The Five Principles of Green Burial

The Five Principles of Green Burial

The following are the essential criteria that should be present to properly qualify an interment as a ‘Green Burial’.

No Embalming

Human remains are prepared for green burial without embalming. Decomposition is nature’s way of recycling a body.  From this perspective families who choose green burial regard embalming as a highly invasive, unnatural and unnecessary practice.

Human remains that are not embalmed can still be prepared for burial and viewing. With refrigeration and the use of topical (external) application of environmentally sensitive soaps, lotions and disinfection agents, human remains can, without embalming, be prepared and dressed for a dignified viewing.

Direct Earth Burial

The un-embalmed remains are wrapped in a shroud made of natural, biodegradable fibres and then buried directly in the grave.

Alternatively, the shrouded remains can be placed into a casket or alternative form of container, where the casket or container is also made of sustainable and fully biodegradable materials.

In an ideal circumstance the shrouds and/or casket will be locally sourced, as close as possible to the deceased’s place of death and green burial.

For green burial no outside grave liner or protective vault is used. The shrouded and/or casketed body is buried directly into the ground.

Ecological Restoration & Conservation

Once a green burial has been completed the surface of every grave is, after allowing some time for grave settling, planted with locally indigenous plant materials, using a combination of groundcover, shrubs and trees.  These plantings will normally be done according to a pre-established planting plan designed to optimize the creation, enhancement and integration of the interment area into the greater local eco-system.

Sensitivity to and protection of the growing and eventually the established eco-system of the interment area is essential.  For this reason the visitation of individual graves is discouraged and may eventually be prohibited.  Visitation of the interment area is managed through the sensitive placement of walking paths and the occasional bench, optimally placed adjacent to the communal memorial for the site.

Site preservation and perpetual protection is a key component of this principle of green burial.  A combination of the use of covenants, protective easements and other enforceable guarantees made by the green burial cemetery operator are put in place to ensure the site will never be repurposed and the natural eco-system protected – in perpetuity.

Communal Memorialization

For green burial the use of individual memorials is discouraged.  Instead communal memorialization, again using naturally sourced materials, is placed in the green burial cemetery (or cemetery section) and only simple, basic inscriptions are made.

Ultimately it is the green burial site as whole that becomes a living memorial to the persons interred there.

Optimize Land Use

A well planned green burial cemetery (or cemetery section) will optimize the land it occupies.

Design elements will include minimal installation of infrastructure, temporary roads that can be removed and converted into interment lots, operationally pragmatic grave dimensions and section lot plans that maximize interment capacity are some of the considerations applied.

The re-use of graves is a highly sustainable practice that optimizes land use in a green burial (or any) cemetery.  See following for further comment on this practice in Canada.

Also, where the interment of bodies cannot be accommodated in a green burial area these ‘border or surplus’ zones may be purposed for the green burial of cremated remains using surface or sub-surface disposition methods.

The Re-use of graves — not yet, but soon?

The re-use of grave space makes sense as the most logical and sustainable use of limited interment space, especially in urban settings.

Optimally, green burial (and conventional) cemeteries would be designed in such a way that some areas permit for the re-use of graves.  The concept of a re-useable or term-limited grave is common throughout the world.

Only a small number of countries, and primarily the U.S. and Canada, use the ‘perpetual right of interment’ cemetery model.  Other than a small number of religious cemeteries in Quebec that have ‘100 year leases’, the perpetual right of interment is the most common form of grave ownership in every province in Canada.

A goal of the Green Burial Society is to advocate with every province for a change to cemetery law that will permit cemetery operators to offer, across Canada, the option for cemetery sections where graves can be re-used, thus making cemeteries far more operationally and environmentally sustainable than they are now.

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Swaddling for Eternity

" Swaddling for Eternity"

Swaddling is the act of wrapping a new born in cloth so that it is secure and safe. History is full of examples and practices in the use of swaddling. Swaddling is practiced by almost all cultures in the world.

In our changing world  the focus has been changing at the time of death to the use of Shrouds in the act of a Green Burial. The changes which are a result of the shifting views on traditional funeral practices brings a belief  of using a death Doula or Death Mid-wife at the time of passing. Using a shroud and swaddling the deceased in the shroud creates a more natural and spiritual release of the soul, spirit, and body back to the care of nature. Green Burials or Natural Burials are by their act a much gentler and meaningful treatment of the deceased and to the environment where the soul and spirit are released to become one with the natural flow of eternity of all living things around us.

