Natural burial, or “green burial” as it is commonly called, is the way human communities have buried their dead since time immemorial. Honoring the dead, and showing our respect for loved ones by lovingly returning their bodies to the earth from which we all come, is an instinctively human act. In other words, it’s the natural thing for us to do.
It is only in the past few generations (and only in North America) that a funeral industry has arisen to create new “customs” which cut us off from the natural cycle of life and death. Embalming, ornate sealed caskets, mausoleums and concrete bunkers – all of which are highly profitable – are also highly unnatural. Such practices desecrate our environment while perpetuating the modern illusion that we are, and somehow can remain, separate from the natural world. They deny us a healthy relationship with the natural cycle of life and death.
The green burial movement seeks to reclaim our natural way of burial, while at the same time helping to reverse the environmental destruction created by the modern funeral industry and its practices. Learn more about natural burial at Green Burial Council and Wikipedia: Natural Burial. Learn more about how people are reclaiming traditional family and community funeral practices at http://homefuneralalliance.org/.
You may know Mark Harris as the author of “Grave Matters: A Journey Through the Modern Funeral Industry to a Natural Way of Burial.” Well here’s a nice new article by Mark, largely about a woman who, much like me, had something of an “a-ha” moment at her father’s funeral. I’ve met, or spoken to, … Continue reading Nice New Article by Mark Harris
It’s official! Spring Grove Cemetery in Cincinnati, Ohio — one of the nation’s oldest and most respected cemeteries — is opening a green burial section this summer. I’m particularly excited since this is taking place just miles from my home, and also because I’ve had the chance to offer some ideas and resources to … Continue reading Green Burial Now Available at Spring Grove Cemetery!
I look forward to checking out this new land conservation natural burial location just outside Asheville, N.C., later this month. I am particularly impressed that the folks operating this burial sanctuary are part of a larger project that includes “home funerals” (http://ceolt.org/) in a holistic approach to end-of-life, and that they worked closely with Billy … Continue reading New Green Burial Locations Popping Up All Over
There’s a lot of misinformation out there about natural burial. Some of it is promulgated by the funeral industry; some of it is simply urban legend or erroneous but commonly held ideas. Let’s explode some myths: MYTH number 1: The law requires a concrete burial vault. Not true. Most conventional cemeteries do have this as a … Continue reading Exploding some myths about green burial
So you’re fairly new to this green burial thing, and eager to learn more — but don’t want to get bogged down in doing lots of research… Get up to speed in 15 minutes by reading and / or watching (there are different learning styles, after all!) the following: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/how-to-die-green_us_5630cbabe4b00aa54a4bf36c https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/green-burials-are-on-the-rise-as-baby-boomers-plan-for-their-future-and-funerals/2014/10/06/d269cfbc-3eae-11e4-b03f-de718edeb92f_story.html https://www.facebook.com/HuffingtonPost/videos/10153696363246130/ … Continue reading Learn a lot in 15 minutes!
Ten years after millions of others mourned the passing of Six Feet Under I was hugging my knees and bawling like a baby [hey — WAIT — is there a statute of limitations on spoiler alerts? — is a decade long enough not to worry about spoiling things for someone — oh, what the heck — just … Continue reading R.I.P. Six Feet Under
Just a few miles east of the concrete jungle that is downtown Atlanta rests a lush, diverse ecosystem known as Honey Creek Woodlands. Roughly 600 people also rest peacefully there, in their final resting place — in one of Atlanta’s best-kept secrets — a natural burial sanctuary that encompasses nearly 1,000 acres of stunning beauty. … Continue reading Atlanta’s Secret Sanctuary: Honey Creek Woodlands
…from the Huffington Post! http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/how-to-die-green_5630cbabe4b00aa54a4bf36c
October has been quite a month for me. It began with a trip to California for the biennial conference of the National Home Funeral Alliance (http://homefuneralalliance.org), a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people reconnect with more traditional (and meaningful) practices in caring for the dead and dying. Did you know that it’s perfectly legal almost … Continue reading A Death Cafe, Death Doulas and a Dedication
There’s something a bit surreal about walking through the woods, looking for the place where you will be buried. In most respects, it’s just like any other late-afternoon hike in the woods – peaceful, relaxing, away-from-it-all – the only sound, that of crickets, birds, and a lone frog. But there’s also that heightened awareness — spiritual … Continue reading Finding My Place
I’ve visited a lot of natural burial locations this year, but there are three that simply stand out — and I want to lift them up for you in the following REVIEWS OF TOP GREEN BURIAL SITES: I don’t think you can get a much better recommendation from someone than “I want to be buried … Continue reading Bill’s Top Three
As many of you know, Foxfield Preserve was the original conservation natural burial location in Ohio. Its current steward, Sara Brink, writes a monthly blog about Foxfield titled “The Green Reaper,” which I highly recommend. Her August post was particularly moving, and offers an insight into the experience of a natural burial, both from the … Continue reading A Moving Green Burial Testimonial
Many people who, like me, live in and around Cincinnati have asked me where they can be buried naturally here in the Tri-State (Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky, for those of you who aren’t familiar with our area). Here is a brief list of natural burial sites in the Tri-State: Ohio’s oldest — and greenest — … Continue reading Tri-State Burial Areas
As summer winds down, in addition to a natural burial reading list (see “Summer Reading List”), I want to offer you a summer movie list as well. Though these titles will almost certainly be a little more difficult to come by than the books I reviewed previously, they are well worth the effort to track … Continue reading Summer Movie List
I know there are only a few weeks of summer left, but if you’re headed to the beach (or the mountains, or just to your favorite reading chair), here are some books you might consider taking along. They are certainly discussion-starters, and each is a must-read for anyone interested in natural burial or reforming the … Continue reading Summer Reading List
Lately, I’ve been spending a lot of time in cemeteries. Cemeteries, of all kinds. Since I’m a minister, you might consider that to be pretty normal – but my cemetery-going this year has not been professional in nature. It has, instead, been because of nature. Nature with a capital “N.” I have been on sabbatical since … Continue reading The Natural Way