Green Burials: A Natural Approach to Your Final Resting Place

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After living a sustainable lifestyle, what about embracing a sustainable death? More and more states support the practice of green burials. Here’s what you should know…

Death is an inevitable part of life, and the way we, humans, approach it has evolved over time. In recent years, there has been a growing movement toward environmentally conscious practices, extending even to the way we bid farewell to our loved ones.

Green burials, also known as natural burial or eco-friendly burial, are an alternative approach that aims to minimize the environmental impact associated with traditional burial practices. Today, we’re taking a closer look at the concept of green burial, its principles, benefits, and its role in fostering a deeper connection with nature.

What Is A Green Burial?

A green burial is an eco-friendly approach to laying the deceased to rest. Unlike conventional burial methods that involve embalming chemicals, concrete vaults, and non-biodegradable caskets, green burial embraces the idea of returning the body to the earth in a way that allows for natural decomposition and supports the regeneration of life. The guiding principles of green burials include:

1. Simplicity: Green burial encourages simplicity and avoids the use of materials and processes that can harm the environment. This means eschewing the use of toxic embalming fluids, metal caskets, and concrete burial vaults.

2. Conservation of Natural Resources: Green burial aims to conserve natural resources by minimizing the use of materials that deplete them. Biodegradable caskets or shrouds made of sustainable materials such as bamboo, wicker, or unbleached cotton are often used instead.

3. Preserving Natural Landscapes: Green burial sites are carefully selected to preserve and protect natural landscapes. These burial grounds are often natural woodlands, meadows, or dedicated sections of existing cemeteries that prioritize land conservation and ecosystem preservation.

The Benefits of Green Burials

1. Environmental Preservation

Traditional burial practices often involve the use of embalming fluids containing toxic chemicals that can seep into the soil and groundwater. Green burial eliminates this risk and helps protect ecosystems by allowing the body to naturally decompose and enrich the soil.

2. Reduced Carbon Footprint

Green burials have a significantly lower carbon footprint compared to conventional burials that involve resource-intensive processes and materials. By avoiding the use of concrete, metals, and synthetic chemicals, green burial reduces the overall impact on the environment.

3. Connection with Nature

Green burial emphasizes our interconnectedness with nature and fosters a sense of harmony with the environment. Choosing a green burial site allows individuals and families to find solace in serene, natural landscapes, providing a more meaningful and peaceful resting place for their loved ones.

4. Emotional and Spiritual Benefits

A green burial can offer a sense of closure and peace to grieving families. Being able to participate in the burial process, such as wrapping the deceased in a shroud or helping dig the grave, can also provide a profound sense of connection and healing to those left behind.

The Future of Green Burials

As society becomes more aware of the environmental impact of traditional burial practices, the interest in green burials continues to grow. Many countries are beginning to establish green burial sites and regulations to accommodate this emerging trend. Some places have even repurposed land specifically for green burials, allowing individuals to choose a final resting place that aligns with their values and connects them to nature.

In 2023, Lawnstarter developed a ranking of the best states for green burials, based on four categories: access to green burial locations, financial advantage (over cremation or traditional burial), funeral homes specializing in natural burials, and demand, among 18 total metrics.Here are the five best (and five worst) states for green burials from the report:

Best States for Green Burials
Rank State
1 California
2 North Carolina
3 Ohio
4 Pennsylvania
5 Massachusetts
Worst States for Green Burials
Rank State
1 Alaska
2 Nebraska
3 Montana
4 Delaware
5 Wyoming

See where your state ranks and check out key findings from the report here.

Best states for green burials

Green burial represents a mindful and compassionate approach to saying goodbye to our loved ones while simultaneously honoring the environment.

By embracing simplicity, conserving natural resources, and preserving natural landscapes, green burial offers a sustainable alternative to traditional burial practices. As we strive to live in harmony with nature, this eco-friendly end-of-life option allows us to leave a lasting legacy that nurtures the Earth and reminds us of our interconnectedness with the cycle of life!


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