Friday, January 27, 2023

Green burials gaining traction

November 10, 2011  

By Mike Jordan

Have You Heard…of green burials?  Me neither.  Until this week, that is.  A friend and neighbor of mine has just revised her will and last wishes, and these include a “Green Burial.”  It seems that a green burial is defined as a burial which is friendly to the earth and environment.  Perhaps you don’t know that most burials are not only with a metal or fiberglass casket but the grave usually is lined with concrete slabs. Also many graveyards are running out of space.  I know of at least one which advises family members to be buried in the same grave site.  That is, they bury the first person deep and then successive family members on different subsequent levels. Everlasting togetherness, I guess. Spooky thought.   Another possibility, of course is cremation but this is said to pollute the air. But now, a “Green Burial” is becoming more common as an acceptable alternate.

My friend tells me there are a number of options for a green burial.  One is that the principal would be placed in a simple wood coffin with canvas handles and then buried without the concrete slabs.  Another alternate is just to be interred in a canvas bag.  Our local undertakers haven’t yet offered this process as one of their regular plans, but the time is probably coming soon.  So in the meantime, there are at least two or three “alternate” local mortuaries that are offering their services and there are also “Natural” cemeteries, such as the one at Cedar Creek.  An added advantage is that the “natural” burials run around $500 to $600 as opposed to the usual burial costs which typically ranges around $10,000.  There is actually an Oak Hill company called Austin Natural Caskets, whose motto is “the green way to go.” The company offers eco-friendly, affordable caskets crafted from pecan, pine and cypress. Prices start at under $700. For more information go to

Have You Heard…this week we officially enter into the holiday period.  More traveling is done on Thanksgiving weekend than at any other single time in the year.  And, of course, Friday, the day-after Thanksgiving, is the biggest shopping day of the year and is known as “Black Friday.”  I wonder why.  Anyway, when we sit down with the family, or if even at the local fast-food joint on Thanksgiving Day, someone feels obligated to say, “Tell us why you’re thankful.”  Actually, that isn’t such a bad thought.  Most of us, or at least me, seldom stop to consider the things for which we are thankful. We’re in a period where jobless rates are the highest since The Great Depression, we’re involved in a couple wars where we are losing some of our best of young men and women, and we are beginning to wonder if we should be there at all.

Finally, we have friends and relatives who are losing, or have lost, jobs and homes. The impulse might be to think, “Bummer.”  But remember, nearly all have someone who loves us.  Maybe it just is a dog, but who can love more than a dog.  If we’re lucky, we have family and friends who, even if we can’t be together, we can still be together in our thoughts.  A person who is very close to me has lost his home and most of his investments over the past few years.  However, he tells me that outside the initial depression, he came to the conclusion that life goes on and he’s happy to have a roof over his head, food in the pantry, and someone to share his thoughts with.

So, when we say Grace over that Thanksgiving meal, let’s remember that Grace isn’t just a meal prayer but grace is also a lifestyle we can all aspire to.


Thought for the day…Last week our Congress was considering a law to prevent public schools from serving “junk food” such as pizza, french fries and the like in the cafeterias.  However the “Frozen Food” lobby (I didn’t even know there was such a thing) intervened and the bill was not passed.  In fact, the tomato sauce on pizza was classified as a vegetable.  I guess this is in support of, the “No child left without a big behind” program.


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