There are Cheaper Ways to Return to a Greener Earth

by Linsey Knerl on 13 May 2008 1 comment

The web is full of ways to live green, but have you ever thought about being Earth-friendly in your death? While it’s not always pleasant to think about, maybe we should. If you want to be sure that you have a full and ecologically responsible life, maybe “greener” burial products are for you.

The Green Burial Council, founded in 2005, has a unique perspective on death and burial services. In an attempt to reduce the “waste” that is caused by traditional American practices, it has created a host of sustainable deathcare options. Yes, I said “deathcare.” Whether you are looking to be buried or cremated, there are better choices, and many of them are far cheaper than the norm.

Before my look at the Green Burial Council, I was unaware of the dangers that come with the continuation of our current burial practices, which include:

Embalming – This traditional process uses fluids containing formaldehyde, which has the potential to seep into groundwater. While the EPA acknowledges its role as a possible carcinogen, the World Health Organization goes a step further, labeling it as dangerous.

Vaults – These large concrete “tombs” make up 1.6 million tons of reinforced concrete, which end up below ground. They are not required by law, but are often a basic requirement by traditional home funerals and burials.

Cremation – While it leaves far less behind to deal with, cremation has started to cause concern with the amount of fossil fuels required to perform the procedure.

As an increasing number of Baby Boomers make plans for their departure, this has never been a more relevant time for change. With the Council working to standardized requirements to become a “Conservation,” “Natural,” or “Hybrid” Burial Ground, there may be hope in our lifetime for more responsible practices.

It may take some adjusting to accept the Best Practices of the GBC, which include home funerals, dry ice preservation for open viewings, and bio-degradable paper shrouds. But if the cost of these uniquely old-fashioned methods is any less than what funeral homes currently require, I think people will become more open to it. For a complete list of green funeral providers, cemeteries, and products near you, see the Council’s approved list.

 

Want to see the most fabulously comprehensive piece on green funerals? This article at TreeHugger has everything you need to know about green funerals, how to make your wishes known, and where to begin the journey for planning out the end of your journey.

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the poor Tibetans that do not have enough money for fuel do air burials - this actually means that they take their dead loved one on the mountain and let him/her there for the vultures