More Than Meets the Eye, True Stories about Death, Dying, and Afterlife covers many aspects of the dying and grieving process and sheds light on euthanasia, suicide, near-death experience, and spirit visits after the passing of a loved one. ___________________________________________

Monday, November 23, 2009

A Green Burial

I found a really cool Web site that gives some great alternatives to the sad and morbid funeral that costs thousands of dollars.

The Green Burial Council is a non-profit organization working to make burial more sustainable, economically viable, and meaningful. I’m all about helping Mother Gaia stay clean and healthy for future generations, so I was pleased to learn that The Green Burial Council is trying to reduce the carbon emissions, waste and the use of toxic chemicals in the cemetery/funeral field and utilize burial as a means of acquiring, restoring, and stewarding natural areas.

I don’t want my body to be embalmed when I die. I don’t want to be buried in a casket and vault because of the impact it makes upon the environment. For example, each year, 22,500 cemeteries across the United States bury approximately 827,060 gallons of embalming fluid which includes formaldehyde and other hazardous chemicals. Buried caskets contain 90,272 tons of steel, 2,700 tons of copper and bronze and 30-plus million board feet of hardwoods. Cremation and burial vaults contain 1,636,000 tons of reinforced concrete and 14,000 tons of steel. (

Personally, I would rather be offered to the Goddess on a fiery pyre on my own property, but I’m sure it would be difficult to get a do-it-yourself-at-home cremation permit in the deep south. Besides, there are environmental issues to think about. It would take a lot of fuel and would generate a considerable amount of smoke pollution. The commercial gas cremation retorts all have after-burners, making the cremation process a virtually "invisible" and a very clean operation. So, I suppose cremation is the closest thing I’ll get to a backyard body barbeque.

Here is a site that offers biodegradable urns, deep water bio urns, eco-friendly caskets, scattering tubes, cornstarch eco-urns, sand & gelatin urns, bamboo urns, and shell urns. An alternative worth looking into.
For more information, you might enjoy reading the complete book More Than Meets the Eye True Stories about Death, Dying, and Afterlife. Purchase on



Anonymous said...

Hi there,

I'm so glad you've picked up on natural burial. There are so many great things to talk about with respect to it.

At our company, the Natural Burial Company, we sell biodegradable coffins and urns as a way to help folks make these desires real.

We also work with funeral directors and cemetery managers to help them convert to natural funeral and operations techniques.

You don't need to be embalmed when you die. And, actually, you can still be buried in a coffin - you could just make it something handmade, celebrating an artist and keeping an art alive, rather than making it a product out of stamped steel or rainforest hardwood and padded with poly-foam stuffing.

RE: your pyre.

A group in Colorado have been lobbying to do just that.

With respect to emissions, I've got to agree with you - it's a bit of smoke but probably not as much as your average big-brush burn pile. (Just be sure you get your mercury fillings replaced well before the date!) Certainly planting a few trees will more than make up for the footprint, if it's the thing you want most!

I think the important thing in this movement is to recognize that many of us desire a more natural end. We're not all offended by the same things - what's dignified to some is not to others (embalming, for example); what's respectful to some is not respectful to others.

We only have one death (that we know of). It's the end of the only life we'll ever know for sure that we know, til we explore the other side of the mystery. It seems a small thing to insist that we ought to have the death we want (a natural one...) followed by the disposition we want - again, environmentally benign and expressing some of what we value in our lives.

For me, and for lots of others, that value seems to be held well by a tree ---

in trees,

Cynthia Beal
Natural Burial Company

Biodegradable coffins and urns --- if it's the last thing you do...

Yvonne Perry said...

Thanks for this excellent information. I'll post this as an entry so it doesn't get lost in the invisible comments.