Getting buried in this suit of mushrooms could help save the planet.

Death: It's bad for us.

People who are actually dead have to deal with that whole not-being-alive thing, which is less than awesome. But those people probably aren't reading this right now. (And if you are, please tell me your secret!)

For the rest of us, losing a loved one can be tough on our emotional state. Every loss is different, and I can tell you from experience that they all suck in their own special way.



GIF from "Beetlejuice."

But death is also bad for our wallets.

Between the coffin, the service, and everything else, the average funeral costs a whopping $7,000.


GIF from "Ghostbusters."

On top of that, death is even killing the environment.

According to Scientific American, it takes more than 30 million board feet of wood annually to produce enough caskets. There's also the issue of those 800,000 gallons of embalming fluid used each year, which contain toxic carcinogens like formaldehyde that seep into the soil once the body decomposes. (And also turns embalming into a risky career.)

Cremation isn't much better either. More than 500 pounds of carbon dioxide get released into the atmosphere every time a corpse gets put through the furnace. Based on the average cremation rate of 38%, that's nearly 250,000 tons of CO2 every year, or the equivalent annual output of 50,000 cars.


GIF from "Parks and Recreation."

What else can we do with our bodies? One option is to feed our corpses to carnivorous mushrooms that will nourish the soil with our decomposing flesh. Seriously.

That's what artist/inventor Jae Rhim Lee wants to do, anyway. She calls this radical idea the Infinity Burial Suit, and it looks like this:


GIF via Sustainable Human/YouTube.

Here's how they describe it on the official website:

"[The Infinity Burial Suit] is embroidered with a special type of thread infused with infinity mushroom spores. When buried, the mushroom spores act to cleanse the body of many toxins and gently return the it to the earth. The end result: our bodies are transformed into vital nutrients that enrich the earth and foster new life."

It's basically a bodysuit made from biodegradable netting that's woven with specially cultivated mushrooms that help breakdown the cadaver into clean compost. Lee jokingly described this suit as "ninja pajamas," which you'd think would have more mass appeal than "sustainable mushroom death suit."

More importantly, it retails for a scant $999, which is waaaaaay less than you'd pay for a standard funeral with a fancy casket. Did I mention it's also available for pets?


It's like this. Kind of. But for dead people. GIF from "Super Mario World."

But wait: It gets even weirder.

Apparently it's difficult to breed a special hybrid mushroom strain in a laboratory. So Lee has been growing standard shiitake and oyster mushrooms by ... um ... feeding them toenail clippings, loose hairs, skin cells, and whatever else naturally sheds from her body. Over time, this trains the mushrooms to, well, develop a taste for people.

OK, so it might not sound like the most conventional way to go about it. But when you start to think about it, it makes a lot of sense.

"I realize this is not the kind of relationship that we usually aspire to have with our food," Lee said with a laugh. "We want to eat, not be eaten by, our food. But as I watch the mushrooms grow and digest my body, I imagine the Infinity Mushroom as a symbol of a new way of thinking about death and the relationship between my body and the environment."


GIF via Neil Bromhall/YouTube.

Are you grossed out but intrigued? You're not alone. Lee's TED Talk has more than a million views ... which means she's onto something.

No matter how much we try to talk around it or avoid the subject all together, death is part of our lives. And while it can be sad, it doesn't have to be bleak — in fact, it can be kind of beautiful in a bittersweet way. Because it's all part of the wondrous cycle of life.

As Lee says at the end of her TED Talk, "Accepting death means accepting that we are physical beings who are intimately connected to the environment. [...] We came from dust and will return to dust. And once we understand that we're connected to the environment, we see that the survival of our species depends on the survival of the planet. I believe this is the beginning of true environmental responsibility."

GIF via TED/YouTube.

The Infinity Burial Suit helps us confront some uncomfortable truths about mortality.

Death might be inevitable, but we shouldn't have to pay extra for it while also poisoning the Earth.

Besides, what better legacy is there to leave behind than a better, brighter world for the next generation to enjoy with the knowledge that you literally gave your life to help the planet thrive?

GIF from "Scream Queens."

Watch Jae Rhim Lee's full TED Talk below. You might find yourself surprisingly inspired.

Images courtesy of Mark Storhaug & Kaiya Bates

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The experiences we have at school tend to stay with us throughout our lives. It's an impactful time where small acts of kindness, encouragement, and inspiration go a long way.

Schools, classrooms, and teachers that are welcoming and inclusive support students' development and help set them up for a positive and engaging path in life.

Here are three of our favorite everyday actions that are spreading kindness on campus in a big way:

Image courtesy of Mark Storhaug

1. Pickleball to Get Fifth Graders Moving

Mark Storhaug is a 5th grade teacher at Kingsley Elementary in Los Angeles, who wants to use pickleball to get his students "moving on the playground again after 15 months of being Zombies learning at home."

Pickleball is a paddle ball sport that mixes elements of badminton, table tennis, and tennis, where two or four players use solid paddles to hit a perforated plastic ball over a net. It's as simple as that.

Kingsley Elementary is in a low-income neighborhood where outdoor spaces where kids can move around are minimal. Mark's goal is to get two or three pickleball courts set up in the schoolyard and have kids join in on what's quickly becoming a national craze. Mark hopes that pickleball will promote movement and teamwork for all his students. He aims to take advantage of the 20-minute physical education time allotted each day to introduce the game to his students.

Help Mark get his students outside, exercising, learning to cooperate, and having fun by donating to his GoFundMe.

Image courtesy of Kaiya Bates

2. Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids

According to the WHO around 280 million people worldwide suffer from depression. In the US, 1 in 5 adults experience mental illness and 1 in 20 experience severe mental illness, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Kaiya Bates, who was recently crowned Miss Tri-Cities Outstanding Teen for 2022, is one of those people, and has endured severe anxiety, depression, and selective mutism for most of her life.

Through her GoFundMe, Kaiya aims to use her "knowledge to inspire and help others through their mental health journey and to spread positive and factual awareness."

She's put together regulation kits (that she's used herself) for teachers to use with students who are experiencing stress and anxiety. Each "CALM-ing" kit includes a two-minute timer, fidget toolboxes, storage crates, breathing spheres, art supplies and more.

Kaiya's GoFundMe goal is to send a kit to every teacher in every school in the Pasco School District in Washington where she lives.

To help Kaiya achieve her goal, visit Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids.

Image courtesy of Julie Tarman

3. Library for a high school heritage Spanish class

Julie Tarman is a high school Spanish teacher in Sacramento, California, who hopes to raise enough money to create a Spanish language class library.

The school is in a low-income area, and although her students come from Spanish-speaking homes, they need help building their fluency, confidence, and vocabulary through reading Spanish language books that will actually interest them.

Julie believes that creating a library that affirms her students' cultural heritage will allow them to discover the joy of reading, learn new things about the world, and be supported in their academic futures.

To support Julie's GoFundMe, visit Library for a high school heritage Spanish class.

Do YOU have an idea for a fundraiser that could make a difference? Upworthy and GoFundMe are celebrating ideas that make the world a better, kinder place. Visit upworthy.com/kindness to join the largest collaboration for human kindness in history and start your own GoFundMe.

Image is a representation of the grandfather, not the anonymous subject of the story.

Eight years a go, a grandfather in Michigan wrote a powerful letter to his daughter after she kicked out her son out of the house for being gay. It's so perfectly written that it crops up on social media every so often.

The letter is beautiful because it's written by a man who may not be with the times, but his heart is in the right place.

It first appeared on the Facebook page FCKH8 and a representative told Gawker that the letter was given to them by Chad, the 16-year-old boy referenced in the letter.

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."