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, February 4, 2013

Green Burials - Natural Transitions

By Carrie T Roberts

When America was young, formal funerals were inside the home and the dead were either wrapped in a shroud or placed in a pine box and buried in the local church cemetery.

With the Civil War, this process changed due to the fact that more people were dying far away from home and embalming became a quickly accepted practice.

What is Embalming?

It is the process that involves removing all the bodies' fluids and replacing them with up to 6 gallons of formalin (a combination of chemicals that are used for preservation). Embalming does not preserve the body indefinitely. Formalin has been proven to be a health risk in the funeral homes.

Other negative ways that conventional burials impact our environment:

1.Cemeteries, in general, use large quantities of water, weed killers and pesticides to keep the landscape attractive.
2.Vaults are usually required to keep the ground level and sturdy; 1.6 tons of concrete is used for one vault.
3.Although less resource are used overall, Cremation definitely burns fossil fuels and the process can also emit into the atmosphere: sulfur dioxides, carbon monoxide, mercury, nitrogen oxides and other heavy metals.
4.In the United States; over 2 million caskets are made each and every year. Almost 2/3 of these are made from metal.
5.Manufacturers of caskets are on the Environmental Protective Agencies (top 50) list of producers of hazardous waste material.

Ten acres of conventional cemetery will not only hold your loved ones remains, but also: wood from caskets to build 40 for more houses; over 900 tons of steel that caskets also use; 20,000 tons of concrete and enough formalin to fill an above ground pool.

This all that being said and everyones high concern about the environmental and economic issues, are you aware that you have holistic, natural end of life options?

Here is where "green burials" give you the choice to forgo the enormous financial costs of a traditional funeral and burial (which can cost you close to $10,000); but also to follow nature and allow the body to return to the earth as it was originally intended.

Boulder, Colorado has become the leader in embracing, supporting and encouraging this movement of "green burials" (also known as "eco-friendly"). There is no embalming (which means no harmful chemicals are used) and a loved ones body can rest peacefully in a shroud or casket that is biodegradable. Viewing the body is once again performed in the home; where the atmosphere is familiar and more comfortable.

Some resources that you might find helpful in your decision making process:

•Natural Transitions is a not for profit center, founded in 2003, that provides valuable resources, information and educates one on the green and holistic way to approach the end of life on earth.

The main two ways to educate the public is by their quarterly magazine "Natural Transitions" (which is available in print and also available via an e-file that is easily downloadable).They also provide the community with information through presentations, training and support for grieving families.Training sessions are attended by lay men and professional caregivers alike.

1.Nature's Casket makes caskets that are simple, elegant, affordable and most important - 100% biodegradable (including the nails, oil and glue used). Nature's Casket works very closely with the Colorado Carbon Fund and also donates $10 to this fund for each casket sold.

2.The Green Burial Council can be reached at and will provide you with more information about having a green burial.

3.In addition, provides you with valuable information, current news and links you with other companies and websites that you might find useful.

Below is a list of some current green cemeteries in the United States:

GreenSprings Natural Cemetery in New York
Stellmantown Cemetery in New Jersey
Ohio has 43 acres at Foxfield Preserve
Glendale Memorial Nature Preserve in Florida has 350 acres.
Florida also offers Eternal Rest Memories Park
South Carolina's Ramsey Creek Preserve has 32 acres
Cedarbrook Burial Ground in Maine
Honey Creek Woodlands in Georgia
And Colorado is constructing the Prairie Wilderness Cemetery

Remember, your hands are not tied. Although there might not be a green burial ground near you; start an open and honest dialogue with your local cemetery and explain your wishes. Go over with them your choices and, do not allow the majority (at this time) of what people are opting for influence your decision as to whether to have a natural, earth friendly or traditional funeral and burial for yourself or your loved ones.

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For more information, you might enjoy reading my book, More Than Meets the Eye True Stories about Death, Dying, and Afterlife. Purchase paperback on It's also on Amazon as an e-book for those who have Kindle or Sony Readers. The audio book is now available!
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