You pick up a bottle of laundry detergent at the grocery store, and it’s labeled “green” and is twice the price of regular detergent. But is it really safer for the environment? Often we just don’t know. Well it turns out green standards for the funeral industry are just as murky and unregulated, and there are some who will sell you and an expensive green funeral that really isn’t…a practice called “greenwashing.” My guest, Joe Sehee, believes consumers should have access to objective information, so he founded the Green Burial Council, which established rigorous green standards for cemeteries who truly want to operate in an environmentally conscious way.
Today the GBC, an international organization, protects consumers like you and me from greenwashing and gives legitimate green cemetery operators an opportunity to voluntarily become GBC certified, which many have. I caught up with Joe in Australia where he and his family live. Joe starts our time together by taking us on a virtual tour of a natural cemetery, and wrap up with a lively discussion about embalming fluid. Salute!
In this episode you will learn about:
- “The Sunflower Forest” by William Jordan, who coined the term “Restoration Ecology”
- “Dying Green,” a film by Ellen Tripler
- The Ramsey Creek Preserve, founded by Dr. Billy Campbell and his wife Kimberley Campbell, is the first conservation burial ground in the United States
- End of Life Revolution brought on by Baby Boomers
- Why we have burial vaults (Hint: It isn’t to thwart grave robbing)
- Conservation Burial, a new initiative by Joe Sehee
- Natural body preparation
- Memorial reef balls
- World Health Organization Report on The Impact of Cemeteries on the Environment and Public Health
- Formaldehyde is biodegradable
- 2010 JNCI Journal of the National Cancer Institute on the effects of formaldehyde on funeral workers
- What goes into embalming fluid