Blog: Conservation Burials, Natural Grief, etc.

Blog #1: 12 Groundbreaking Reasons For You To Choose Certified Conservation Burials

  1. The Earth – Giving your body and a lifetime of nutrients to a tree or meadow directly helps restore the earth’s biome, the local ecosystem and the soil for many generations to come. The topsoil we now use for food and agriculture will be depleted by 2060 at the rate we are using it.
  2. Your pocket book – On average the cost for a conservation burial is under $3,000 (often called a “shroud burial.” This is less than the average cost for cremation at $6,000 or conventional burial $7,000.) Some conservation projects offer $1,000 burials and payment plans.
  3. Celebrations or Memorials in nature – Many families find comfort and even celebrations of life in moving through their grief and taking time at the graveside or in a memorial hall to be with their loved ones and share their experience in a leisurely way without funeral home timelines.
  4. A Sense of Place – A conservation burial is held in perpetuity forever in with a conservation easement through a land trust. Although it is often permitted to have a burial on one’s own property, your land may be sold and used for other purposes in the future that don’t allow access for future descendants to visit.
  5. Family History – Descendants of a loved one will be able to locate a particular gravesite through GPS and a small bronze grave marker. Because the conserved land will always be used for the purpose of conservation burials, the site of burial will remain permanent.
  6. The only non-polluting choice in 21st century deathcare: There are no mercury or plastic gases from cremation; no cancer-causing embalming fluids used for two-day preservation. Even “hybrid” or “natural” certified cemeteries still use cancer-causing herbicides such as RoundUp for lawn-care nearby so-called “green” plots. No energy used for crematory oven operation with enormous carbon dioxide emissions. Even Alkaline Hydrolysis (“water cremation”) and Human Composting are not responsible in responsible sequestering of mercury and other heavy metals.
  7. Saving on local and national resources – no concrete or steel vaults used for the sole purpose of lawn care maintenance in conventional cemeteries. Saving these could possibly rebuild failing bridges, roads, and other infrastructures across America.
  8. Conservation and regeneration of local nature sites. Native ecosystems are restored and maintained, allowing for preservation of species at risk or endangered. Soil is regenerated through carbon stores at plot sites. Regenerating forests provide 60% of rainfall locally as well as water and soil purification.
  9. Native wildflower restoration areas: some preserves provide native wildflower seeding and habitat for wildlife.
  10. Multiple acre restoration of pollinators for butterfly, bee and their dwindling habitat.
  11. Free burials for children and the homeless. Currently, the government pays for cremation of the homeless while many would rather choose and find comfort in a conservation burial.
  12. Taking time to grieve – Often a graveside ceremony, ritual or closing the earth is found to be helpful with acceptance of a death and the grief process. Graveside funerals allow for natural beauty, privacy and plenty of time in which to say goodbye not typically available in funeral homes or crematoriums.

Blog #2:

The Science Against Cremation

Cremation Pollution: Neighbors Nervous: As Practice Grows, Some Question Mercury Emissions from Burning Fillings. T. Chea. Associated Press. NBC News 2007.

Culture and Carbon and Cremation, Oh My! A. Nebhut. Trinity University Digital Commons @ Trinity Undergraduate Student Research Awards Information Literacy Committee, Fall 2016.

Death is life: How regenerative thinking can revolutionize Western end of life practices, and how cellulose can contribute to the change. O. Casalegno. Environmental Earth Sciences, January 2018.

Dental Mercury — A Public Health Hazard. J. Pleya, Review of Environmental Health, 1994. Jan-March, Vol 10, 1-27.

Does inorganic mercury play a role in Alzheimer’s disease? A systematic review and an integrated molecular mechanism. J Mutter.Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. 2010, Volume 22, 2010.

Drinking Grandma: The Problem of Embalming. Jeremiah Chiappelli, JD and Ted Chiappelli, DrPH. Journal of Environmental Health. Vol. 71, No. 5 December 2008.

Dust in the Wind – The Bell Tolls for Crematory Mercury. Golden Gate University Environmental Law Journal, 118, 2008-2009.

Emissions From Urban Crematoria. G. Gonzalez-Cardoso. Energy Procedia. Vol. 153. Oct 2018.

Environmental Issues Associated with Crematoria: A Review. Brad Kuchnicki. Creighton University dissertation, Omaha, NE 2019.

Global change and mercury cycling: Challenges for implementing a global mercury treaty. N.Selin. Global Mercury Partnership, August 2013.

Health Effects of Exposures to Mercury

Japan Remembers Minamata. J. McCurry.The Lancet. Vol. 367 January 14, 2006.

Job-Related Formaldehyde Exposure and ALS Mortality in the USA. J. Roberts. Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry, 2015.

Kids Exposed to Mercury or Lead More Likely to Experience Attention Deficit. Marla Cone, Sustainability Editor. Scientific American, Sept 21, 2012.

Maternal amalgam dental fillings as the source of mercury exposure in developing fetus and newborn. L. Palkovicova et al. Published in both Nature Journal and Journal of Exposure Sci Environ Epidemiology volume 18 (2008).

MercNet: a National Monitoring Network To Assess Responses To Changing Mercury Emissions In the United States. D. Schmeltz. Ecotoxicology, Volume 20, 1710-1725.

Mercury Contamination from Dental Amalgam. A. Tibau and B. Grube. Journal of Health and Pollution, June 2019, Vol. 9.

Mercury Emissions from Crematoria. S. Maloney. Thesis submitted for Master of Philosophy. Leicester University, Northampton, UK. July 2008.

Mercury Emission From Crematories In Japan. M. Takaoka et al. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 10, 3665-3671.

Mercury Exposure and Children’s Health. Current Problems in Pediatric and Adolescent Health Care Journal. Stephan Bose-O’Reilly, MD MPH et al. Sept 2010. Cites cremation as a childhood cause of current pediatric disease.

Mercury In Dental Amalgams. Environmental Protection Agency (2010). Retrieved from

Mercury In Europe’s Environment: A Priority for European and Global Action. European Environment Agency, Copenhagen, Sweden. 2018.

Mercury Across the LifespanK Taber and R Hurley MD. Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences. October 2008. Discusses the case of an entire family, including the pregnant mother and her three children, who had several months of mercury exposure as a result of consuming a hog that had been fed seed grain treated with methylmercury fungicide. The child exposed in utero was born mute, blind, severely mentally retarded, with quadriparesis, choreoathetosis, and seizures (died at age 21). The child exposed at 8 years of age also became mute, blind, with quadriparesis, choreoathetosis, and seizures (died at age 29). The child exposed at 13 years of age had cortical blindness, dysarthria, ataxia and deficits in attention and learning when examined at age 35. The child exposed at 20 years of age had loss of peripheral vision, poor hand coordination, and mild cognitive deficits when examined at age 42.

The Moral Inadequacy of Cremation. T. Saad. The New BioEthics Journal. October 2017.

Mortality of U.S. Embalmers and Funeral Directors. R. Hayes et al. Journal of Amer. Industr, 1990.

Mortality from Lymphohematopoietic Malignancies and Brain Cancer Among Embalmers Exposed To Formaldehyde. M.Hauptmann et al. Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 2009.

Natural Burial: Being Green in Life, Now in Death Too. B.Shaik. CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. Fall 2017.

Quantifying Mercury Emissions Resulting From the Cremation of Dental Amalgam in Minnesota. S. Myers. University of Minnesota School of Dentistry, 2015.

Substance Flow Analysis of Mercury Intentionally Used In Products in the United States. A. Cain et al., February 2008.

Toxic Emissions From Crematories: A Review. Mari, M. et al. Environment International, Jan. 2010.