Environmental awareness is at an all-time high. People are wanting to live a life with minimal impact on the environment which covers all aspects of life. One approach is to reduce your carbon footprint. This is the amount of carbon dioxide you generate during daily activities. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas. As we produce more carbon dioxide, we increase its concentration in our atmosphere which eventually contributes to global warming.
Choosing to live a life with a small carbon footprint is how some want to be memorialised once death occurs - through a green funeral.
A green, also known as a natural funeral, is a funeral with the intention of leaving as small of a carbon footprint as possible. This means:
In addition, the grave is dug to only 3 feet, instead of the traditional 6 to avoid the use of heavy earthmoving equipment.
Choosing a green funeral cuts down carbon emissions that would normally be used during a traditional funeral. There is no embalming process which means that none of the chemicals are then soaked into the earth, poisoning the earth and water ways.
Green cemeteries are located in bushland or forests, so landscaping is not needed which again reduces the carbon footprint.
You should consider a green funeral if:
Anyone can have a green funeral. If you are interested in a green funeral for yourself and have specific religious or cultural beliefs, it would be best to check with your family, community or religious leader to ensure that your wish to have a green funeral would be suitable to your faith.
If you are planning the funeral of a loved one, be sure to check any wills or testaments to see what kind of burial they have requested, before selecting a green funeral.
The average cost of a green burial in Australia can be more than a traditional cremation and less than a traditional or religious burial.
Usually, the cost of the funeral is the same, however as a there is not a need for a grave liner or burial vault, or a traditional marble headstone the cost can be reduced.
In order to have a green burial, an eco-friendly coffin or casket is required. They are made from recycled materials and break down at a much faster rate and are built in a way that is safe for the environment.
Eco-friendly coffins or caskets can be made of materials that include:
Depending on the regulations of the green cemetery, burial sites may have either a natural grave marker or none at all.
For cemeteries that allow grave markers, the use of natural formed elements is used to keep the land and environment as close to its natural state as possible. This means the grave markers will be made of naturally occurring stones/rocks, trees, flowers or bushes are some typical items used as markers.
For those cemeteries that don’t allow headstones at all, the ground will be carefully mapped out, sometimes with the use of satellites, so that friends and family are still able to find and visit their loved ones.
To ensure either you or your loved one have the greenest funeral possible, consider the following:
As with all funerals, funeral planning is an emotional and very personal task. If you decide that a green funeral is right for you, make sure your family knows about your decision and wishes.
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