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Green burial: An earth-conscious option for individuals planning their end-of-life arrangements

Sept 2017 A Will for the Woods photoA Will for the Woods: Determined that his last act will be a gift to the planet, a man prepares for his own green burial. See the documentary at LifePath on October 17. Find more details at the end of this post.Natural burial, also known as “green” burial, is a traditional method of burying a human body after death. By most definitions, a green burial involves no embalming fluid, grave liner, or vault, and utilizes a biodegradable container or shroud. If an individual prefers to have a headstone, a grave marker is often made using stone that is native to the surrounding landscape. Many advocates see this movement as a return to a simpler, ecologically-sound form of burial that was commonplace in America prior to the Industrial Revolution.

“Our movement couples with the movement of people wanting to take care of their family members at home. It’s really about individual rights,” says Judith Lorei, co-founder and volunteer with Green Burial Massachusetts, a nonprofit advocacy organization based in Franklin County. Judith started as an advocate with the Funeral Consumers Alliance of Eastern Massachusetts and later helped start Green Burial Massachusetts in an effort to educate the public about the value and benefits of green burial.

“We’re an all-volunteer organization, and we’re currently working to establish Massachusetts’ first green cemetery with Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust (in Athol),” says Judith. “We’re all about giving people options and information. Green burial might not be for everyone, but for those who have an interest, we want to provide them with as much information as possible.”

For individuals who are curious about green burial as an end-of-life burial option, Judith recommends consulting with your local cemetery to find out what their burial regulations are. For information about the green burial movement or to learn more about becoming a local advocate for green burial, click here.

Read more about Green Burial Massachusetts’ partnership with Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust here.

A Will for the Woods

A free screening of “A Will for the Woods,” a documentary about green burial, will take place on Tuesday, October 17, 2017, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., at LifePath’s Greenfield office, located in the Greenfield Corporate Center at 101 Munson Street, Suite 201. Light refreshments will be served, and there is no charge for admission, but donations are welcome. To register, click here or call 413-773-5555 or 978-544-2259.