Going back [to the earth] means giving back

GBM volunteer, Katherine Dannehl, describes the Cemetery Research Project

Giving Tuesday was created in 2012 to celebrate and encourage giving. Green Burial Massachusetts (GBM) would be grateful for your philanthropic gift. More important, we’d like to say thank you for reaching out to GBM, requesting green burial at your local cemetery, and volunteering your time and energy.

We have spoken to hundreds of people throughout Massachusetts about green (or natural) burials over the past year. We’ve been invited to give talks about green burial by librarians organizing public events; town residents who simply want a green burial, but their town doesn’t allow it; senior centers and Councils on Aging; planners of sustainable-agriculture events; cemetery commissions and planning departments. We receive calls from people who are dying and want a green burial. Often it’s too late to make green burial happen for them, but their requests make a difference to the cemetery managers who receive that request. Each request encourages us to work harder to make green burial available everywhere.

To help us meet those requests, this past October GBM held a workshop we called ‘Green Burial 101.’ Thank you to the 14 people who came to learn how to help spread the green burial message; they learned more about green burial itself and about giving presentations across Massachusetts. Their voices are, and will be, making a difference.

Over the past few years, GBM has seen an increase in the number of town cemeteries allowing green burial – that is, cemeteries that, at a minimum, do not require a concrete grave liner or vault. Today almost 20 such cemeteries have been listed by GBM volunteers who are helping to create a database of all cemeteries in Massachusetts that allow green burial. About five years ago, GBM counted fewer than five. Thanks to those volunteers and GBM’s partnership with the Funeral Consumers Alliance of Western Massachusetts (FCAWM) for making this new database possible. In the photograph, GBM volunteer, Katherine Dannehl, describes the Cemetery Research Project at the 2018 FCAWM Annual Meeting.

Giving. You can give money, time and by having a green burial, your body. If you have been fortunate enough to live a life dining upon plants and animals of the planet, then what better way to give back to the planet than with your own body? Yes, the nutrients in your body will feed other living forms. Allow your last footprint to be one that replenishes the planet rather than one that uses up precious resources by the manufacture and transport of concrete grave liners or metal vaults. As stated at www.greenburialma.org: Going back [to the earth] means giving back.

Thank you to our volunteers, donors, people who request presentations, and to those requesting green burials.

In Heartfelt Gratitude,

GBM’s Board of Directors

Going Back [to the Earth] Means Giving Back
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