Consumer Advocacy in Life & Death
Three words: honesty + basic transparency. What do these describe? The mission motivating Josh Slocum, the national Executive Director. The FCA’s biennial meeting happened in Tucson this month. While attending a full day of the conference sessions, I heard Josh give two talks: ‘State of the FCA’ and ‘Going Green without Going Broke’. He has a dry wit that kills me (sorry), and he is wickedly intelligent. I am so grateful he strongly advocates for funeral consumers (both living and dead) across the country!
The state of the FCA is healthy and Josh happily reported the latest BIG news: his May 2012 interview with Anderson Cooper on 60 Minutes. The segment addresses the question: “Should you buy a plot ahead of time?” To which Josh consistently responds, “No.” If you want to learn more about his response and what kind of laws affect you locally, I recommend getting this book: “Final Rights: Reclaiming the American Way of Death.”Co-written by Josh and Lisa Carlson, it is an invaluable resource.
A new piece of Josh’s message resonated with me big time: bringing the FCA message about funeral rights to a younger crowd. By younger, I interpreted him to mean the two to four decades old crowd, rather than six to eight. I’m chewing on this idea and how I might be able to help my Southern Arizona FCA chapter achieve outreach to a younger set. He reminded us how the FCA founders were in their 30’s and 40’s with a purpose rooted in social and economic justice.
In the “going green” department, Josh says the best means is “maintaining the right to choose NOT to be a consumer.” So basic and honest, right? And so true. As funeral consumers, in nearly all states (41 to be exact) we can still be our own funeral directors. We can legally and naturally care for our own. Even in the states where a funeral director is required for some piece of the death care process, people can choose to be minimalist consumers with a lighter environmental footprint.