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Archive for April 27th, 2009

Green burial

I co-led a Death and Dying workshop yesterday for the Maine Pagan Clergy Association. It went quite well I think. I did manage to go on quite a passionate rant about green burial. It is something I feel really strongly about. The issue for me is that my final act in the world, the disposal of my body, should be one of honor. I don’t see that embalming, which just fills the ground with pollution is honourable. Most caskets are filled with varnishes and synthetic materials. The head-stone and cement tomb in the ground are wasted resources as well. People will remember one’s grave site for as long as the memory of one’s self is in the consciousness of those we leave behind, as long as our story is still being told. The traditional burial with embalming, casket, and cement ground liner is a huge waste of resources, money included.

The average funeral in the States is more than $6500.00. That is more than three time Canada or Great Britain. Putting this burden on our loved ones is irresponsible as well as environmentally unsound. A green burial can be done for under $1000.00, most of the cost being the burial plot at a green cemetery. I want to be buried in a simple burial shroud of natural material and place in the ground without any environmentally unfriendly items. I have am trying to live a life honouring Nature, and trying to walk gently on the Earth. Death is completely natural so I want my burial to be natural. This final act should be one of simplicity.

Many people prefer to be cremated. To me this is also a dishonourable way of having our body disposed of. I don’t want my final act to be one of wasting more fossil fuel and polluting the air.

I feel that since I am a child of the Earth and I have spent my whole life taking from her, being fed, sheltered and clothed by her, the most honorable thing I can do is at least give back my body to the Earth so that the elements that make up my body are put back into the environment in a natural way. I want my body to decompose naturally and have it be nutrients for trees and plants. I want my body to be food for the next generation.

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Check out my friend Jim’s new Druidry blog. Jim is an excellent writer and passionate philosopher. A must read: http://druidry.radicalpolytics.org/

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