Cycle of Life, Death and Renewal
Green Burial in Massachusetts
Through your voice, more cemeteries allow green burial.
2022 Winter Solstice
Dear Friend of Green Burial,
Green, or natural, burial honors the cycles of life, death, and renewal. You know that. You acknowledge the patterns, rhythms, and downbeats comprising your life and may even be lighting a candle to honor this shortest day of the year for you know from this day forward, the daylight gets longer by a few minutes each day.
All of us at Green Burial Massachusetts (GBM) want to take this minute to acknowledge you. With your financial support, we continue to provide education to those requesting presentations and phone support for those seeking a green burial for a loved one. Many of you have chosen to call your local cemetery to ask for green burial. Your successes are documented in the crowd-sourced database of cemeteries on the Green Burial Massachusetts website. Thank you.
It is with profound gratitude that we wish Judith Lorei, GBM’s first president, well upon her resignation from the board of Green Burial Massachusetts, Inc. GBM began as a committee of the Funeral Consumers Alliance of Western Massachusetts. Judith and former GBM board member Carol Coan, gave life to the committee in 2009. In 2016 Judith was voted in as GBM president when it incorporated as a 501(c)(3).
Judith has answered many of your calls and emails; given presentations to hundreds of residents across Massachusetts. She has tabled at fairs and other ‘green’ events sharing her knowledge and passion for green burial. Under her leadership, almost 30 towns throughout the state now have cemeteries where green burial is allowed. In 2014, there were only two. Thank you, Judith. We miss your sage and steady words.
Welcome Elizabeth Cardaropoli, GBM’s new president! Elizabeth is relatively new to GBM’s board. She takes on this role to support the organization into this next chapter while honoring the work of her predecessor. Elizabeth believes in the mission of GBM and is passionate about bringing green burial options to Massachusetts. Originally from the theatre world, Elizabeth is a certified Life-Cycle celebrant and has worked in the funeral industry. Currently she can be found in museum administration and studying historical funerary practices.
Please join me and the other GBM board members in welcoming Elizabeth as GBM’s second president. We are thrilled to have her energy and insight.
Board Member, Green Burial Massachusetts, Inc.
Fulfilling Our Mission
As part of our mission to educate the public about green burial, we provide talks, workshops, webinars, and other educational programs about natural burial at public libraries, senior centers, green fairs, zoom and other venues.
Our presentations cover what green burial is, how it works, where it can be done, and more. Over the past 18 months, we have presented to:
- Sandwich Council on Aging in June
- Orleans Senior Center in June
- Nauset Fellowship UU Eastham in July
- Sustainable Sharon in November
- Newton UU Church in October 2021
- Centerville Library in October 2021
To request a presentation for your group, write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Answering Your Calls
Twelve calls were answered during 2022 by GBM Treasurer, Joan Pillsbury. Many of the callers were starting to plan for their green burial and wanted to know what was available near them. The crowd-sourced GBM Database on the website was very helpful for these people. Six calls were looking for resources; one family decided to purchase a cardboard coffin from GBM for their loved one after exploring all of their options. One caller asked about a cemetery cart for his cemetery expansion project that includes green burial. (If anyone can offer plans for a cemetery cart, we’d love to put them on the GBM website). Another caller asked about green cemetery certification. GBM doesn’t certify cemeteries for their “greenness.” The Green Burial Council is a non-profit organization that certifies cemeteries, funeral homes, and products for their adherence against a specific set of standards. Any cemetery can offer green burial without being GBC-certified, however, those that are certified are following these standards created by the GBC.
Valley Conservation Cemetery – The Search for Land Continues
We continue to search for land for a conservation cemetery in the Connecticut River Valley. Over the past year, students at UMass have assisted us by using geographic information systems (GIS) analysis and our steadfast soil scientist, Al Averill, reminds us that we might find pockets of soils that are suitable for burial (green or conventional), but acres of those soils are difficult to find. What does that mean to us? We may find several smaller areas (less than two acres) for burial within a parcel that is worthy of conservation.
Please reach out to GBM or our partner, Kestrel Land Trust, if you know of land that might be suitable.
GREEN BURIAL MASSACHUSETTS
email@example.com or call (617) 393-5011
KESTREL LAND TRUST
Kristin DeBoer, Executive Director
firstname.lastname@example.org or call (413) 549-1097
In, On, and Around the Media
- Final DIY Project: Build Your Own Coffin in WSJ July 18, 2022
- How Green Burials Work and How They Help the Environment on LX News September 1, 2022
- Historic Mass. Cemetery Sees Growing Demand for Green Burials on NBC Boston September 12, 2022
- Green burial and climate change – Rebecca Fricke of Wildwood Cemetery in Amherst and Candace Currie in Daily Hampshire Gazette, October 8,2022
- Environmentally Friendly Alternatives To Burial on Enviro Show October 21, 2022
Elizabeth tabled at the Association for Gravestone Studies (AGS) conference in the fall. There is a common misconception that gravestones are not allowed in green cemeteries. She explained that field stones may be used at some cemeteries however, the decision is up to the cemetery as to the whether they are allowed, and if allowed; the size, shape and material. In some cases, usually in hybrid cemeteries that allow both conventional and green burial, flat markers or upright monuments will be allowed.
Does your Local Cemetery Allow Green Burial?
Green Burial Massachusetts cemetery database now lists 39 cemeteries in 27 Massachusetts towns that allow green burial. Volunteers are key to adding new information to the list. Don’t see your city or town on the list? Have a favorite private cemetery that is not listed? Help us expand the number of cemeteries listed by reaching out to a cemetery commission or private cemetery board and collecting information.
Email info@GreenBurialMA.org for instructions or to let us know about a cemetery that allows green burial.
Donate via Green Burial Massachusetts website
Green Burial Massachusetts is an all-volunteer organization. Your donation allows us to pursue our mission of educating the public about green burial throughout Massachusetts through presentations, answering your calls and emails, and keeping the GBM website up-to-date.
Green Burial Massachusetts, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. Your gift to Green Burial Massachusetts, Inc. is tax-deductible in the United States to the extent allowable by law.