Green Burial rites

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Green burials, which are also referred to as natural burials are methods of attending to the dead by deploying means that ensure very little environmental degradation or impacts , protection of the natural habitat, reduced carbon emissions, risk-free working domain for the work force and the protection, reconditioning of the natural environment. Green funeral practice uses materials that are toxic free, biodegradable like the wooden gasket, urns and shrouds. The use of toxic free chemical products are highly encouraged by green funerals, also the use of green services in post mortem practices is also suggested. This is done to prevent the chemicals from killing the soil microbes and other organisms that will aid in the decay of the body by decomposition, or any organism that comes into contact with the body or its residues. Dead bodies, in preparation for burial, can be prepared without the use of chemical preservatives and disinfectants such as embalming fluids that have a high chance of killing decomposing organisms. This paper analyzes the practice of green funerals, what green burials stand for and the environmental benefits associated with it.
Some important elements of green funerals include rejection of cremation, preference of conservation sites as burial areas, creation of an environment that is not visually definable or appears to be a burial area and criticizing the practice of embalming, especially with formaldehyde products. It requires coffins and shrouds used for burials to be obtained from local materials that are sustainable to use and forbids markings or demarcations on graves. This practice also discourages the use of permanent materials used to mark a grave so as to personalize it and finally tending of graves as it should remain natural.
Embalming, which is a surgical process, is a method of treating a dead body with preservatives in order to prevent decomposition. It is a common tradition for friends and families to view the body of their loved ones for the last time before they are laid to rest and this has necessitated the need to embalm. However, embalming reagents used contain volumes of organic chemicals such as formaldehyde and ethanol and trace amounts of water. These solutions cause an indigestibility effect of the body’s protein tissues, thus slowing down bacterial decomposition of the body. Once formaldehyde is released into soil, soil pollution and water pollution is known to occur. Such chemicals in soil and water, will in turn lead to spread of the toxicity into living organism that may come into contact with the body. Formaldehyde, the main chemical, is also known to be a carcinogen and it contributes to nervous disorders among other disorders. In the case of green burials and as is law in many countries, bodies are chilled using dry ice or mechanized freezers which will prevent microbial growth.
Uslu, Aysel, Emin Bariş, and Elmas Erdoğan. “Ecological Concerns over Cemeteries.” African Journal of Agricultural Research, vol. 4, no. 11, 2009, pp. 1505-1511.
This source from Uslu and Elmas Erdogan entails ignored and silent concerns that are associated with pollution of soil and water around burial sites by the buried copses .The burying method is designed such that it promotes contact of the body with surrounding soil. The graves depth should be shallow enough to allow contact between the microbial organisms and the body. The body is also required to be buried in a nontoxic biodegradable and a sustainable casket or coffin, which are encouraged to be from renewable soft woody biodegradable material. Shrouds should be made from biodegradable materials or recycled paper to ensure that it does not inhibit the action of soil microbes. Also, food served during the funeral process is required to be organic food and this will definitely ensure that our environment is kept from deterioration. The graves themselves are not demarcated as headstones and are not permitted, rather flat rocks, plants and trees and GPS coordinates are used to identify individuals’ graves.
Roth, Dieter, and Maik Schwabe. “Method for Assessing the Proportion of Ecologically, Culturally and Provincially Significant Areas (OELF) in Agrarian Spaces Used as a Criterion for Environmental Friendly Agriculture.” Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment vol. 98, no. 1, 2003, pp. 435-441.
The works of Roth and Schwabe have again and again proven to be enlightening, this particular source explains what goes on in the green funerals. Green burials are conducted in special sites, green cemeteries, which are special burial sites that do not permit use of vaults, non-biodegradable caskets and embalming chemicals. The cemetery grounds do not use inorganic chemical substance to manage the vegetation in its vicinity such as herbicides, inorganic fertilizers, and pesticides. Green cemeteries date back to 1993 in England, which was the first ever and only green cemetery at the time. In 2012 more green cemeteries were developed and the number grew to over 250. In the US, the first green cemetery was established in the year 1996 in western South California. To date there are several green cemeteries that are protected by state laws as conservation sites. All the materials used in green cemeteries are subject to aiding in replenishing the earth. Most green cemeteries, in an effort to conserve the environment, have incorporated landscape designs that are sustainable and natural memorialization.
Center for Disease Control. Fourth National Report on Human Exposure to Environmrntal Chemicals . Research report. Washington DC: Center for Disease Control, 2015. https://www.cdc.gov/biomonitoring/pdf/fourthreport_updatedtables_feb2015.pdf
The CDC is a world renowned American agency responsible for conducting medical related research the organizations insights into the matter of environment and the mushroom suit is most revealing. The mushroom suit is a new green based technique of burial designed by Jae Rhim Lee and Mike Ma. It works by using mushroom anti-toxin agents to cleanse the body of the dead. The suits designer arrived at the invention of the suit by breeding unique strains of mushrooms that would provide an environmentally friendly decomposition of human tissue after death. It is a designed suit that has mushroom pores, with good anti-toxin agents, infused into the suit’s fabric. The dead body of the individual is dressed into the suit and buried. The pores germinate and form mushrooms, which will consume the toxins from the body to leave behind a pollutant free and clean compost. The general concept does not draw ease to many, simply because of the fact that the mushrooms will be feeding on the dead remains of the person. However the developers believe that their suit would gain popularity and meet its purpose. The research conducted by CDC, states that the human body is naturally filled with toxins and pollutants such as pesticides, heavy metals and herbicides that are ingested or inhaled which accumulate throughout the course of life. These toxins are released back in to the environment whether the body is buried of cremated.
Conclusion
The bottom line in this discussion is the need to leave the earth a better place with your last actions. Its moral vindications to the environment cannot be questioned and going green is a proposal by many researchers and its benefits are broadly exhibited for all to see and enjoy. However green burial is not a popular subject when it comes to globally going green, especially because of the grief and the fact that not many people have planned for their burials as per the popular beliefs and fears associated to death. It is an act of commitment to better the environment and conserve nature, a noble course that aims at leaving the earth better and refusing to let pollution be your last actions on the earth. Therefore green burials should be popularized to the people and more organizations that can plan and conduct the burial arrangements be established to ease the pressure on the grieving families.
There is also need to establish more green burial sites and to educate the public on the necessity to carry out the practice of green burials once their loved ones pass on. We are currently on the verge of massive pollution and a degrading environment, which could have negative impacts on the human population. Therefore there is increased need to stress on the importance of making use of green sites to carry out burial rituals and to extremely maintain the body in an organic state to ensure minimal pollution to the environment.

Works Cited
Center for Disease Control. Fourth National Report on Human Exposure to Environmrntal Chemicals . Research report. Washington DC: Center for Disease Control, 2015. https://www.cdc.gov/biomonitoring/pdf/fourthreport_updatedtables_feb2015.pdf
Roth, Dieter, and Maik Schwabe. “Method for Assessing the Proportion of Ecologically, Culturally and Provincially Significant Areas (OELF) in Agrarian Spaces Used as a Criterion for Environmental Friendly Agriculture.” Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment vol. 98, no. 1, 2003, pp. 435-441.
Stowe, Johnny P., Elise Vernon Schmidt, and Deborah Green. “Toxic Burials: The Final Insult.” Conservation Biology, vol. 15, no. 6, 2001, pp. 1817-1819.
Uslu, Aysel, Emin Bariş, and Elmas Erdoğan. “Ecological Concerns over Cemeteries.” African Journal of Agricultural Research, vol. 4, no. 11, 2009, pp. 1505-1511.

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