For millennia, humans wrapped their departed loved ones in a simple shroud and a plain wooden box and returned them to the earth. This type of burial is natural and environmentally clean.
In the last century, the funeral industry has encouraged people to purchase expensive concrete vaults, coffins made from exotic hardwoods, and developed embalming chemicals using known carcinogens. The manufacture and transport of these materials puts significant carbon in the atmosphere and leaves a legacy of environmental degradation. Cremation also requires a significant carbon output.
Certified green burials are becoming more and more popular as we realize that our final decisions can leave a positive legacy for the planet. A certified conservation cemetery uses internment fees for further conservation and restoration of land. Traditional cemeteries must use fees for irrigation, fertilizer, and lawn mowing. Green cemeteries often look more like natural landscapes, and they usually allow public access.
Most conservation cemeteries do not have headstones, but rather a wall or an area where names can be listed. Sites are located via GPS, so that family members can return to the burial spot.
This type of burial is what nature intended. We return the carbon in our bodies to the soil in the land that nurtured us.
The Summit Land Conservancy is actively pursuing a location for conservation burial in Summit County. Our vision is a public access sanctuary, where people can also be buried. If you’d like to help, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cheryl Fox, Summit Land Conservancy