Reclaiming a Dying Tradition

A green burial is one in which: the body is not embalmed, the burial container is made of biodegradable materials or the body is wrapped in a shroud. There is no vault or cement grave liner. Rather, the container or the body is placed directly within the soil to biodegrade naturally. Proponents often refer to it as “traditional” burial because it reclaims the more natural way in which nearly all were buried prior to the Civil War—one that is still used by some 90% of people elsewhere in the world. Because only biodegradable materials are used, in green burial a human body and its burial container enrich the soil.

Our sister organization, Green Burial Massachusetts (GBM), began as a committee of the Funeral Consumers Alliance of Western Massachusetts (FCAWM), and it has been generously supported by the Funeral Consumers Alliance of Eastern Massachusetts (FCAEM). Today it is a statewide, volunteer run organization, providing educational programs about the value and benefit of natural burial, in which everything going into the ground is biodegradable and will decompose naturally. GBM advocates on behalf of individuals who choose natural burial offers consultation and technical assistance to municipalities and non-profit organizations about natural burial.

For more information go to the Green Burial Massachusetts website.

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