"It is clear that nature has intended that our bodies be reunited with the earth. All organisms that have lived, have died and returned to the soil...only to be recycled into new life."
Realizing the toxic impact that traditional funerals can have on the planet, more and more people are seeking out environmentally friendly options known as "green" or "natural burials" — choosing to take a stand on how they are ultimately laid to rest. Many still pursue traditional burials for different reasons often based on religious beliefs. Others are finding a less invasive and less costly means still filled with as much meaning with no coffins or chemicals required.
While the appeal of an eco-burial or being laid to rest at a "green" cemetery is gaining in popularity, however, such options are not available in all states across the country. In fact that actual number of designated lands or "preserves" dedicated for green burials is
quite limited. California does have some options - see: Green Burial Cemeteries in California updated as of June 2012 and provided by the Funeral Consumers Alliance of Southern California. There are certain things to factor into when considering a Green, Natural or
Eco-Burial and Rest Assured is here to answer your questions!
While lands that offer Eco-Burials may still be limited, environmnetally friendly options of "what" we are buried in are expanding.
You may request to be wrapped in a simple shroud or cloth of Organic natural fibers such as cotton or hemp and placed in a plain biodegradable Cardboard Casket — which will break down quickly and harmlessly become part of the Earth and is specifically designed for Green Burials. The more elaborate Ecopods are made of recycled paper.
Or you may consider an Eco-urn such as Poetree: A Funeral Urn That Lets You Plant A Tree From Ashes. It would serve one well to do some research!
"Be a Tree; the Natural Burial Guide for Turning Yourself into a Forest" - pretty extensive but great information! For more articles on Green Burials click here >>
Other Helpful Resources:
"The Green Burial Council is a non-profit organization working to make burial more sustainable, economically viable, and meaningful. We aim 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. Founded in 2005, the Council has emerged as the "gold standard" among consumers, land trusts, park service agencies, cemetery operators, funeral homes, cremation companies and product suppliers."
Visit website: Green Burial Council
Resources and Information Supporting Eco Burial in North America
"Eco Burial is a statement of personal values; it is a sustainable and spiritually fulfilling solution for people seeking to leave a legacy of
care and respect for our planet."
"An Eco Burial Ground, also known as a woodland cemetery, a green-cemetery, memorial nature preserve, or natural burial ground, is a place where the body is returned to nature. Native vegetation (often a memorial tree) is planted over or near the grave in place of
a conventional cemetery monument. The resulting Ecospace establishes a living memorial and forms a protected wildlife preserve. Eco burial promotes the use of biodegradable burial products such as simple wooden caskets, handmade caskets including wicker caskets or burial shrouds. Eco burial offers an environmentally sensitive burial alternative."
Visit website: Forest of Memories
"A journey throught the modern funeral industry to a Natural way of burial". Grave Matters follows a dozen families who found in "green" burial a more natural, more economic and ultimately more meaningful alternative to the tired and toxic send-off offered at the local funeral parlor.
Visit website: Grave Matters
Natural burial is a this is not a new trend, but rather a return to a way of the past. It's the idea that in "choosing how and where we are buried, each one of us can conserve, sustain, and protect the earth… the earth from which, we came and to which we shall return. A natural burial allows you to use your funeral as a conservation tool to create,
restore and protect urban green spaces."