In almost every community there is a movement a foot to advocate for the creation of a green or natural burial ground or by using a natural conservation preserve  to bring us back to the soul of nature. The act of encasing a body, soul and spirit in a metal container surrounded by a concrete box and sinking everything deep into the cold earth and having the body filled with toxic chemicals has become a vision of dearth on humanity.

Today people are awaking to the past practice of shrouding a body and placing the body into a natural burial ground where nature will use its natural powers to absorb the body, soul and spirit into the surrounding soil to feed and renew the life around it. Modern science show us that the microbial actions of nature will over time provide a safe and natural release of the body.

The shroud is like a swaddling garment for the dignified and gentle return of a body back to nature for eternity.


Essential Oils

House Plants that Clean the Air

House Plants that Help Clean the Air

We all know that fresh air is vital for our good health, but what if you're stuck indoors most of the time? How do we go about cleaning the air we breath? Heather McNicol, from interior landscaper, Urban Planters, shows how just one or two air-purifying plants can make all the difference to our wellbeing.

House plants that clean the air

Fresh air is not something we get enough of in modern life, especially as most of us seem to be increasingly stuck inside for a lot of the time.

Indoor air can be stale, and thanks to modern synthetic materials and temperature regulation, it also contains pollutants and is often well below recommended humidity levels.

Synthetic furniture, paints and computers, to name but three, silently pump chemical vapours into the air, while air conditioning and heating dry the air.

This can lead to complaints such as allergic attacks, asthma, headaches and tickly coughs. This is where plants come in.

The humble plant can make all the difference to the air we breathe indoors. They work hard at cleaning our air of these toxins and releasing humidity back into the atmosphere.

In fact, there are many health benefits to being near plants. Studies have shown time and again that plants help us to:

1. Stay healthy
2.  Have fewer headaches and coughs and feel less tired
3.Have fewer allergy symptoms
4.Recover faster
5.Feel less stressed
6.Feel happier
7.Be more productive and creative
8.But not all plants are the same. Some like more light or heat than others, and some clean the air better (we call the most effective ones "scrubbers", a sign of how hard they work for us!).

So it is important to get the right one. To help you choose the right plant, here are our top ten plants that clean the air:

1. Bamboo Palm
Chamaedorea Seifrizii

Aside from its exotic good looks, it scores highly for removal of chemical vapours and for creating humidity in a room.

More good news: it is very easy to care for and is highly resistant to insect infestation.

2. Boston Fern
Nephrolepis exaltata “Bostoniensis”

A mass of lush foliage helps this plant to scrub the air of toxins in a room and improve humidity.

With a bit of regular misting and watering it should thrive.

3. Kimberley Queen Fern
Nephrolepis Obliterate

Another foliage-rich fern, this plant is great at removing pollutants from the air and for humidifying a room.

Like the Boston Fern, it needs regular watering.

4. Areca Palm
Chrysalidocarpus lutescens

An elegant palm which offers everything: it releases lots of moisture into the air, removes toxins very effectively, is easy to look after and resists insect infestations well.

Its delicate fronds look good pretty much anywhere.

5. Gerbera Daisy
Gerbera Jamesonii

This gerbera sports beautiful bright flowers in orange, yellow or red. NASA tests found that this plant was particularly good at removing toxins from the air.

This plant should come indoors in the autumn, providing you with winter colour and an antidote to spending more time indoors.

6. Florist’s Mum
Chrysanthemum Morifolium

This plant only flowers for several weeks but while they do, they bring splashes of bright colour to a room while also removing some of the most common toxins from the air.

7. Peace Lily
Spathiphyllum sp.

Beauty in all its simplicity, the peace lily boasts strong dark green leaves and tall elegant white flowers.

Easy to care for and high-scoring for air moisture, toxin removal and insect resistance.

8. Dwarf Date Palm
Phoenix Roebelenii

One of the best palms for removing toxins, it creates a statement in a room, with its strong main trunk and long fronds which grow to about 3 feet. 9. Rubber Plant
Ficus Elastica “Robusta”

Bred for toughness, this is the plant to choose if the room doesn’t have a lot of natural light. Its architectural form makes it a designer’s favourite and its simple, large leaves look good in most places. Especially good at removing formaldehyde, one of the most common toxins found in our indoor air. 10. English Ivy
Hedera Helix

A great air scrubber and humidifier, and perhaps unsurprisingly, easy to care for.

