Organising a green funeral
For today’s carbon fast, we’re taking a look at green funerals.
The suggestion readers “Though it may be challenging to contemplate, think about greening your “final arrangements.””
A green funeral is something I think about from time to time. I’ve been contemplating how, as someone who advocates living lightly on the earth, it would seem pretty hypocritical to chop down an oak tree or use rare tropical hard woods to bury me in, embalm me in formaldehyde and other toxic chemicals and then set fire to me or have a great slab of precious rock with my name engraved in it. I’d probably consume more carbon footprint during my funeral than my last year of life!
In addition, I really don’t want my daughter having to spend a small fortune on giving me a good send off. The average funeral in the UK costs £2000 and to be honest, I think Little Miss Green might have a better way to spend her money!
If it was legal I’d like a sky burial; this seems to be the most fitting way to end my days – I’d like to be left out in a field next to my home, down by the stream, for animals and nature to take from me what they need. It would be a fantastic way to ‘give back’ to Mother Nature for all she has provided for me.
As that is not legal I guess the next best thing is to be thrown in a hole (in a cardboard or willow coffin if you must; but something thin enough to rot down quickly) and then plant a tree or vegetable garden over me. Again I can give back to the earth and continue the cycle of life.
Again, I’m not sure about the law of burying someone on your own land; I think you have to be buried in a designated place. So that leaves a woodland burial in a green burial grounds. The environment of green burial grounds are kept as wild and as natural as possible. Memorials and headstones are generally not permitted, but often memorial trees can be planted to mark the grave.
I once saw a film where the tradition was to send the dead out to sea in a boat. When the boat was a good distance away, the family shot blazing arrows at the boat and it all caught fire. It seems a waste to burn all that good flesh, but it was moving and beautiful…
What about you? Do you have thoughts about a green funeral?
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