Everyone knows that cremation is bad for the environment, and there are always more sustainable options for your funeral—such as liquidation or being frozen in liquid nitrogen. However, Eternal Reefs has a more unique option: transforming human remains into artificial coral reefs for marine life.
The idea was the brainchild of two college roommates from the University of Georgia in the 1980s who used to regularly go diving off of the Florida Keys on breaks. Over the years of diving, they saw significant deterioration and degradation of the reefs they were visiting and they decided to do something about it.
The duo created the reef ball—an artificial habitat that replicated the natural marine environment for marine life and microorganisms. In 1998, Carleton Glen Palmer, the father-in-law of co-creator Don Brawley, decided he wanted his cremated remains incorporated into a reef ball.
According to Eternal Reefs, Carleton said: “I can think of nothing better than having all that action going on around me all the time after I am gone. Just make sure that the location has lots of red snapper and grouper.” Shortly after Carleton made this request, he passed away.
The idea has since grown in popularity and now Eternal Reefs have become a popular choice for those looking for a ‘unique’ final resting place. Eternal Reefs states that an artificial reef makes one a ‘true living legacy.’ “Military veterans, environmentalists, fishermen, sailors, divers and people who have been active all their lives or whose lives have been cut short, are comforted by the thought of being surrounded by all that life and action going on around them.”