Thursday, January 5, 2012

Wisconsin's Green Cemetery

Early last summer Wisconsin welcomed what I believe is its first green cemetery.  Located in Verona, Wisconsin, it is known as The Natural Path Sanctuary.  It offers an alternative to traditional cemeteries.  Cremains can be scattered, bodies returned to the earth in nothing more than a cotton shroud, and families given a quiet and calm meditative spot to celebrate the life of a loved one.  I toured the facility prior to it getting approval from the various government entities.  I am delighted that it is now open and functioning.

What exactly is a green cemetery?  When opting for a green burial one is forgoing a vault, embalming, concrete, and metal.  Not only does it tread more lightly on the earth, it is easier on the pocket book as well.  The right to a burial at The Natural Path Sanctuary appears to be about $3500.  In contrast, an average funeral in 2006 cost $7,300.  And I'm certain the price has increased since.

Photo credit - The Capital Times, Madison, WI

Green burials are common outside of the US, and were the method used in 19th Century America.  Progress is not always ideal.  Green burials, a return to a prior tradition, offer an alternative to the pricey and environmentally harsh practices of current practices.

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