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How a Funeral Helps With Grief
Planning Luncheons After Funerals
Environmentally Friendly Funerals
How Afterlife Beliefs Affect Funerals
Funerals for Famous People
Funerals Around The World
Funeral Director Licenses
An Important and Popular New Memorial Tradition that is Catching On
Having a green funeral is becoming an increasingly important concern for many people who are living their lives in an environmentally conscious manner. Fortunately, green funerals are a common part of today’s memorial industry. Here is a brief summary of what exactly having a green funeral entails along with some suggestions and ideas for staging your own green funeral for yourself or a loved one.
A green funeral only means that the planners exercised a heightened awareness of protecting the Earth. There are many who will opt for a green funeral who have otherwise all of the additional trappings, such as hymns, eulogies, a minister, pallbearers etc. Green funeral proponents do however make a few changes, and most of them have to do with burial. For example, green funeral advocates often support cremation. They will often say that by spreading their loved ones ashes, or burying them, it will not only allow them to replenish the earth, which nurtured them during their lives, it can even be looked upon as a kind of immortality as well. It is interesting to note that many individuals who partake in scattering the remains of a loved one, find great comfort in remembrances such as cremation ash urn jewelry and keepsake cremation ash urns. These small vessels can be used to hold a small portion of remains, and offer a permanent (albeit small) tribute to the life of the departed.
Other green funeral supporters will break from tradition with coffins that are either made of cardboard or wood, both heavily biodegradable materials. This has the same effect as cremation, and green funeral advocates will often point out that as opposed to non-biodegradable caskets, such as those made out of steel or bronze, a biodegradable casket eliminates the possibility of releasing potentially harmful chemicals, such as methane, into the ground. Still other green funeral proponents wonder why a casket is needed at all and will decide to go without one. Needless to say, for them a vault is out as well, as this only hinders the process of biodegrading so central to a green funeral. Most “green cemeteries” in fact, or cemeteries that only allow green burials, will not even allow vaults.
Green funeral advocates often share a general resistance to the idea of embalming as well. Embalming is a process said to make the departed’s appearance last for longer while underneath the ground, and green funeral supporters say that a more natural approach is often preferable. Green funeral planners will eliminate embalming and the risk of a possible release of chemicals as the body begins to deteriorate.
Many proponents of having a green funeral are also in support of having the funeral at home. This movement represents a definite departure from tradition, and it allows the officiate to ensure that the funeral is as green as he or she wants it to be, and that everything else is up to standard as well. The green thing about this type of funeral is that many of its supporters will also opt for cremation, and spread the ashes across their backyards. A longstanding tradition for both green funeral proponents and otherwise is to plant a tree for a loved one after he or she has died. Pouring your loved ones ashes at the base of a tree ensures that a small part of your loved one will live forever.
Green funeral proponents generally also insist upon using real flowers upon burial instead of fakes. This, green funeral supporters say, will keep nature with nature, and not introduce a foreign element into the cemetery. There has also been a heightened concern over traditional headstones among green funeral advocates. While some green funeral promoters prefer wooden or bamboo headstones, ones that want to preserve the style of a traditional headstone will often go with headstones made from plant composite materials. These headstones are available in a number of unique colors, such as pearl blue, red, green, and of course black and white. In addition to that, they often come with stained glass window like centers. Green funeral proponents are also pleased that these sorts of headstones do not require large amounts of rock to manufacture, as do their traditional counterparts.
Some green funeral proponents take burial a step further, and say that they do not wish to have a headstone at all. There are those green funeral supporters, such as the “woodlands movement” primarily in England, who would rather have their bodies buried in an unmarked grave, so that it may be reclaimed by nature, and not infringe upon it. They would no doubt say, “What is the point of people knowing where my body is? I am dead.” Even for green funeral advocates however, this is a bit extreme, and most will wind up with something more traditional than this.
To have a green funeral is no longer to be on the fringe, in part because it can be remarkably more affordable than a traditional funeral. The traditional funeral can cost more than $8000. In fact, some families have used their entire life insurance policy just so that they could afford the funeral. Green funeral supporters need never worry about this happening though, as their funerals can cost less than $1000. In these difficult economic times, there may be certain wisdom to a green funeral indeed. So here are a few pieces of advice if you decide to go with a green funeral.
First, make sure you talk to a funeral director who is informed on green funerals. You should not assume that all funeral directors, even all experienced ones know about green funerals. Since the movement is still fairly young, having only begun 30 years ago, it is conceivable that some funeral directors could have been educated prior to the green funeral movement, and even today has a complete ignorance of it. The Green Burial Council is a non-profit organization that has helped raise awareness to the harmful affects possible from traditonal burial or cremation, and offer a section on their website that can help find a green funeral provider in one's area.
Second, you should strive to become as informed as you can on the subject of having a green funeral. Read as much as you can on the subject, and if it is at all possible, talk to someone who buried their loved one(s) in a green funeral.
Third, you should make sure that you have a keen knowledge of the State and Federal laws surrounding burial in general and a green funeral in particular. In many cases, funeral directors can be very helpful; however you should be informed on the subject yourself as well.