Sunday, March 1, 2009

Day 313 of our Green Year: Greening Our Burial

Not everyone wants to think about their burial. Something about realizing that we will die at some point causes many people to get uneasy. However, planning your burial is very important, especially as there are now so many options available to everyone. Beyond simply burying the body or cremating it, there are green solutions as well.

It is amazing to think that the United States alone buries 1.6 million tons of reinforced concrete, 827,060 tons of toxic embalming fluid, 90,000 tons of steel and 30 million tons of hardwood each year for burials. With all that concrete and steel, you would think we were worried about the bodies coming back as zombies! Things need to change.

You can have your cremated remains put into an artificial coral reef. A plaque will serve as your tombstone and your remains will become part of a home for fishes in the future.

You can also choose to have a green burial that uses no chemicals and has your body in a casket that will bio-degrade so that your body and your casket all return to the soil over time, helping the soil gain nutrients to grow plants above you.

You can also have a burial that allows a tree to grow out of your casket and body, so that years down the road there is the memory of you encapsulated in a tree, a tree you helped to grow with your own nutrients.

You can also get an eco-friendly coffin. There are many companies out there now that offer 100 percent bio-degradable coffins, made from recycled cardboard and which release 72 percent less carbon monoxide during cremation than a traditional coffin.

So, for our 313th day of Our Green Year, Layla and I are making plans so that when we do pass on, our burial will be clean and environmentally-friendly