February 2021 • Green Burial Council News
Encouraging environmentally sustainable death-care options and the preservation of natural areas through green burial.
GBC Conference 2020 Spotlight

The Green Burial Council Conference 2020 is featured in the February 2021 issue of Memento Mori magazine, published by the International Cemetery, Cremation and Funeral Association (ICCFA). “Momento mori” is a Latin phrase meaning “remember, you too shall die”. There are over half-a-dozen articles by conference speakers who had well-attended presentations. The articles give a brief synopsis of some of the topics that were discussed during the conference. You can read the article here, GBC Launches Inaugural Conference Virtually

Also take a look at how you can read the entire February 2021 issue of Memento Mori, the only official publication of the ICCFA.

"GBC’s first conference brought more influential and new green burial advocates together than I could have expected. I’m excited to see how the inspiration and growth from this conference changes death care in 2021 and beyond."

Video recordings are available now! Whether you missed our first virtual conference or want to revisit a session that offered just the information you need, you can now purchase the recordings. Visit the GBC website to gain permanent access to one session or the whole conference.

GBC is Looking for a Chief Association Executive 

The Green Burial Council International, Inc., a 501c3 educational and outreach non-profit, seeks a candidate for the new half-time position of Chief Association Executive (CAE). In partnership with the Board of Directors, the CAE will achieve the organization’s mission and financial objectives by overseeing day-to-day operations and managing multiple projects. We welcome all interested and qualified candidates.

Click here for the PDF job description with details and how to apply. We thank you for your interest and can't wait to work with you!  

Peer-to-Peer Forums

Can We, Should We Re-Use Graves?

February 24, 2021 
Wednesday • 8 pm EST

Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. Why Not Graves? Plots are re-used in Europe, parts of Canada, and New Orleans. In the United States, should they remain solely owned in perpetuity? Let the debate begin! Join us for presentations and discussion. This topic is relevant for everyone—public, providers, and advocates. See you then! Go here to register.

Archived video recordings are available, along with resources for past forums.

GBC Forum Facebook Group 
Check out the FB group for the Green Burial Council Peer Forum, created to allow green burial practitioners and advocates to connect as an online community, engage in discussions, ask honest questions, and learn from one another about best practices in bringing environmentally sustainable end-of-life practices to your community.
GBC Guide for FDs and Pre-arrangements

A GBC guide specifically for funeral directors, What Every Funeral Director Needs to Know About Green Funerals: A Handbook for Funeral Directors was written by Lee Webster, with assistance from licensed funeral directors Samuel Perry and Lindsay Soyer. This guide is meant to help members of the funeral industry understand the community and the affairs of families who choose environmentally sustainable death care. It includes resources, standards, detailed suggestions for best practice, and maybe even some things you haven't even thought of, or figured out yet.

Kelaiah Erickson of GBC-certified River View Cemetery in Oregon, shares some thoughts and experiences about a specific kind of planning.

We are always striving to inform our clients of natural burial, with a goal to increase pre-arrangements of natural burials in 2021. Currently 25% of our clients pre-arrange natural burial, seeking eco-friendly options in our hybrid cemetery. Sometime in the future, River View plans to open a new section as a dedicated natural burial area, in addition to adding natural burial in forested sections.

Some specific religious groups we serve know that we will honor their practices in natural burial, but most at-need families who approach us have little information. It’s sometimes difficult for our clients who do not have pre-arrangements, and they wonder if they are making the right choices. After learning about green burial options, they are often full of questions about the shroud, woven or all-wood constructed casket, how we lower their loved one into the grave, and why we add mulch and hay to finish. Their questions make at-need arrangements a teaching moment.

Once they finish the at-need arrangements for a deceased family member, most families choose to pre-arrange with us for their own burial. This allows us to have a rich conversation where we can address any concerns and document their needs ahead of time without worry. Photo: River View Cemetery

GBC Blog—Whose Environment Is It Anyway?
Dr. Billy Campbell and his wife, Kimberley,
are co-founders of GBC-certified 
Ramsey Creek Preserve, a conservation burial ground in South Carolina. Campbell's informed perspective is deeply valued in the conservation burial community. He is the author of this month's blog, Whose Environment Is It Anyway? Photo: Marv Barg, Ramsey Creek Preserve
In the News
Some people prefer listening or watching, instead of reading. Meet these two icons:  LISTEN   and   WATCH   indicating that a podcast or video is available (they are not links).

