The Green Goodbye
Greensprings Natural Cemetery, Finger Lakes, New York State
We have done this plot to death on TreeHugger (links at end), but all of the action has been in the UK or California. Now eco-friendly burials have come to the Northeast and Canada. For example, Greensprings Natural Cemetery opened in May, with 100 acres bounded by 4,000 acres of forest. A gravesite costs $ 500 bucks, a tenth of an uban Toronto cemetery plot. There have been four burials so far, two in biodegradable cardboard caskets, one in a coffin made from locally harvested pine, and one in a shroud. Several groups are trying to establish natural burial cemeteries in Ontario.
"Make your burial a statement of values by helping create a forest", says Mike Salisbury, one of the founders of the Natural Burial Coop, a group in southern Ontario. "If you're buried where roots grow through your bones, you're doing what you're supposed to do – give back in the end."
More from the Star:
This latest back-to-the-earth movement started in England about a dozen years ago, then spread to the United States, where four green cemeteries have blossomed, including one in upstate New York.
A green goodbye means no toxic embalming chemicals such as formaldehyde. That one is on the European Union's list for possible banning.
Coffins should be biodegradable; perhaps made from locally harvested wood, wicker or even recycled paper, perhaps decorated with good-bye messages from friends. "As long as the cardboard doesn't look cheap," warns [Ontario co-op founder] Salisbury, "like you're UPSing the guy to the afterlife." ::The Star
and many more.