Although it may not be the first thing that comes to mind when considering funeral options, traditional funeral methods actually harm the environment in different ways and there are a number of benefits of a green funeral. Cremation can put mercury and other pollutants into the air, and will still require other materials aside from the body for the process. Burial in the ground requires the harvesting of wood, and the use of embalming fluid, which will enter the local soil once the body begins to decompose.
A green burial, on the other hand, has a minimal impact on the environment, especially when considering the carbon footprint that creating a casket, producing embalming fluid, or burning matter create. Instead, the deceased will be able to choose a location where their body will be buried in a shroud, without embalming, that will be used to nurture plant life, including growing trees. Here are five benefits of a green funeral and why you may want to choose to have one.
One of the more obvious qualities of a green funeral is its association with nature. The green funeral will have a greatly reduced impact on the local environment when compared to other funeral options. The body will be returned to the earth, a poetic sentiment often cited in religious and philosophical literature as part of the cycle of life and death. New life will benefit directly from that which has passed.
Knowing that you will become one with the earth can be a source of comfort, but it can also comfort those who mourn you. When your life goes on to help a tree to grow, you will have a living monument that loved ones can see as a continuation of your memory. Most green burials are marked with a simple flagstone, as opposed to a much larger headstone.
It’s Less Expensive
A green funeral can cost as little as $2,000 or less, depending on where you wish to be buried, whereas even an affordable traditional burial can cost $6,000 or more. Green funerals involve less materials, less preparation, and require less money as a result, which means more of your estate can go to the people that you care for.
Although contamination of water may be a concern with a green burial, the truth is that any bacteria within the body will quickly become inert before the issue arises. Green burials are commonly placed far away from open sources of water as well. In addition, there is no combustion, and thus no harmful pollutants will enter the air, as is the case with cremation.
It Improves the World You Love
Green burials can enrich the soil with organic material, providing much needed nutrients and nurturing the microorganisms that plants need to grow and survive. Stronger trees mean an area has better protection against storms and flooding, and helps to reduce the pollution that has already taken a toll on the world. Green cemeteries provide a rich, strong foundation for plant life that can be enjoyed by generations to come.
The above five points are only a few of the benefits of a green funeral. Read the other articles on green funerals listed below to learn more about planning a green funeral for your loved one.
Updated: June 6, 2013