Eco funeral alternatives that allow you rest in harmony with the Earth
My mother wants to be composted when she dies. Not just in a figurative “give my body to the Earth” way, but in a way that befits someone whose passion for gardening knows no bounds.
Her final act will be to produce the lushest crop of tomatoes and zucchini her garden and this world has ever seen. I’m not entirely sure what the health department will make of this request, but my mother doesn’t care. She’ll be dead.
As the Baby Boomers enter their twilight years and begin to consider the details of their demise, it’s no surprise that this enterprising generation are pushing the boundaries when it comes to their funerals. And with the environment front and centre of society’s conscience, many are planning their funerals with future generations in mind.
“There’s a global movement towards green burial,” says Zenith Virago, death consultant and president of the Natural Death Centre Australia in Byron Bay.
Getting “laid to rest” is a two part process. There is preparing you and there is the ground you go into. Yesterday I covered the ground you go into part with Roselawn Cemetery which is a dated term I suppose but it is what I know. Today we take a look at the services that get you there. Jenn Bormann is with Butler Funeral Home and she was at Earth Awareness Fest with Clada Parker. They had with them a woven willow casket complete with a basket style top and an optional silk liner. Wow is all I can say. A casket you could leak out of, that is a very winning concept! Sorry I probably wasn’t supposed to say that but I am a loud mouth sometimes. Anyway I found this story about them in the SJR and I will put up their website as well. I did not want to just copy text from their website, because that is way to commercial for this nonprofit.
Not only is it possible to go green. Among the newer trends in the funeral home business is going out green.
BUTLER FUNERAL HOMES and ROSELAWN MEMORIAL PARK of Springfield have obtained certification from the national Green Burial Council for sustainable funeral and cemetery practices, eco-friendly products and even organic snacks at the wake.
Butler is getting in early on the green-certification trend as far as central Illinois goes, but president Chris Butler said he expects others to follow.
“Some of this includes elements people are already asking for. They just don’t call it ‘green,’” Butler said of practices that include non-toxic embalming fluids or no embalming at all, using only natural stone, limiting loss of natural habitat, biodegradable caskets, burial shrouds instead of caskets and use of renewable products.
Butler Funeral Homes Inc. is among the city’s older businesses. Forerunner funeral homes date to 1893.
The Earth Awareness Fair was this last weekend and I should be reporting on that. But these two women were there, Clada Parker and Jenn Bormann. They are with Roselawn Memorial Park and Butler Funeral home respectively. I am going to do Roselawn today and Butler tomorrow. I just love these guys. They had a woven basket casket with an optional silk liner with them on Saturday. But they have so many options it is real exciting. This is their Facebook page and their website:
I am happy to report that the answer is finally, YES!
The Green Burial Council in California recently approved Roselawn Memorial Park for green burials. You can now be buried in Illinois without a casket, without embalming, without anything but a shroud if you want.
I do not personally think that a green burial ground has to be approved by the Green Burial Council, but they have some strict standards that make sense, and their mission is great. In a previous life, I worked in the architectural world, and saw first-hand what it was like dealing with the logistics of becoming LEED certified, and know how hard it can be. Additionally, it is very expensive to become “Certified Organic”. I think it’s worthwhile to recognize any cemetery or burial product willing to become more natural, and I will support any company that tries to be better.
Here is their information. They do not seem to have a working website yet. I will keep you posted and update after I contact them directly.
Roselawn Memorial Park – Hybrid Cemetery
924 South 6th Street
Springfield IL 62703
I can barely post today I am so wracked with grief. 19 years is longer than I have been with anyone. I could tell you stories. When I lived in New Orleans it was our “vacation lamp”. So for 12 years in a row no matter what else it did it was on for two weeks solid in all kinds of weather. It wasn’t even supposed to be an outdoor lamp. But I put it there anyway. It kept watch over my dieing wife in her final days with it’s softwhite light. Lately it has been in the basement in our laundry room. A retirement home of sorts, where it only had to shine once in awhile.
Who CARES if Michael Jackson’s died? I want my light bulb back! Sob… It just sort of flickered this morning and then it went out…in memorial:
25-watt bulb replaces standard 100-watt incandescent bulbs
Cool, white lighting for bright illumination
Up to 10,000 hours of burn time
Consumes 70 to 75 percent less energy than standard incandescent bulb
Starting temperature as low as -22 degrees F for reliable outdoor lighting
From the Manufacturer
Pansonic Energy Efficient long lasting compact fluorescent lamp suitable for indoor / outdoor operation. Replaces standard incandescent 120V light bulbs. Over 70%-75% saving energy cost compared to standard incandescent bulb and 10,000 hours long life compared to 1,000 hours of standard incandescent bulb. Available in two designer color: Warm Color or Cool Color. Energy Star Standard. Note: Not suitable for use with dimming circuit, sensor, or photocell devices.
From the Manufacturer
This 25-watt, Panasonic fluorescent bulb burns bright indoors and out, replacing standard incandescent 120-volt light bulbs for a 70 to 75-percent energy savings. The bulb offers 10,000 hours of brilliant cool lighting compared to the 1,000 hours you get from standard incandescent bulbs. Available in two designer colors, warm and cool, this bulb is not suitable for use with dimming circuit, sensor, or photocell devices.
