages. Families are invited to bring things that represent their loved one’s life, as long as they’re not environmentally harmful.”

The website also states that the Neptune Memorial Reef, off the coast of Key Biscayne, Florida, is the largest man-made reef in the world. Furthermore, it is the “final resting place” of over 1,000 people.

Wow, talk about leaving this world better than you found it.

Outsider.com