Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What are the benefits of a green cemetery over a traditional cemetery?
  2. Is a conservation easement important when considering a green burial?
  3. Is cremation an environmentally sound option?
  4. Where can I find green/natural cemeteries in the United States?

What are the benefits of a green cemetery over a traditional cemetery?

Clearly we see problems at older "traditional" cemeteries.  Many have few or no trees, in others, the grounds have been destroyed through the use of herbicides.  Drainage problems can occur and herbicide use leads to water pollution.

Cemeteries can play an important social and environmental role.  2.2 million acres were lost to development according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation report issued for 1997 through 2001.  Everyday, development is taking over the natural environments created over eons.  A natural burial takes place in a natural environment where native flora and wildlife flourish. A green cemetery provides habitat for endemic birds and animals, returning lands to their native grasses, flowers and shrubs.  

A green burial reduces environmental impact and conservation easements preserve our open spaces, important not only to plants and wildlife…we find serenity when close to nature.  Interment in a beautiful and natural setting honors those we love.

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Is a conservation easement important when considering a green burial?

It is important to conserve our natural landscapes before they disappear completely by encroaching development.  Conservation easements can ensure that no further development will be allowed on the land, as all future owners of the land would be bound by the easement.   The land can be forever protected.

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Is cremation an environmentally sound option?

There are air pollution issues caused by cremation, even the fillings in our teeth contribute to the mercury in the atmosphere.  Older burners have been replaced by double burners which burn off many pollutants, however cremation releases dioxin, hydrochloric acid, hydrofluoric acid, sulphur dioxide and carbon dioxide. Many don't realize, but cremation requires a container.  Choosing simple unlined coffins without chipboard and plastics can help reduce pollution.  

Interesting ideas have recently been developed to deal with cremated remains.

www.eternalreefs.com - Eternal Reefs Inc. is the only company to offer underwater burial at sea in artificial reefs.  By mixing cremated remains with concrete, these artificial reefs provide a lasting environmentally friendly memorial for families and individuals that choose cremation.

The number one reason people have chosen cremation?  It is less expensive than a traditional burial (which with a service can be more than $7000).  Many more companies are offering bio-degradable urns than just a decade ago, please see links for cremation urns.

A natural burial in a green cemetery is an affordable cremation alternative.  Families do not have to incur the cost of caskets, embalming, or burial vaults and green burials do not contribute pollutants to the atmosphere.

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Where can I find green cemeteries in the United States?

GreenSprings Natural Cemetery - 93 acres in New York, opened in 2006 - www.naturalburial.org

Forever Fernwood - 32 acres in California, opened in 2004 - www.foreverfernwood.com

Glendale Memorial Nature Preserve - Memorial Ecosystems has 350 acres in Florida. Opened in 2002   - www.glendalenaturepreserve.org
 
Ramsey Creek Preserve - Memorial Ecosystems has 32 acres in South Carolina. Opened in 1996 - www.memorialecosystems.com
 
White Eagle Memorial Preserve - 20 acre cemetery is set within 1300 wild acres - www.naturalburialground.com
 
Foxfield Preserve - 43 acres in Ohio - www.foxfieldpreserve.org
 
Honey Creek Woodlands - Georgia - www.honeycreekwoodlands.com
 
Eternal Rest Memories Park - Florida – www.eternalrest.com

Cedarbrook Burial Ground - Maine

Steelmantown Cemetery - New Jersey

Praire Wilderness Cemetery - Colorado (under construction currently)

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