You can use ivy in hanging baskets, as ground cover for indoor planting beds or it can be trained to stand upright around a frame.

Keep its growth in check, though! We believe there is something here for everyone, so if you want to take an easy step towards improving your health and wellbeing, pick a plant!

If you want to know more about how plants keep us healthy, take a look at our website:

Science, belief,experience of Dogs


Bibi had always been strong and robust and even when she sustained injuries in dog fights, she would bounce back to her normal spirited self very quickly. Her unexpected, untimely death on the 26th of this month, just a day after Christmas caught everybody unawares. Everybody—except Tutu, one of my gentlest dogs often called the Dalai Lama by many people.  On the 22nd, four days before Bibi died, Tutu had given her the “once-over”, sniffing her from head to tail and he obviously sniffed death because thereafter he detached himself from Bibi and behaved as if she didn’t exist, something he’s done each time he’s sensed death. I’d witnessed Tutu’s verdict but subconsciously in an act of self-denial, chose to ignore it. If one factors in Tutu’s “once-over”, Bibi’s death was not really untimely.
Incidentally, out of all the dogs with me at present, Tutu is the only one who can sense death several days in advance, an ability, gift, prescience, call it what you will,  he seems to have inherited from his parents. Across the world, there are innumerable documented instances of dogs unerringly sensing death not only amongst themselves but amongst humans and other animals too. Cats too have the power to discern the approach of death well in advance.

Geriatrician David Dosa has written a book, Making Rounds With Oscar: The Extraordinary Gift of an Ordinary Cat. Oscar, said to have “predicted” more than 100 deaths, is internationally famous, having featured on Discovery Channel and other prestigious platforms.  According to Wikipedia, “Oscar is a therapy cat living in the Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Providence, Rhode Island, U.S. since 2005… Oscar appears able to predict the impending death of terminally ill patients by choosing to nap next to people a few hours before they die. Hypotheses for this ability include that Oscar is picking up on the lack of movement in such patients or that he can smell biochemicals released by dying cells…”

Do animals also know when they themselves are going to die? Jennifer Coates, a house call veterinarian specialising in end-of-life care, wrote a few months ago, “From elephants who grieve for the loss of a herd member to whales who won’t leave their dead babies behind, many species react to death in much the same way that people do. But are animals able to understand that they are going to die themselves? That is a different, more existential question…”

Coates has witnessed several instances when it seems as if a pet has chosen the “right” time to die. She wrote, “I believe my own dog, Duncan, may have had a sense that his end was near…”. Several of my dogs and cats have been aware in advance of their own deaths too.

Sensing death is not confined to dogs and cats. Karen Briggs, an equine expert who has authored six books, reveals that “… much of the information horses receive about their world is gained through their sense of smell… While we are vision-oriented,… horses rely far more on chemical messages in the air…Many trainers over the centuries have agreed that horses also seem to be able to recognise the smell of death, sometimes reacting suspiciously to a spot where another horse has died, sometimes for months or years after the animal perished…”

In a blog in the Huffington Post, Georgianne Nienaber  has written about horses from a paranormal perspective. “None of it makes much ‘scientific’ or even theological sense, but the special energy of the horse is an undeniable fact. Call it what you will: soul, energy or electrical waves that can be measured by machines, something powerful and healing resides within ‘Suŋkawakaŋ’ the horse…How do we explain stories told by the Dakota 38 Memorial Riders about ghost horses seen in the tree lines along the 330-mile route from the South Dakota Lower Brule Indian Reservation to Mankato, Minnesota during the winter storms of December? The annual ride remembers the hanging of 38 Dakota American Indians by order of Abraham Lincoln in 1862. It is not commemoration, it is remembrance, and the spirit horses watch over the riders on this dangerous journey of witness…”

Birds too can sense death, their own and that of others. My aunt had a very close bond with her pet geese and fed them their first meal of the day with her own hands. That fateful day, they refused to eat and were strangely quiet. Had they all picked up some infection, she wondered. She went back to the house to call the vet and had barely walked through the doorway when she collapsed and died. Her geese had picked up not an infection, but the intimation of death.

