The 93-acre Greensprings Natural Cemetery is the first of its kind in New York and one of just a handful in the United States, where interest in "green" burial is just taking root.I like the "shrubs or trees are preferred" part. Reminds me of the Native American technique of burying a fish beneath the "three sisters": corn, beans and squash.
At Greensprings, where a plot costs $500 plus a $350 fee to dig the grave, bodies cannot be embalmed or otherwise chemically preserved. They must be buried in biodegradable caskets without linings or metal ornamentation.
The cemetery suggests locally harvested woods, wicker or cloth shrouds. Concrete or steel burial vaults are not allowed. Nor are standing monuments, upright tombstones or statues.
Only flat, natural fieldstones are permitted as grave markers (they can be engraved). Shrubs or trees are preferred.
- CNN.com - 'Green' burial offers a plot with a view - Jul 2, 2006
Surprising to me, this is not something new. Greenspring's links page lists several other "natural" cemeteries across the United States, including South Carolina, Florida (watch that high water table), and California. No markers? No problem, just load up the coordinates into your GPS device.
I joke about being composted, but only half so. My ideal would be cremation with my ashes scattered in the Atlantic Ocean. No reason to take up valuable real estate. Okay, maybe use some of the ashes for a top dressing on the flower beds.
But then the cremation itself would be consuming fossil fuels, or at least releasing sequestered carbon, and contributing to greenhouse warming. Maybe a "natural" burial would be lower impact after all. And if I could help give a good start to a young oak, I could die knowing that my life had been good for something.