On the off chance I die before the next time I talk to Spouse

Excerpts f rom this article in the Chicago Tribune. My goal is to live until this comes to Illinois.

For growing ranks in U.S., preference to go out green

No embalming, no metal caskets, no vaults and, for some, a contribution to land conservation

By Kirsten Scharnberg

With his father’s death in mind, Campbell in 1998 decided to try to marry the multibillion-dollar U.S. funeral industry with the nation’s growing land conservation and environmental movements. On 38 acres in western South Carolina, he opened the first conservation burial ground in the United States, a stunningly beautiful stretch of woods, grassland and lush creek beds where people are buried with the simplicity of centuries past and where the proceeds go toward preserving and restoring the land.

Known as “green burial,” the concept, which is gaining popularity nationwide, essentially follows the religious pronouncement of “ashes to ashes, dust to dust.”

People are buried without embalming chemicals, their remains refrigerated or kept on dry ice to prevent decay before family viewings. Bodies are placed into the ground in simple pine or cardboard caskets that will quickly decompose, and some people choose to be buried in nothing more than a white cotton shroud or a beloved family quilt.

They further charge that enough metal goes into the production of caskets and burial vaults each year to rebuild the Golden Gate Bridge and that enough concrete is used on vaults to build a two-lane road from New York to Detroit.

Green burials often are significantly less expensive than traditional burials.

The National Funeral Directors Association estimates the average cost of a funeral to be about $6,500, a number that often is much higher after the costs of a burial plot, headstone and cemetery burial fees are included.

In contrast, burial at Ramsey Creek Preserve, a green cemetery in South Carolina, can be as low as about $3,600, including the price of the plot, burial fees and the $1,200 cost of working with a local funeral home for transport and refrigeration of the body before burial.

WOW — Frugal AND environmentally friendly. Where do I sign up???

Now, musical cue, Forest Lawn (I believe originally recorded by Tom Paxton)

Oh lay me down in Forest Lawn in a silver casket.
Put golden flowers over my head in a silver basket.
Let the drum and bugle corp blow taps while the cannons roar.
And sixteen liveried employees pass out souvenirs from the funeral store

I want to go simply when I go
They’ll give me a simple funeral there I know
With a casket lined in fleece
And fireworks spelling out “rest in peace.”
Oh take me when I’m gone to Forest Lawn

Rock of ages cleft for me
For a slightly higher fee.
Oh take me when I’m gone to Forest Lawn


3 responses to “On the off chance I die before the next time I talk to Spouse

  1. Green Funerals are the best way to Go! I fully endorse the FCA but often the no casket make your own casket approach is not accepted by the mainstream. What I have found is that by encouraging the low cost, or lower cost funeral, people needing a funeral and funeral directors come around to “green” lower cost funerals.

    R.Brian Burkhardt

  2. Unfortunately, you may be waiting a while for a green cemetery to come to Illinois. While it would seem that running a cemetery – particularly a green one – would be fairly simple, the numerous rules, regulations, and zoning complexities ensure that you will need a very good legal team to get one started here. Besides, with all the new tax schemes that have been floated lately to cure our state’s financial ills, don’t be surprised if someone has put forth a green burial tax.

    Or, you could choose cremation and go with a biodegradable urn. Is it truly green? Environmentalists are divided on cremation. It does create some emissions, but it does not require formaldehyde or other chemicals, and there is no need for a casket that will never degrade. Plus, making and transporting a casket consumes fossil fuels, meaning that traditional burial may actually push more carbon into the atmosphere than burial.

    New Traditions

  3. Green Funerals have not come to Illinois.
    I am a renegade Funeral Director in both IL & VA. The FCA provides a great service and I am totally behind Green Funerals. Coming close to death several times in the last year I applaud the FCA in my new Book The Low Cost Less Stress Funeral {core title} soon to be published by Morgan James.
    Low Cost Funerals are the future of Funeral Service. Keep up the New Traditions!

    All the best,

    Your Funeral Guy
    R.Brian Burkhardt

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