Sunday, December 30, 2007

Green Funerals

Everyone knows that the funeral industry takes advantage of people when they are grieving and clearly vulnerable. In most states the laws regulating funerals have been written by lobbyists for the organizations of funeral directors, and they stipulate processes and products designed protect the monopoly and guarantee profits. A careful consumer might wonder why funerals are so expensive and why there are so few options. In most cases about the only decision the family gets to make is which casket (coffin) to purchase, and even the least expensive are still obscenely over-priced. Everything in the funeral extravaganza has a hefty price tag.

Embalming is an unnecessary expense. Why, in this age of refrigeration, does a corpse need to be embalmed? It’s necessary because the funeral industry says its necessary, and their paid lackeys, our legislators, made it a law. In many states there is a requirement to have a cement box to place the casket in? Why? It’s just one more way that funeral directors can pick pockets – and hide behind the law while they do it. And remember, the “law” came from them because most legislators don’t have the foggiest notion about what should comprise a proper burial or why.

Missouri recently had a court case in which funeral directors were forced to agree to allow individuals not licensed as funeral directors to sell caskets. They had a sweet monopoly going until they hit that speed bump!

But the funeral industry is about to face a significant threat to its monopolistic posture and greed. The concept of “Green Funerals” has gotten a foothold in several states, and the movement appears to be spreading. Green Funerals will not only save grief-stricken consumers money, they also offer the benefit of helping the environment.

Green Funerals are eco-friendly events that basically offer the dearly departed up as compost. The corpse is not embalmed, and the burial container might be a homemade casket, or, in some cases, biodegradable containers made out of recycled newspaper. The family might even choose to plant a tree over the grave so that the deceased might feed life into a growing monument.

When my time comes, I hope that my children honor my wishes and plant me in a green manner. I don’t care where I am buried, but I want the peace of mind of knowing that, even in death, I am providing an on-going benefit to others.

Anonymous said it best:

Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow;
I am the diamond glints on the snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain;
I am the gentle autumn's rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft star that shines at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry.
I am not there, I did not die.


Anonymous said...

A very brief google tonight seems to show there are no eco-friendly burials possible yet in Arizona.

If you know of any, or wanted to update your post, that would be very nice.


Don said...

What a wonderful suggestion. In most states, as soon as the death certificate is issued, the deceased must be "turned over" to the death authorities.

I, too, would consider this.