Sunday, September 27, 2009

Dying to Be Green

Mere mortals we are. Let's face it. We're all going to die sometime. But being embalmed with formaldehyde, a carcinogen that seeps into the groundwater, is not a comforting thought. Nor are impermeable caskets that don't biodegrade and cemeteries of land cleared of vegetation, wrecking the ecosystem. Even cremation, a Buddhist tradition, releases carbon emissions and produces mercury (from all those amalgam fillings in our teeth).

So what's a dead body to do? Have no fear, the Green Burial Council is here.

One such burial ground can be found through the Wisconsin-based Trust for Natural Legacies. Instead of manicured lawns and tombstones, flora and fauna abound. GPS coordinates help friends and families navigate the terrain so they can locate loved ones amid the beauty and splendor of a pristine environment.

Much like the "spirit forests" of tribal Borneo, where the dead are left on hallowed ground, a Ramsey Creek burial lays to rest the deceased in a 32 acre nature preserve.

Leading the movement worldwide with more than 200 green burial grounds, the U.K. has designs on land preservation where funds for green burials (which are half the cost of conventional ones) are funneled back into conservation. Go for the green hereafter. Be all that you can be. Be a tree!

Not dead yet? Take the deconstructive approach. An unused but unusable coffin couch. Recycle yo'self.