WHY SHOULD WE CARE . . . ABOUT A GREEN BURIAL?
I know. It seems like a dreary topic on the heels of Valentine's Day. It's probably never a wonderful time to hit you up with this subject, but we're all going to face it one way or another, and for reasons you are about to catch a glimpse of, we should be making more informed decisions that can help us and those we love leave this earth with a much lighter carbon footprint.
Our audience seems to be fascinated by this topic and every time we have the Green Reaper, Elizabeth Fournier on the radio show, the numbers skyrocket. So, whether we admit it publicly or not, we DO want to know more about this topic.
What we are learning is that more people not only want to have a greener goodbye, but a more meaningful and personalized one. We are astounded at some of the ways that both of these can be achieved. But first, some crazy statistics on why we should care . . .
Each year, 22,500 cemeteries across the United States bury approximately:
30 million board feet (70,000 m³) of hardwoods (caskets)
90,272 tons of steel (caskets)
14,000 tons of steel (vaults)
2,700 tons of copper and bronze (caskets)
1,636,000 tons of reinforced concrete (vaults)
827,060 US gallons (3,130 m³) of embalming fluid, which most commonly includes formaldehyde.
[Wikipedia on Natural Burials, Compiled from statistics by Casket and Funeral Association of America, Cremation Association of North America, Doric Inc., The Rainforest Action Network, and Mary Woodsen, Pre-Posthumous Society]
WHAT CAN WE DO?
Consider leaving instructions in your will for a green burial
What is green burial?
According to the Green Burial Council, green burial is a way of caring for the dead with minimal environmental impact that furthers legitimate ecological aims such as the conservation of natural resources, reduction of carbon emissions, protection of worker health, and the restoration and/or preservation of habitat.
- There are a number of environmental contaminants that occur from current burial practices - not only from embalming, but the coffins tend to also.
- Traditional burial is creating serious space issues, which ultimately is an environmental concern
- Cremation is slightly better for the environment, but still creates some air and soil pollution
What options are there?
- Non-toxic embalming fluids are made without formaldehyde and resolve most objections to ground contamination - NOTE: No state or province in North America requires routine embalming of bodies
- Natural coffins are made from biodegradable materials that are readily renewable or recycled, and created with greater sustainability in their production process
- All Men are Cremated Equal: My 77 Blind Dates, by our favorite Green Reaper, Elizabeth Fournier
- Resources for Green Burials
- Eternal Reefs - An Eternal Reefs Memorial Reef is a designed reef of cast concrete that can include the cremated remains of a loved one. These Memorial Reefs create new marine habitats for fish and other forms of sea life
- Listen to the Green Diva's Sleeping Naked is Green, 5-min segment on Eco-Friendly Burials
- Listen to our most popular Green Divas Radio Show broadcast of the Green Reaper, Elizabeth Fournier, who talks about some of the more green and creative ways people are making healthy green goodbyes to their loved ones
The Green Divas Radio Show, podcasts, audio vignettes and blog posts feature fun and low-stress ways to live a deeper shade of green, while maintaining some comfort and style. Green Diva Meg, co-host Green Diva Lisa and sidekick, Green Dude Scott offer tons of easily accessible information and resources to help make the journey to a more sustainable world easier and a little more fun and entertaining. The radio show broadcasts live every Saturday morning from WMTR 1250 AM in Northern, NJ/NY Metro area, streaming live on WMTRam.com, or catch up on the podcast.More from ecomii: