What is a Green Funeral?
Webster’s online dictionary defines the word “green” (as it pertains to products and services) as “not harmful to the environment.” A green funeral (also known as a natural funeral, eco-funeral or environmentally-friendly funeral) is generally any end-of-life ritual that is as harmless as possible for the environment. This can include burial in a green or “natural” cemetery. At death – the final rite of passage – we use ritual to celebrate, honor and preserve the memory of a life. Many environmentally-conscious families today seek a mix of traditional and green funeraloptions. aGreenFuneral.org was created to help you learn more about the subject, and if you choose, help you to plan a greener funeral for yourself or a loved one. For more information on green or natural burial one can also visit funerals.org.
Modern eco-funerals (also known as green funerals, natural funerals, eco-friendly funerals or environmentally-friendly funerals) are old and new at the same time. End-of-life rituals, including funerals and memorial services, are among the most significant practices of every culture on earth. These rituals have evolved over thousands of years of human history. Many of the practices associated with greener funerals, such as shrouds, have long been in use by some groups.
Eco Funerals – A Cultural Context
Greener funeral practices are often compatible with the traditions of the major religions. Judaism and Islam, for example, have traditionally called for shrouds or simple wooden caskets and no embalming. Hinduism and Buddhism allow cremation, while traditional Catholicism, Judaism and Islam do not. Consult with your spiritual leader to see which greener or eco-funeral rituals honor your religious tradition.
A Smaller Footprint
The essence of a greener funeral is reducing its environmental impact. Many people find that in doing so they also make the funeral more natural and meaningful for the mourners. Among the options for a greener funeral are: DIRECT BURIAL A quick or “direct” burial without a viewing or visitation service. A quick burial, which is the norm in many cultures, eliminates the need for preserving the body, but the burial may still be accompanied by a funeral or memorial service. If you wish a viewing, the body can be refrigerated instead of embalmed with toxic chemicals. If refrigeration isn’t available, ice or dry ice can be used to preserve the body until burial.