People Who Love the Land
"After Mike Mayer’s mom died, he found himself stranded in a CVS parking lot crowded with President’s Day traffic. His mother’s dead body was on the back seat." Read more in People who love the land are getting interested in green burials by Amanda Gokee in VTDigger. Photo: The Manitou Project

The Latest in Canada
Read The green death: How environmentally friendly options are changing the way we bury our dead by Andrew Duffy in the Ottawa Citizen, Canada—a tour through current green death movement trends in Ontario, Canada, and some in the United States. Megan Spencer is featured, co-founder of Green Burial Ottawa Valley, a non-profit co-op dedicated to opening a cemetery where natural burials can take place. Photo: Spencer shown in a still from the video Die as You lived: What is green burial?  WATCH  

Herland Forest Natural Burial Cemetery
Walt Patrick is one of the founders of GBC-certified Herland Natural Burial Cemetery in Wahkiacus, Washington, and the first licensed natural organic reduction operator in the country. Listen to Walt introduce green burial and make the case for why he’s dedicated much of his life to making it available and affordable to anybody who likes it.  LISTEN  to Walt Patrick’s Intro to Green Burial podcast, available on Redesigning the End.

The cradle is filled with wood chips, bacteria, and fungi to help speed the decomposition process. Photo: Sofia Fournier Potts 
The cradle is sealed and the decomposition process begins. Photo: Sofia Fournier Potts 
KOIN 6 News, Portland, Oregon, visited Walt Patrick at Herland Forest to review the natural organic reduction setup they have constructed (photos above). Read the story, Human composting now legal, begins in Washington, by Hannah Ray Lambert, or view the news clip.   WATCH  

“Twenty years down the road, if someone wanted to clear-cut this forest…because there are bodies buried here, developing this land would not be development, it would be desecration,” Patrick said.

The Lovers’ Grave
Karen and Don Franks found a unique way to stay connected even after death by being buried shoulder-to-shoulder in a natural burial cemetery, side-by-side even if they didn't start at the same time. Read Together forever: Couples choosing ‘side-by-side’ natural burial by Hannah Ray Lambert, KOIN 6 CBS News. A video news clip is available.  WATCH  

After-Death Center
Get a detailed and close-up look at Recompose, the first human-composting funeral home in the U.S., from Brendan Kiley in The Seattle Times. Photo: Olson Kundig

It's not Apples to Apples
Herland Forest and Recompose both received their first bodies in December, while Return Home out of Auburn expects to open later this year. Brendan Kiley compares these new ventures in Competition emerges in the Seattle-area human-composting funeral business. "The three companies are not charging different prices for the same service."
Green Funeral Proficiency

Congratulations to Molly Welch, CEOLD, Doulagivers, NEDA Proficient,
for being a recent Green Funeral Proficiency Award recipient. We thank you for your contributions to green funeral service education and wish you luck as you move forward in the field. If you would like to learn more about becoming green funeral service proficient, click here.

What's Happening
Events have resumed in full force this year, many in-person. Check out a complete listing including worldwide and ongoing events on the GBC website page, What's Happening.

GBC Peer-to-Peer Forum • Can We, Should We, Re-use Graves?
February 24, 2021 
Wednesday 8 pm EST

See more details at the beginning of the newsletter.

Valley Conservation Cemetery Project Webinar
February 25, 2021
Presentation 4 pm–5 pm EST Discussion 5 pm–5:30 pm
Online via Zoom

Learn about the first conservation cemetery in Massachusetts being created by combining land protection with the establishment of a natural burial ground. They’ll cover goals, land-search criteria, and community and partnership opportunities. This event is free, but registration is required.

CFSA 2021 Conference and Trade Show
Casket and Funeral Supply Association of America
April 12–13, 2021
Indianapolis IN
This is the premier annual event for manufacturers, distributors, and service providers in the casket and funeral supply industry. Network with decision makers, evaluate new product offerings, and gain industry insight.

NFDA 2021 Conferences
National Funeral Directors Association
April 16 through October 20, 2021
A variety of exceptional educational and networking events are offered, either in person or virtually. More information will be available as the event date draws near.

NFDA Professional Women’s Conference
National Funeral Directors Association
April 16–18, 2021
The premier event for women in funeral service offers a variety of interesting, informative seminars that will provide new ideas for your business and for serving families. More info coming soon. 
Help Further the Movement
Your Tax-deductible Donation Helps Us Grow
Many of you have asked about donating to support the movement and help fund our website, educational handouts, written materials, travel expenses when appearing at major events, and other efforts. We appreciate your support and look forward to having what is necessary to help further the green burial movement throughout the United States and Canada. Go to our webpage, or use the button below and help us further the movement with your help. We thank you.
Green Burial Council International is a 501(c)3 educational nonprofit operating in the United States and Canada. For tax deduction purposes, our tax number is 45-4422635.
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