August 11, 2008

Even Death Isn’t Zero Impact.

The Lion King made it seem so simple. Someone dies, their body decomposes. Plants grow on the newly fertilized soil. Simba defeats his evil plotting uncle and Elton John sings while rain replenishes the Serengeti Plains. But no, we humans need to stick our opposable thumbs into everything, even the circle of life.

Each year, Americans bury nearly a million gallons of chemical embalming fluids along with our dead. Every ten acres of cemetery land contains almost a thousand tons of steel caskets, 20,000 tons of concrete vaults and enough casket wood to build more than 40 homes. Plus, chemical lawncare sprays tons of pesticides and herbicides onto miles of irrigated, plush lawns. Instead of returning our dead to the land, we’re killing the earth in our effort to remember them.

Enter the Green Burial Conference, coming to Boulder this October. Natural Transitions, the sponsoring organization, provides resources for eco-friendly burials (did you know that in Colorado, you can file a death certificate and bury your own dead without the help of a funeral home?). Their home funeral guides also help to plan ceremonies and make arrangements, leaving the family members more space and time to grieve.

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Peter Masak Jul 31, 2014 4:27am

A step, not only in the right direction, but all the way in is named Promession. Maybe you could read some more on internet about this viable Circle of Life burial option.
Peter Masak

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Merete Mueller

Merete is a writer and filmmaker, and was once-upon-a-time the Managing Editor of elephant journal’s print incarnation, from 2006-2008. Today, you can find her on Twitter @meretemueller and on her blog To The Bones. Her first documentary, “TINY: A Story About Living Small”, about people who have downsized their lives into homes the size of a parking space, premiered at SXSW in March 2013.