What We Do
Friends of Green Burial PA is a group of people who are joining forces in the state of Pennsylvania to educate the public about the green burial option and to create more access to it for after death care. As most people are completely unaware that this legal, viable option exists, our main focus is on education. Our activities include workshops and presentations at libraries, churches, hospices, funeral homes and farmer’s markets, just to name a few. These events take place both in person and on Zoom. We provide resources and information about green burial - what it is, where they can find it, and what the process looks like.
In terms of creating more access to green burial, we are actively reaching out to cemeteries to educate them and encourage them to dedicate open space to green burial practices. We find that many cemeteries do not understand what green burial is or that there are people looking for it. Once they have expressed interest, we help the cemetery get the process started- taking their members on field trips to other green cemeteries, putting them in touch with consultants, and offering support in whatever ways are needed.
The money we raise will be used for promotional and educational materials and the maintenance and hosting of our website and email account. The money will also be used for the purchase of a canopy and tables for outdoor events and shrouds, wicker caskets and biodegradable urns to use as props for educational purposes.
What is our Impact?
What we do with our bodies after death has consequences for the climate and the planet. Neither cremation nor modern burial are “green” by any stretch of the imagination. Cremation uses large amounts of natural gas to fire retorts for long periods of time and at high temperatures in order to reduce bodies to ash. Pollution of the air with excess carbon and toxic chemicals is unavoidable despite mitigation efforts in place at crematories. Modern burial also uses a tremendous amount of resources in the form of concrete for vaults, hardwoods and steel for caskets, chemicals for lawns, and fossil fuel burning lawn mowers for the maintenance of cemeteries and their “park-like” appearances. In the modern era, death continues as life, at the expense of our soils, water, and air.
Green burial is an option for after death with none of those negative consequences and many positive ones. By returning an unembalmed body directly to the earth without a concrete vault or steel casket, the Earth can do what she does best: recycle. Bodies naturally decompose and feed the surrounding plants and trees. And because green cemeteries are typically maintained as wildflower meadows or forests, the plants and trees create habitat for birds, butterflies, bees and more. Rather than “taking” from the planet, a burial in a green cemetery is “giving back.” As this option is more widely known, accepted, and utilized, the opportunity for the reduction of greenhouse gasses and the reduction of consumption of resources in the death industry can be realized.