Product Dimensions: 3.8 x 3.8 x 5.3 inches ; 6.4 ounces
Shipping Weight: 9 ounces
Shipping: Currently, item can be shipped only within the U.S.
California residents:Click here for Proposition 65 warning.
The light from the bulb is excellent, the warm light feels like day light, while the Verilux daylight really feels too strong on the blue spectrum to me, at least I don’t see the same color under the sun light.The Panasonic bulb is great except it takes a while to reach full brightness(like 20 sec. or so). and it starts very dim. The 15w looks like a 20w. incandlescent for the first 5 sec. if you have not turned on the light for a while(10 minutes). which might annoy some people. Yet I don’t have problem with other bulb flourscent light with such a long delay such as Verilux.
Kind of made him sound like a dim bulb but he was brighter than I.
I have heard of sleeping with the fishes but how would you like to be turned into a reef. Help the sea, help the sea life and help the environment in general. Kind of hard for relatives to visit but I guess they give you photos:
A company is marketing a service for those who want to help the environment in the afterlife, or forever be part of the memories at a sports stadium. They are offering a burial service that is supposed to be an environmentally friendly and less expensive alternative to traditional burials.
How is it done? Cremated remains are mixed into the concrete used to make so-called reef balls that it places at sites along the U.S. East Coast.
Those interested in helping build a reef in a body of water don’t have to wait until they die, said Eternal Reefs CEO George Frankel.
“Not at all, but when you do, it is a great way to help the bay,“ Frankel said.
The concept developed from reef-building efforts by the Reef Ball Foundation, which has placed more than a half-million of the concrete domes worldwide. Many want to mark a birth or other special occasion, while others simply want to foster underwater life. A memorial reef ball costs between $2,495 and $6,495, although the cost of cremation is not included, he said.
The Chesapeake Bay site on the U.S. East Coast where eight of the memorials were placed earlier this month, for example, already has about 600 put there by a variety of groups and organizations above the rubble from Memorial Stadium, the former home of the Baltimore Orioles baseball team in Maryland.
The burial service is one of a growing number of funeral alternatives ranging from having your ashes launched into space, compressed into a diamond or buried in a biodegradable urn. In the waters off Miami, the Neptune Memorial Reef offers an underwater burial place for cremated remains, as well as an attraction for divers who can swim among its gates, paths and statuary.
Sylvia Rennick of Kings Mountain, North Carolina, said the idea of her son’s memorial helping the Chesapeake Bay appealed to her more than a traditional cemetery plot.
“You’re around live things, it’s not all dead,“ Rennick said before her son’s memorial was lowered by crane onto the reef under sunny skies as family members threw flowers into the bay and read poems.
Afterward, she said the crew gave another of her sons the chart location of the site and he planned to visit it when he went fishing.
The Reef Ball Foundation is a 501(c) 3 publicly supported non-profit and international environmental NGO working to rehabilitate marine reefs.
Our mission is to rehabilitate our world’s oceanreef ecosystems and to protect our natural reef systems using Reef Ball artificial reef technologies. Reef Balls are artificial reef modules placed in the ocean to form reef habitat.
We have placed Reef Balls™ in 59+ countries and our projects have a global reach of 70+ countries. We have conducted over 3,500 projects and deployed over 1/2 million Reef Balls.
Our projects include designed artificial reefs, ground breaking coral propagation and planting systems, estuary restoration, red mangrove plantings, oyster reef restoration, erosion control (often beach erosion), and expert collaberation on a variety of oceanic issues.
We work with governments, other NGOs, businesses, schools, research institutes, private individuals and community organizations and emphasize education on preserving and protecting our natural reefs.
Eternal Reefs began simply. In the late 1980’s a pair of college roommates from the University of Georgia often went diving off the Keys in Florida on breaks. Over the years of diving they saw significant deterioration and degradation of the reefs they were visiting. Don Brawley, founder of Eternal Reefs realized the reefs needed help. A decision was made to do something about the reefs’ declining health.
Once the friends were out of school they began to talk about what contributions they could make that would help protect and restore these fragile eco-systems. Creating a material and system that would replicate the natural marine environment that supports coral and microorganism development was what they decided to do. And thus the concept of the Reef Ball was formed – to directly rehabilitate and rebuild the dying reefs and to add new habitat to the marine environment.
They faced two primary design challenges. Stability would be crucial. The design needed to be capable of absorbing and dissipating energy in the marine environment without moving. It would need to withstand not just the normal tidal and current flows, but also major storms and the dynamic energy impacts that accompany them.
In 1990, the Reef Ball Development Group and the Reef Ball Foundation completed the first Reef Ball project near Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Since that time, there have been over 3,500 projects worldwide with more than 400,000 Reef Balls placed on the ocean floor. With years of documented history of stability and habitat development, Reef Balls have become the world standard for fisheries programs, coral restoration and habitat development projects.
In 1998, Carleton Glen Palmer, Don Brawley’s father-in-law, talked about having his cremated remains put in a reef. As Carleton put it, “I can think of nothing better than having all that action going on around me all the time after I am gone – just make sure that the location has lots of red snapper and grouper.” Shortly after Carleton made this request, he passed away.
The Neptune Memorial Reef project is the largest man made reef ever conceived and provides an extraordinary living resting place for the departed, an environmental and ecological masterpiece, a superb laboratory for marine biologists, students, researchers and ecologists, and an aesthetically exquisite, world-class destination for visitors from all walks of life.