Green repose

Harboring no expectations about an afterlife life, I’m hoping that my body can really go back to dirt. So, I was tickled when I saw that News of the Weird Chuck Sheppard had covered the topic of green burial in his items for the week of 25 November 2007. I have sometimes suggested that I’d be glad to be buried un-embalmed under some fruit or nut tree; someday, then, some animal might eat me.

As an alternative to burial, cremation is no longer green enough, say environmentalists, because it releases smoke and mercury, and thus the industry is considering “promession,” in which the body is frozen in liquid nitrogen to minus-320 degrees (F) and then shaken until it disintegrates into powder. For green burials, the United States has at least six cemeteries that require biodegradable casings and for bodies to be free of embalming chemicals. The Forever Fernwood cemetery in Mill Valley, Calif., goes even further, according to an October Los Angeles Times story, banning grave markers, but, said the owner, “We issue the family a Google map with the GPS coordinates” so they can find their loved one. [Los Angeles Times, 10-28-07; Evening Standard (London), 10-10-07]

Now, I get the hygienic reasons for burial rules, but I think most of them can addressed. For example, just dig the hole deeply enough, and there won’t be much chance of Fido coming home carrying one of my limbs.

I’m going to check into these cemeteries (ahem, not “check in” as one does at a hotel, at least not right away).

Link to Mr. Sheppard’s news section. There is, natch, a Wikipedia entry; it lists eight “natural burial preserves” in the US and UK.

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5 Comments

Filed under Amusements, Atheism, Memo to me, Notes and comments, Other sites

5 responses to “Green repose

  1. Greetings –

    great blog entry! yep, there are alternative ways to “go”. I personally like the thought of going natural, wouldn’t mind if Fido got a hold of my bones! lol
    check out this site for more ideas http://funeralideas.com

  2. The modern concept of natural burial began in the UK in 1993 and has since spread across the globe. According the Centre for Natural Burial, http://naturalburial.coop there are now several hundred natural burial grounds in the United Kingdom and half a dozen sites across the USA, with others planned in Canada, New Zealand, South Africa and even China.

    A natural burial allows you to use your funeral as a conservation tool to create, restore and protect urban green spaces.

    The Centre for Natural Burial provides comprehensive resources supporting the development of natural burial and detailed information about natural burial sites around the world. With the Natural Burial Co-operative newsletter you can stay up-to-date with the latest developments in the rapidly growing trend of natural burial including, announcements of new and proposed natural burial sites, book reviews, interviews, stories and feature articles.

    The Centre for Natural Burial

  3. Kellie, thanks for stopping by and dropping a comment. Your site is really nice. It communicates clearly, helpfully, and with a nice heart.

    Mike, it’s helpful to have your comments. The center’s site is very informative. I’m glad to learn more about the concept and practices. Thanks.

  4. Brooke

    Hi John,

    I have thinking a lot about this issue and I recently got a copy of this: http://www.pbs.org/pov/pov2004/afamilyundertaking/

    I left it at my parents house so it is in town…it is also on netflix.

    I also found a really beautiful place in one of the carolinas that is a nature preserve – http://www.ramseycreekpreserve.com/mission.htm (that may be it but I am not sure as I was googling madly.)

    I think it’s great that the News of the Weird sent you this topic. I only wish I had as good a reason.

    take care,
    brooke

  5. Brooke, thanks for the leads! Thanks, too, for throwing a link from your blog. Nice.

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