Green burials a good alternative
Green burials have been given the green light for Park Cemetery.
The Marquette City Commission on Monday OK’d an updated version of the rules and regulations at the cemetery, and this includes allowing green burials and mausoleums.
At Park Cemetery, an area for green burials will be located in the Prairie Mount plat at the cemetery near the community gardens on the west end.
Green burials don’t involve embalming, caskets or concrete vaults. Instead, a biodegradable shroud or coffin is used. The process is not only cheaper, it’s more environmentally friendly, especially when complemented with landscaping involving native trees, shrubs and wildflowers.
The idea has caught on in at least one part of the Upper Peninsula.
The Keweenaw Green Burial Alliance’s mission is to support the development of green burial practices in the Keweenaw Peninsula and surrounding areas.
The alliance has acknowledged the belief that cremation is the most environmentally responsible way to dispose of a body. Although it’s more economical and convenient than a conventional or even a green burial, the group noted cremation involves the burning of fossil fuels and the generation of carbon dioxide emissions that might contain various pollutants.
The idea of green burials has caught on locally.
A group called Marquette Green Burial has been formed to bring ecologically responsible burial alternatives to Marquette.
There could be some drawbacks or possible problems with green burial sites. According to an Oct. 18 story in The Mining Journal, it was stated that some people have shared concerns about animals interacting with green burial sites. However, the Keweenaw Green Burial Alliance has researched the matter and discovered it’s highly unlikely wild animals would disturb a human grave.
Biodegradable caskets, the alliance said, can be made from cardboard, softwoods like pine or poplar, or wicker baskets. A shroud can be made of any natural fibers such as cotton, hemp, linen, silk or wool. Green embalming fluid that does not contain formaldehyde is acceptable, and memorial markers that meet a cemetery’s regulations for size and placement should be natural stone or wood.
Would green burials cut into a funeral home’s bottom line? Commissioner Paul Schloegel said at Monday’s meeting that several local funeral directors and undertakers have indicated they’re in favor of green burials.
In a way, green burials are repeating history since typically most burials before the mid-19th century were conducted this way.
Green burials might not be for everybody, but it’s good to know people with a particular concern for the environment have a new option to help the planet, even after they’re gone.
— The Mining Journal (Marquette)