Sept 22: How Green Will Your Funeral Be?

“How Green Will Your Funeral Be? Green up your departure from the planet," a class at Beechwood Farms Nature Reserve.

We all will die. Some of us have made wills to cover the disposition of our property. Some have gone further and made living wills and provided specific funeral plans. But few of us have given detailed instructions to our families on our wishes for reducing the environmental impact caused by the disposition of our bodies.

If you don’t make a choice, your body will likely end up being disposed of in one of two ways: 1) it will be cremated in an unregulated and unfiltered crematorium that spews CO2, mercury compounds, NOX, dioxins and other poisons and carcinogens into the air and uses enough fossil fuels to drive a car 4,800 miles, or 2) it will be pumped full of toxic formaldehyde (about 2 gallons), displayed in a non biodegradable steel, bronze, and wood casket lined with synthetic pads and fabrics, dropped into a hole in the ground, dug and filled by a gas-guzzling backhoe and lined with a concrete burial vault, and then the grass on your grave will be weed-whacked, fertilized and mown in perpetuity by more gas-guzzlers. And the formaldehyde from your grave will eventually leach out and find its way into our drinking water sources, where it will need to be filtered out.

But you do have choices. Options range from simply eschewing embalming (it’s not required by law) to new processes like alkaline hydrolysis or freeze-drying to being shot into space or to simply being buried, unembalmed, in a biodegradable casket in a ‘green cemetery’ where you can become plant or tree food.

During this seminar Pete McQuillin, board president of Green Burial Pittsburgh, will explain all the ways you might green up your departure from the planet, and he will give us a progress report on GBP’s plans to start a green cemetery here.

7:00 - 8:30pm at Beechwood Farms Nature Reserve (614 Dorseyville Road in Fox Chapel). For more information, email .

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