“You'd have to say that the traditional way of doing burials or cremation is not sustainable. I mean, they just plainly are not by their facts.”

This story is part of Re:’s Belief Week. From young people who are celibate, to New Zealand’s first Wicca church, we take a look at what belief, religion and spirituality mean today. Check out the rest of the stories here.

The way we bury our dead is unsustainable, with cremation creating emissions and burials using too much land. Cremating one person requires the same energy as the average New Zealand household uses in a month. 

But there could be a better way, like cremating people in water that then fertilises our native forests. Baz Macdonald talks to some burial experts about how we can give back to the planet when we pass on.

Artwork by Monica Yang

More stories from belief week:

Meet the NZ Jews against the occupation of Palestine

“I was brought up on a story about my country that wasn’t true.”

I’m celibate: Let me tell you why

“It’s not about not getting sex. It’s about not wanting sex, like at all right now.”

I painted a church pink in Greymouth: 'A house of queer worship'

"Why not turn everything you can into a sculpture? Go forth and be silly."