Increasing numbers of people are choosing green funerals as their final act of protecting the earth. An environmentally conscious funeral helps reduce the huge amount of natural resources and harmful chemicals used annually in the funeral industry. Suggestions for earth-friendly creative funerals include:
1. Choose not to embalm. Avoiding the chemicals used in traditional embalming prevents harmful fluid contamination of the earth.
2. Decide on a casket that saves the planet's resources and breaks down naturally. There are many earth-friendly options including wicker, bamboo, paper mache and cardboard.
3. Consider a dedicated green cemetery that offers shallow, hand-dug internment in biodegradable caskets, without the use of concrete vaults. The cemetery should promote earth sustaining practices including natural landscaping and zero chemical use in grounds maintenance.
4. Choose green cremation as an alternative to burial. Low emission facilities that reduce the process' impact on the environment are becoming more commonly available.
5. Request that wreath and flower memorials be replaced by donations to charity.
6. Mark a burial location with a natural, hand-engraved stone. Other green marker choices are sustainable sourced wood, leather, paper or vellum.
7. Choose a burial spot within five miles of the home of the deceased. This reduces fossil fuel use by mourners attending a graveside service. It also impacts the amount of energy consumed during future visits.
8. Use electronic communications to announce plans for a memorial or graveside service. Choosing one of the free funeral programs available on the Internet lets a family send out the program by email, saving paper, ink and postal delivery resources.
9. Decide on a natural burial site on private land. This gives a family the alternative of honoring their loved one by digging the final resting place. A private, natural location also keeps site maintenance fossil fuel consumption to a minimum.
10. Mark a loved one's gravesite with shrubs, trees or flower plantings and use global positioning satellite co-ordinates to find the site, instead of a traditional headstone.
The deceased's place of residence and burial-place are often determining factors for some of the choices available for a natural funeral. Check with local and state agencies so that arrangements comply with all laws and ordinances. A green funeral offers a responsible choice that honors last wishes, while positively impacting the future of the earth.