The UK Telegraph carried fascinating findings in the USA on golden-winged warblers—tiny, delicate birds weighing just nine grams, or about as much as a palmful of coins, which showed that yet somehow they knew a massive storm system… was on its way one to two days in advance, and fled. According to ecologist Henry Streby, “When the birds flew off, the storm was still hundreds of miles away, so there would have been few detectable changes in atmospheric pressure, temperature and wind speed. The warblers in our study flew at least 1,500 kilometres total to avoid a severe weather system...” Scientists think that this sixth sense that birds possess has to do with their ability to hear sounds that humans cannot. Birds and some other animals have been shown to hear infrasounds, which are acoustic waves that occur at frequencies below 20 hertz.

With so much evidence about extra-sensory perception and other world connections  in dogs, cats, horses, birds and other animals, how is it that we humans, supposedly the most advanced species, lag so far behind, particularly in sensing death? There are Freudian theories, Jungian therories and the like, categorical scientific findings and theories like “They can see and hear things that humans cannot”.  And yet there are many recorded instances of humans who sensed death. So is it that most times we humans are so immersed in materialistic pursuits that we fail to detect other world signals? Or is it that we subconsciously choose to remain in self denial, like my own self denial when Tutu “declared” that Bibi’s time was up? In Nienaber’s  words, “Science, belief, and experience can be reconciled… A question answered with a question requires meditation and connection with what is unseen and unknown…”

From :



Conservation Burials, Death Gives New Life

By Marlene Cimons

Natural burials—where bodies are buried in the soil to allow for a hasty decomposition—have already caught on. But an Australian scientist has proposed that the concept of "dust-unto-dust" go even further.

He suggests that natural burials become "conservation" burials, that is, that people use the costs of interring bodies to buy, manage and preserve new land for natural burials, turning them into nature preserves or wilderness areas. Such funds could go toward supporting other conservation efforts, as well.

"We can create a spectacular legacy for our loved ones," said Matthew Holden, a lecturer at the University of Queensland, who outlined his ideas in a paper recently published in Conservation Letters. "We can use their dead bodies to protect the most awe-inspiring and critically endangered ecosystems from disappearing from the Earth."

In the U.S. alone, close to 3 million people die each year, generating an estimated funeral revenue of $19 billion, "far more than the estimated $3 to $5 billion required to protect every threatened species listed by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature," Holden said. "They could generate revenue that exceeds the amount of money needed to save every threatened species on the planet."

Green burial practices are also less carbon-intensive than conventional burials, which produce emissions from the manufacture and transportation of embalming fluids, coffins and grave liners, as well as the maintenance of cemeteries. Natural burials are also less expensive than traditional burials. Ornamental caskets and embalming are costly, and the chemicals used in the process, such as formaldehyde, are harmful.

While not every threatened species can benefit directly from conservation burials, "the hypothetical revenue demonstrates substantial potential for increased biodiversity," he added. "If conservation burials became as commonplace as similar types of after-death charities, such as organ donation, the biodiversity benefits would be enormous."

The U.S. already has several conservation burial sites, according to Holden. These include Honey Creek Woodlands in Georgia, Ramsey Creek Preserve in South Carolina, White Eagle Memorial Preserve in Washington State, Greensprings Natural Cemetery Preserve in New York, Foxfield Preserve in Ohio, and Glendale Memorial Nature Preserve and Prairie Creek Conservation Cemetery, both in Florida.

In the U.S., the Green Burial Council sets the standards for non-traditional burials based on a detailed set of criteria. "The concept of using burial as part of one's environmental legacy has been evolving for nearly two decades," said Joe Sehee, founder of the Green Burial Council, who first became interested in natural burials after moving to the Mojave Desert.

"I had always been inspired by the early monastics who used to make pilgrimages to the desert, in part, for the purposes of 'befriending death,'" he said. "It didn't take long for us to think about accommodating end-of-life vigils at our place nine miles north of Joshua Tree National Park, where we envisioned proceeds helping to play a role in the stewardship of the fierce landscape that surrounded us."

Sehee, who now lives in Australia, has been encouraging policies that would allow people to purchase land adjacent to state parks that they could use for natural burials, and then give the land back to the park agency for long-term stewardship.

"I think conservation burial, if used properly, could be a great way of encouraging people to think about the environmental legacy they want to leave behind, and could become a meaningful form of climate action," Sehee said. "It provides a way for people who mediate meaning and purpose through an environmental lens to feel as though death really can connect with life."

