I'll admit it. I lean toward the extremes. Green Burial Council certifies at the 1- or 2- or 3-Leaf level of 'greenness', and I'm not interested in getting a 1- or a 2-. I designed for 3 and I earned a three. Good for me. But...
But we don't live in a binary world. Even a little improvement is an improvement. And frankly, I'm irritated by green-shaming. "You eat only grass-fed organic, non-GMO beef? But is it certified fair trade?" (no, it's not, and if we are honest the cow didn't like the experience one little bit). We are always going to fall short. And apparently, somebody is always going to be there to point it out. The problem, for me, is the tendency to give up if I can't knock it out of the park. Sadly, I see that happening around green burial. 'We wanted to go green,' the remorse seems to go, 'but we couldn't get into a conservation burial ground, so we just did it like usual. Maybe next time.' All or nothing.
Apparently they are more practical in Wales. The Sir y Fflint Flintshire County Council has posted an enlightening PDF entitled "Assessing the Environmental Impact of a Funeral." Rather than total the stats on global environmental degradation caused by our funeral practices to create some appropriately alarming numbers, they have created a tool for each of us to make a minute difference for the greener.
As you'll see, their ideas are presented as a table with rows for 10 aspects of funerals, such as embalming, coffin choice, or energy use. Four options are provided in each category, from least green on the far left far left to greenest on the far right. Using this approach, the family in my example could have still made greener choices such as using locally grown flowers instead of flowers air freighted in from South America. By teasing out so many opportunities for small change, we are empowered to move the needle to the right, even if we don't peg it. Baby steps.
The Sir Y Fflint Flintshine County Council favors coffins "Locally produced in... wood from sustainable sources." So does the Green Burial Council at the 3-Leaf level. Just sayin'.
Above: We are proud to have been awarded Carolina Casket Makers Collective's coveted "Two Peace Sign" certification for comfort and fit by CCMC's own Heather!