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Old 11-16-2010, 04:44 PM   #1
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Default The Green Death: Funerals for the Environmentally Conscious

The Green Death: Funerals for the Environmentally Conscious
by MikeDeHaan

The Green Death: Funerals for the Environmentally Conscious
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Burial in a cemetery is the most common course of action. The environment benefits from the preservation of grassland and trees.

The Green Burial Council is an organization promoting "caring for the dead with minimal environmental impact". In addition to certifying that burial grounds will not degrade an ecosystem, they make the following points about embalming, concrete burial vaults and cremation.

Traditional embalming fluid uses formaldehyde. As reported by the Green Burial Council, this is a carcinogen and therefore threatens the health of embalmers. The Council has approved an alternative product made of "nontoxic and biodegradable essential oils". It is not clear how long the funeral can be delayed if eco-friendly embalming fluid is used...
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Old 11-16-2010, 09:25 PM   #2
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I decided that I'd like to be cremated and use my ashes to grow the native trees and plants that I love. I'd like to think the nutrients from my body will become part of the environment. The nectar from a wildflower growing in my ashes providing sustenance for butterflies; fruits and seeds providing for other wildlife.
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Old 11-17-2010, 10:39 AM   #3
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We've thought about green burial, but there are no facilities offering that alternative anywhere near us. However, I have heard that if you have a large enough piece of property here in WV, you can be interred there with relatively little fuss - I need to look into that to see whether or not it is true - wouldn't use the energy needed for cremation...
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Old 11-17-2010, 04:48 PM   #4
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I guess I should check into PA's laws...I just assumed that we couldn't.

This reminds me of an episode of 6 Feet Under when the one brother buried his wife according to her wishes. Ignoring the law he went into the wild and dug the grave by hand.
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Old 11-17-2010, 11:26 PM   #5
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The last I knew, there is no state law requiring embalming. I'd like to know about laws requiring caskets. dust to dust...
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Old 11-18-2010, 09:09 AM   #6
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Embalming may be required by some state laws, ie: for inter-state transportation of a body. Embalming may also be required by a funeral home should a family choose an open casket visitation.

The Federal Trade Commision provides helpful facts for consumers-
Funerals: A Consumer Guide

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Embalming


Many funeral homes require embalming if you're planning a viewing or visitation. But embalming generally is not necessary or legally required if the body is buried or cremated shortly after death. Eliminating this service can save you hundreds of dollars. Under the Funeral Rule, a funeral provider:
  • may not provide embalming services without permission.
  • may not falsely state that embalming is required by law.
  • must disclose in writing that embalming is not required by law, except in certain special cases.
  • may not charge a fee for unauthorized embalming unless embalming is required by state law.
  • must disclose in writing that you usually have the right to choose a disposition, such as direct cremation or immediate burial, that does not require embalming if you do not want this service.
  • must disclose in writing that some funeral arrangements, such as a funeral with viewing, may make embalming a practical necessity and, if so, a required purchase.
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Old 11-18-2010, 06:44 PM   #7
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So, for those rejecting cremation, can we not just bury the body?

My mother was cremated and we, the close family, held a private service and sprinkled her ashes off the end of the pier so she could be one with the beach she so loved. Whenever I go there, I have my private remembrance at the end of that pier and find it so much more meaninglful than standing in a cemetery knowing she is where she always wanted to be.
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Old 11-20-2010, 09:12 PM   #8
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You should but.... if you're getting buried at a cemetery they're probably gonna require a concrete vault.... it gets costly maintaining all those gravesites with all the divets in the ground when vaults aren't used. They've got us coming and going. All I know is I don't want to be pickled and I don't want my body getting incinerated.... the energy used to reduce us to ashes not to mention the environmental impact of that process with emissions of heavy metals and persistent organic pollutants isn't exactly "green". I'm liking the idea of sky burials like what hazelnut brought up, Sky burial: Facts, Discussion Forum, and Encyclopedia Article. My preference would be a green burial so the decomposers could have at me but they're not approved in Illinois so a sky burial with my body chopped up and used as food for another living species works. Toss me to the vultures at the zoo when I'm dead for all I care. Seems more logical putting a body to good use rather than wasting resources pickling or incincerating it.
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Old 11-21-2010, 07:03 AM   #9
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In North America, some nomadic tribes in the Great Plains region either buried their dead, if the ground was soft, or left them on tree platforms or on scaffolds.
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Old 01-18-2011, 05:36 PM   #10
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I just heard a local newscast mention resomation as an option that uses less energy than cremation. The TV was on in the background, but that caught my interest and made me think of this thread. If it is on the news, these ideas may be becoming more mainstream.
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