Holden points out that most people are well intentioned and eager to create a lasting legacy for their loved ones, but spending thousands of dollars on elaborate tombstones, monuments and expensive coffins is not the way to do it, he said. "Sadly, our good intentions are causing environmental damage," he said.

Rather, it would be more meaningful to turn a loved one's passing into a living legacy for everyone to enjoy, he said. "How beautiful would it be to visit the departed in a nature reserve, to hear a bird call and know that your loved one made that bird's existence possible," he said. "Your loved one, in death, created life."

Green burials renew our bodies in Earth’s cycle of life

Green Burials

Imagine a better way to go into eternity…

Rather than have your organic compounds sealed in a box in a vault, you could become part of the ecosystem that has sustained you since before your birth. You could become the nutrients of new life. You could become a tree in sunshine, a home to birds and squirrels, a source of oxygen, that stuff you loved so much while living. You could join the ecosystem that sustains everyone you left behind.

Being buried without preservatives, without a casket varnished against rot, without a steel or concrete vault, is not a new idea. It’s the way we did it for millennia. People who were born into nature were returned to it. What went around came around. Life went on.

Today we have a special term for it: green burial. People opt to have their bodies returned to earth with the intent of living again. No embalming. No casket unless of untreated wood. No vault. Just the body laid to rest in the earth.

Green burial is legal, yet it’s rarely done. Why? Because few cemeteries accept green burials. In all of New England, only two cemeteries have sections for green burials, and not one is reserved for them exclusively.

Elizabeth Foley, an emergency room nurse formerly with Lawrence + Memorial Hospital, is going to change that. She has formed a nonprofit organization, Connecticut Green Burial Grounds, and as soon as she’s arranged some acreage, people of organic tendency will be able to rest in true peace. Foley’s plan goes one step beyond burial. She’s going to have a tree planted over each grave. Before passing on, people (or their survivors) can choose an appropriate tree. Maybe an oak to symbolize strength, or a maple for elegance, or a monumental sycamore, perhaps a weeping willow.

(Sorry. No palms for snowbirds coming home to roost. It has to be a species native to Connecticut.)

Little by little, the cemetery becomes a forest — a place of life that sustains itself with little or no maintenance. To those of environmental consciousness, a forest of trees, wildflowers, birds, butterflies, and other creatures is far more beautiful than a lawn that needs to be mowed and weed-whacked in perpetuity.

Foley says CGBG is finding no shortage of people wishing to be buried this way. What the organization needs is some land. Her desire is to find the right place somewhere in Eastern Connecticut. Why here? Because environmentally, it’s a way to preserve land and nature. Economically, it’s a source of employment as visitors come from far and wide for a decent burial. Historically, it’s the way we used to bury people; and the way we someday will again.

Green burials are the only decent way to go. And green burial grounds are ideal for our region. We have the land. We appreciate nature. We appreciate peace. And frankly, we could use the business. We can only hope we have a green burial ground here, close to home before it’s too late.

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Reading about Nature

Ellen Macdonald got the idea to open the first green cemetery in Central Texas while watching an episode of “Six Feet Under,” an HBO series about a family that owned a funeral home, in 2007.

“It was the first time I saw a burial portrayed as really beautiful and natural,” said the Austin resident, 56, of the main character’s green burial. “This person was wrapped in a shroud and family members lowered the body into the ground themselves. That was how I wanted my burial to be, but there were no other options at that point where I lived.”

The only green cemetery in Texas at the time, Ethician Family Cemetery, was in Huntsville.

Macdonald, who left a career as a research neuroscientist at Stanford University before becoming a stay-at-home mom and “backyard artist,” purchased a little under 10 wooded acres in Cedar Creek, 10 miles east of Austin. The first burial at Eloise Woods Community Natural Burial Park — named for her grandmother, Eloise Brown Sutin — was in 2011.

Today, the green burial movement in Central Texas is growing, and it is largely led by women who are looking to change the conversation surrounding death and death care.

“We call it a movement now, but at one time all burials were what we now think of as green or natural,” Macdonald said.

Green burials allow bodies to decompose naturally and don’t inhibit or delay the decomposition process, she said. Her cemetery follows the standards set forth by the Green Burial Council, a nonprofit organization that certifies green burial grounds, funeral homes and product manufacturers. Bodies are not embalmed, there are no cement grave-liners, and caskets and shrouds must be made of biodegradable materials.

