Being eco-friendly doesn't have to stop at death, and if you value being environmentally-friendly while you're alive, you might want to consider how to have a green burial once you pass. The growing green burial movement is steadily gaining ground, but for many people, discussions about burials are still kind of 'out there', and not something that most of us bother to think about until we have to.
Traditional burial practices in the developed world are responsible for using huge amounts of resources, ranging from the materials used for coffins and vaults to the chemicals used to preserve bodies to the resources necessary to maintain huge grassy cemetery plots.
And in a world with an exploding population, we need to consider that every single person will not only eat and use energy, but will also die and require some sort of burial that doesn't take a huge toll on the environment.
"In the U.S. alone, approximately 33 million board feet of mostly virgin wood, 60,000 tons of steel, 1.6 million tons of reinforced concrete, and 5 million gallons of toxic embalming fluid are put in to the ground every year."
There are plenty of off-the-wall green burial ideas, such as composting the bodies, dissolving them with lye, burying them in a pod under a tree, or going with a traditional sky burial, but for the most part, green burials resemble traditional ones in many ways, and aren't nearly as strange as one might think.
The green burial documentary A Will For The Woods might be a great introduction to not only eco-friendly burials, but also about beginning to talk frankly about death, and our connection with, and responsibility to, the natural world.
"What if our last act could be a gift to the planet? Determined that his final resting place will benefit the earth, musician, psychiatrist, and folk dancer Clark Wang prepares for his own green burial while battling lymphoma. The spirited Clark and his partner Jane, boldly facing his mortality, embrace the planning of a spiritually meaningful funeral and join with a compassionate local cemeterian to use green burial to save a North Carolina woods from being clear-cut." - A Will For The Woods