Green Burial Blog
help us spread the word about green burial so we all share in protecting our environment.
Even though it’s not something that’s often on our minds, we are all faced with the fact that our bodies will die. And while we all realize this, planning for our deaths is still a difficult journey and it can be emotionally challenging thinking about what you want to do with your estate and even your body, let alone going about making those plans.
One of the biggest decisions that we all need to make is how we want to be buried. Traditionally, bodies are prepared for a funeral service and then are placed in a casket and buried in a cemetery. However, with a growing concern and awareness surrounding the health of the environment, people are looking for alternative burial options. A burial practice that is growing in popularity is a natural burial, or green burial.
What Are Traditional Burials?
To truly understand what a green burial is, it’s important to take a closer look at traditional burials and all that they entail. A traditional burial commonly involves:
The combined use of all of these materials can make traditional burials a considerable burden on our environment. And when you take the hundreds of thousands of people who die each day in the US, the resources used for these burials is astounding.
What is a Green Burial?
Now that you know a little more about what a traditional burial entails, let’s look at what a green burial is. The sole purpose of a natural burial is to minimize, if not eliminate completely, the use of chemicals and materials that do not decompose naturally or take hundreds of years to decompose. When comparing the four common elements of traditional burials with a green burial process, it’s easy to see the difference and the benefits that green burials have on our environment.
There Are No Embalming Fluids
With a natural burial, no chemicals are used to preserve the body. Instead, the body is kept cold in order to preserve it until a burial can take place. Without the use of chemical embalming fluids, there is no risk of them releasing from the body and entering the soil as a contaminant.
There is No Casket
To reduce the use of treated materials like wood or metals that do not decompose, a natural burial uses only a biodegradable shroud in which to wrap the body. A casket can be used for the burial, but should be made of a biodegradable material like cardboard or bamboo. The body is then placed directly into the ground. The shroud is typically made of cotton, hemp, linen, or bamboo and will naturally decompose much faster than even untreated wood. Cotton decomposes in around five months, while even untreated wood can take years to decompose.
There is No Burial Vault
Without the use of a casket, there is no need for a burial vault. The use of concrete is a significant source of carbon dioxide, a potent greenhouse gas. So, eliminating the use of concrete vaults is incredibly beneficial for the environment.
The Body is Interred in a Natural Burial Plot
Rather than being buried in a cemetery which requires regular upkeep in order for them to look presentable, with a green burial the body is buried in a naturally preserved plot where trees, grasses, and wildlife can thrive. This reduces the need for water to keep the grass green, gas for lawnmowers, and the time and money it takes to maintain a cemetery.
There is No Headstone
The purpose of a green burial is to eliminate the use of materials that do not decompose quickly, and to leave the environment in a natural state, so headstones are not used to mark a gravesite.
Choose EverAfterly For Your Green Burial
The team at EverAfterly is committed to preserving our environment for future generations. We realize how destructive traditional burial practices can be on the environment, and so we have established green burial plots in Northern California. We offer several plots, including Morgan Oaks Preserve in Placer County, Howell Mountain Preserve in Napa Valley, and Whispering Pines Preserve in the Sierra Mountains. All of our natural preserves are protected and restored through the endowments provided by those laid to rest on the property. We use conservation-minded land management techniques to ensure that nature has the freedom to do what it does best.
One of the biggest concerns that we hear from our customers is that they won’t be able to visit their loved one's grave. Without the use of a headstone, finding their resting spot can be nearly impossible. However, the EverAfterly team has designed a Digital Legacy software that allows loved ones to know the exact location of the burial plot. The software features a plot locator so that you can find the site on a map so friends and family can visit the location.
If you’re planning what to do with your body after you pass, and want to help preserve our environment, consider a green burial with EverAfterly. You can rest assured that your body will return to the earth and help support the surrounding environment. If you have any questions, you can visit our FAQ page, or feel free to reach out to our team and we’ll get back to you shortly.