Greening after-death care

It’s time we considered the environmental impact of our deaths.

 Over time, the typical ten-acre swatch of cemetery ground, for example, contains enough coffin wood to construct more than 40 houses, nearly 1,000 tons of casket steel and another twenty thousand tons of vault concrete. Add to that a volume of toxic formalin nearly sufficient to fill a small backyard swimming pool and untold gallons of pesticide and weed killer used to keep the cemetery grounds preternaturally green.  Mark Harris, Grave Matters


Photo: Family involvement in natural burial at Ramsey Creek Preserve, SC.  The first conservation burial ground in the US, preserving land and allowing a green return to the earth.

 Issue #2 of Natural Transitions Magazine is a useful guide to how we can lessen our carbon footprint at death.


A little knowledge goes a long way…

What is embalming?

Embalming is almost never required by law.  It is a practice that began during the US Civil War that involves puncturing internal organs, draining the body of fluids and injecting a formaldehyde-based fluid, along with other chemicals and dyes, to provide for temporary preservation of the body.  It exposes embalmers to chemicals that are known carcinogens.  Refrigeration is an alternative to embalming.  This includes the use of dry-ice and other refrigerants such as techni-ice.  These are simple to use and may be as effective as embalming.

Read More about Natural Transitions and earth-friendly funerary practices