While we may be aware of making eco-friendly choices in our day-to-day lives, many of us aren’t aware of greener options at end-of-life. Every choice has some environmental impact–however reclaiming the practices of our ancestors may be the most earth-friendly. The Industrial Revolution brought us formaldehyde-based embalming and the rise of the modern funeral industry with a plethora of manufactured merchandise–caskets made of painted steel, precious metals or hardwoods; concrete burial vaults and granite cemetery markers. Cemetery lawns now doctored with chemicals and manicured by exhaust-spewing lawn mowers to look like golf courses. The deceased transported in gas-guzzling luxury coaches. It’s not uncommon for such funerals to now cost as much as a new automobile—negatively impacting not only the environment, but also a family’s pocketbook.
However, throughout most of human history, families and faith communities simply cared for their own dead. In most cultures, what we now call green burial was standard practice. Green burial involves no chemical preservation of the body. The deceased is simply placed into a biodegradable casket or natural-fiber shroud and directly into the soil with no concrete grave liner. There is no manicured lawn or sea of monuments in a green cemetery. Instead, the grave may be marked by a native tree or shrub. On the surface grows vegetation that is native to the ecosystem. Ultimately, a natural burial ground becomes a green space which is preserved for future generations to enjoy
People’s Memorial has been a leader in making these options available to the people of Washington State. We contract with green cemeteries, a funeral director who specializes in home funerals as well as funeral homes who provide green burial. Char Barrett is a licensed funeral director who specializes in home funerals through her business, A Sacred Moment. Char can be a hands-on coach with the family in caring for their loved one as well as providing training and consultation for those who are interested in having a home funeral. Read her brochure for more information about home funeral vigils.
People’s Memorial contracts with two cemeteries that offer green burial. The Meadow at Mole’s Greenacres in Ferndale is a Natural Burial Ground and Woodlawn Cemetery in Snohomish has a section that is a Hybrid Burial Ground. In addition three of our Select Funeral Homes provide green burial services: PEOPLE’S MEMORIAL Funeral Cooperative, A Sacred Moment and Moles Greenacres Chapel. All of these funeral homes and cemeteries are certified by the Green Burial Council.
In addition, PEOPLE’S MEMORIAL Funeral Cooperative offsets the carbon produced by each cremation by investing in wind and solar energy through the Bonneville Environmental Foundation, a Northwest nonprofit. The co-op also plants a tree in honor of each person served through American Forests.
Members receive a 15% disount off home funerals, green burial plots, services and merchandise from these Select Providers.