This morning, I participated in an online seminar concerning topics that End-of-Life Doulas may discuss with their clients, and “green burials” came up. With so many industries turning their focus to doing business without doing harm, primarily to the environment, it’s no surprise that “going green” upon death would find its way into conversations about what should happen with corpses.
The brief discussion led me on a curiosity mission to learn more about what most of us think of when we hear the word “burial,” i.e., a hole in the ground where a body is laid.
First, there’s no embalming. That fluid, which acts as a chemical preservative, inhibits the natural microbial decomposition of a body; therefore, it is avoided.
Second, the casket (rectangular-shaped box) or the coffin (sloped-shoulder-shaped box) is made from natural wood, woven fibers (I pictured a Moses basket with a lid), or even a simple shroud.
Third, the US has over 300 public locations where this is possible, some even go a step further and include a conservation aspect to the burial.
Part of my work as an End-of-Life Doula is to provide my clients with options. As the Death Positive movement grows, so shall the burial options available to all of us.