About the Issue
Baptism, Weddings, Funerals, Communion, Easter, Christmas, and many more are important event is our lives. They welcome us into the community of God, join us in matrimony, celebrate our holiest of days and say a loving 'good-bye' when our time of rest is upon us.
Each of these days and the ceremonies that accompany them holds a permanent and loving place in our hearts. On these days God's Creations must also be thought of and considered. These events should be celebrated to the fullest while protecting and His fragile planet and done without sacrificing the splendor of the celebration.
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Weddings use resources, but where these resources come from can be your contribution to God’s Creation on that special day. Consider this, diamonds the symbol of love and devotion can also be the source of considerable human rights atrocities. Why not purchase your diamond from a business that only deals in 'conflict free' gems. Similarly, the mining of gold creates substantial environmental impact, so learn about wedding bands from a company that recycles gold rather than mining new.
These little things can make your wedding an even greater celebration. Our Wedding page is comprehensive enough for you to find many ways to celebrate God's glory through this special day. Then, once you are convinced that it's for you go to our "Get Involved" page and find all the links you need to make your wedding a glorious day.
The holidays are a time of joy and hope. But did you know that holidays can be tough on God's creation. Think of ways to make the holidays special without the consumer pressures that typically comes with the season. Try the "The Low Carbon 12 Days of Christmas" to start. And check back for fresh ideas as the season approaches.
The typical burial in the United States costs between $6,000-$10,000 and uses toxic chemicals like formaldehyde for embalming which can seep into ground water. Steel caskets and concrete vaults, which are normally used, are non-biodegradable. Conventional funerals and burials serve to memorialize our loved ones, but in the process, precious resources and precious land are being used up. Each year in the U.S., we bury*:
- 827,060 gallons of embalming fluid, which includes formaldehyde
- 180,544,000 pounds of steel, in caskets
- 5,400,000 pounds of copper and bronze, in caskets
- 30 million board feet of hardwoods, including tropical woods, in caskets
- 3,272,000,000 pounds of reinforced concrete in vaults
- 28,000,000 pounds of steel in vaults
Want to ensure that every aspect of your life (and death) is as environmentally and creation-honoring as possible? Has a family member or friend committed to eco-justice passed away recently passed away? Make sure you honor their memory with a "green funeral". Read our 'Get Involved" page to below to find out how funerals can honor the deceased, honor God, and honor God's Creation, all at the same time!
The good news is that there alternatives.
Embalming - Most funerals involve embalming to preserve the deceased for viewing. Embalming is a process of injecting the body with various chemicals combined to make embalming fluid, including formaldehyde (a Class 1 Carcinogen), glutaraldehyde, phenol, methanol, antibiotics, dyes, preservatives, additives, disinfectants and sanitizing agents. The purpose is to temporarily prevent decomposition of the body so that it may be displayed at a funeral.
Clothing - For burial garment, opt to wear organically grown fibers and avoid any clothing or accessories that are not biodegradable.
Coffins -Caskets or coffins are usually made with non-biodegradable steel, various plastics, varnishes, solvents and glues, with some even being lead lined. Coffins made from particle board also contain formaldehyde. These chemicals can seep into the surrounding soil and ground water. Eco-friendly burial products range from natural-fiber shrouds to fair-trade bamboo caskets lined with unbleached cotton. Other environmentally friendly caskets are made from cornstarch, bamboo or recycled paper.
Biodegradable containers cost from around $100 for a basic cardboard box up to more than $3,000 for a handcrafted, hand-painted model. Ecopod is a revolutionary design in coffins made from naturally hardened, 100% recycled paper.
Tombstones - Steer clear of concrete grave site marker, artificial flowers made of plastic and vases, use real flowers and wreaths when possible.
Cremations - Cremation is also a burden on the environment. Every time a body is cremated between 0.8 and 5.9 grams of mercury is released. This results in 1,000 to 7,800 pounds of mercury per year. Seventy-five per cent goes into the air and the rest ends up in the ground and water. The energy used to cremate one body is enough to drive 4,800 miles. In a year of cremations, you could get to the moon and back 83 times.
Green Cemeteries - As for a lasting resting place, natural burial grounds are now gaining popularity in many countries. These are usually woodlands, forests or reserves. In most of these, large monuments are discouraged or prohibited and small simple plagues are used instead - you basically blend in with the environment. Most of these grounds are public and open to hikers. When folks visit deceased loved ones, they can also enjoy nature. Green burial grounds also serve as a nature preserve and protect forests from being chopped down.
*Statistics compiled by Mary Woodsen, vice president of the Pre-Posthumous Society of Ithaca, New York, and a freelance science writer and staff science writer at Cornell University.