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Back to the Earth: When It Comes to After-Death Care and Burials, Green Is the New Black

It might not be the most pleasant topic to think about, but it is a part of life: we are all going to die. But how can we die better? 

Many Americans are reflecting on this question and recognizing that their carbon footprint extends past death, shunning traditional burials in the process.

Over half (53.8%) of respondents to a 2017 survey by the National Funeral Directors Association said they are interested in natural, or “green,” burials to reduce the environmental impact of end-of-life rituals.

“If we look at conventional style burial that includes caskets that are made from precious metals, hardwoods, foam liners, and satins that get put into a vault liner that is in a reinforced cement steel container that goes into the ground, that may not be in line with people’s values,” says Anne Murphy, celebrant and after-death care guide. Her business, A Thousand Hands, works to create a more hands-on approach to death through ceremony, ritual, and education.