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Wake Up to a Green Mourning

According to Hindu mythology, Krishna was once asked what was the most miraculous thing in all creation.  He replied, “That a man should wake each morning and believe deep in his heart that he will live forever, even though he knows that he is doomed.”

As we progress on our spiritual path, we will eventually find that death actually connects us to life.  Though the subject of death is often swept under the rug in our culture, it is a sacred part of life which, unfortunately, many people avoid planning for.

Choosing a green burial now relieves your loved ones of the distress that comes in having to make difficult, and often costly, decisions after your passing.  Involve your friends and family now, so difficult decisions do not need to be made in a time of grief.

During such traumatic times, the last thing on your mind may be how funeral products were made, where its materials were sourced, if any environmentally damaging materials went into it, or what kind of labor conditions its manufacturers faced. Especially given that you may have little time to make a decision, amidst difficult circumstances.

A typical, no-frills funeral and burial in the United States costs from $6,000 to $10,000, uses formaldehyde in embalming, non-degradable steel caskets and concrete vaults placed shoulder to shoulder in established cemeteries.

Burial in a green or natural cemetery, on the other hand, can cost half as much. Simple and natural, green burial, or natural burial, ensures the burial site remains as natural as possible in all respects.  Bodies are placed inside a degradable casket (usually made of wood or cardboard), shroud, or a favorite blanket- no embalming fluid, no concrete vaults.  Embalming, caskets and vaults are not required by law in any state. Bodies can be kept cool until burial rather than being embalmed and cemeteries require vaults only to prevent soil settling and facilitate grass mowing.  The simplicity of a green burial is in tune with nature and need not be expensive.

In keeping with your personal values, a natural burial site for you, family, even pets, promotes growth of native trees, shrubs and wildflowers, in turn bringing birds and other wildlife to the area.  Water is not wasted, nor are pesticides and herbicides used in attempts to control nature.  Instead, a green cemetery allows nature take its course. Planting native trees, shrubs and flowers in your loved one’s honor promotes habitat restoration.  To encourage land preservation, a green cemetery grants a conservation easement for the burial site.

Green cemetery graves are placed randomly throughout a woodland or meadow, and marked only in natural ways, with the planting of a tree or shrub, or the placement of a flat indigenous stone, which may or may not be engraved. Burial locations are mapped with a GIS (geographic information system), so future generations can locate an ancestor’s final resting place.

Please visit the Green Burial Council for more information.

The following video details home funeral planning, another green burial option: 

If you were intrigued by this article, you will also appreciate:  ”Take me to Your Earthship: Mother Nature’s Favorite Neighborhood“.