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Be Environmentally Friendly In This Life And The Next

Traditional Cemetery



It's possible to be eco-friendly in this life and the next, with "green," or, "natural" burials.

Bob Butz, author of "Going Out Green," describes them as burials that are personal, inexpensive, formaldehyde-free and environmentally responsible.

Butz researched them after reflecting on his father's funeral -- especially what he described as the dolled-up deceased, the thick wooden casket and the dreary cemetery. He decided that's not how he wanted to go and growing numbers agree.

Ten years ago, only one so-called "natural burial preserve" operated in the United States. Today there are 15. In Australia, one preserve performs upright burials to save space! Here the body is prepared for burial without chemical preservatives and is buried with a simple shroud or biodegradable casket.

Outlandish?

Not when each cremation pumps about 110 pounds of greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere. Then consider China, where cremation's the law. Or India where Hindu cremations consume 50 million trees annually, releasing eight million tons of carbon dioxide.

Standard ground burials fare worse. One study says when years of lawn maintenance get factored in, carbon emissions from cemeteries outpace even cremation.

So consider reclaiming your final chapter with an earth-friendly burial.

Script by Gail Davis

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