Owner Ellen Macdonald makes all of the memorial stones and decorations at Eloise Woods by hand. Christian Benavides

Different burial stones up against a wall in Austin, TX on Sunday, November 27th, 2016. Christian Benavides

Families have the option to dig the grave and even lower the body into the grave themselves.

Texas law does not require the use of a licensed funeral director when burying the dead, and bodies must be embalmed or refrigerated only if they will be held for more than 24 hours.

Since it opened, 123 people and 154 animals have been buried at Eloise Woods.

Green burial “started as a fringe movement, and it’s just really taking off. More and more people are liking the idea, but right now it’s still unfamiliar,” Macdonald said. Her park caters to a range of people from environmentalists and people of all faiths to those who want a “no fuss, no frills” burial.

When Maria’s godmother first mentioned wanting to be buried as naturally as possible, Maria, who preferred not to give her last name, had never heard of green burial and was surprised to learn that it was an option in Texas. Her godmother was buried at Eloise Woods on Dec. 10.

“It was absolutely perfect for her. I can’t say that it would be perfect for a lot of people, and a lot of families might not be comfortable with it, but it was what she wanted,” Maria said. She describes her late godmother as a hippie who practiced earth religions and was environmentally conscious.

The burial was easier than Maria imagined because her family did need to worry about arranging a viewing. “It did not feel like we were under obligation to meet what everybody else expected.”

Kate Kalanick, executive director of the Green Burial Council, said operators of green cemeteries “don’t have to sell people on [green burial]. They hear about it and it makes sense to them.”

The council estimates that more than 60,000 tons of steel, 1.6 million tons of concrete and 4.8 million gallons of embalming fluid are buried annually. More than 70,000 trees are cut down each year for wood caskets.

Green burials are also significantly less expensive than traditional funerals, which cost between $7,000 and $10,000. An adult plot at Eloise Woods is $2,250.

A 2015 study by the Funeral and Memorial Information Council found that 64 percent of people aged 40 and older said they would consider a green burial. In 2010, the number was only 43 percent.

Robert Boetticher, the CEO of the National Museum of Funeral History in Houston, expects acceptance to increase as more people become aware of the ecology of the world around them. “[Green burial] is a trend now that as time goes on won’t be a trend,” he said.

Death care is a $1 billion industry, but Boetticher said green burials present no more of a challenge to the industry than cremation did when it began gaining popularity in the 1990s. Green burial is still more expensive than cremation, and memorial services and celebrations of life remain a major source of revenue.

Boetticher has been a funeral director for 51 years. The modern-day funeral director is motivated more by service to families than by revenue, he said. “You’re in a profession of service, and you’re there to provide whatever the family needs.”

Green burial also reflects the larger industry trend for more personalized funerals, he said. “It’s a lot more exciting, because families are personalizing [funerals] and you have to be more creative.”

When Macdonald became interested in green burials, there were few resources to turn to, and an internet search yielded only 11 green cemeteries. “I had to learn how to do everything on my own,” she said.

In the past two years, she has been contacted by dozens of people across the country who are looking to start their own natural burial parks.

One was Sunny Markham, 62, who along with her cousin, manages Countryside Memorial Park in La Vernia, east of San Antonio, which previously was owned by Markham’s late former husband. Eight people and six cremated remains have been buried there since 1981, and the first natural burial took place in 2009. Most have been close friends and family, and Markham hopes to expand the cemetery’s reach.

She is also a proponent of home funerals, having first experienced them in 2009 when she helped bury her friend Andrea Burden, an Austin artist, at Countryside Memorial. “The experience was as if she was right there guiding us,” she said of the process of washing, anointing and dressing Burden’s body before laying her in the cardboard casket they decorated.

“The beauty of a home funeral is that you are actually hands-on with your beloved’s body. It’s all about the natural grief process, and in our culture that part of the process is taken away by the mortuary services industry,” said Markham.

Close to 300 cemeteries are certified by the Green Burial Council. Many, such as Our Lady of the Rosary Cemetery and Prayer Gardens in Georgetown, are hybrid burial grounds – traditional cemeteries that offer a green burial section.

Eloise Woods also brought Melissa Unfred, 37, to Austin. Unfred is a licensed funeral director and embalmer and a self-described “modern mortician” who has worked in the industry since she was 17, when she took a summer job at a funeral home in Lubbock.

She helps families arrange home vigils and educates them about green burial options, including Eloise Woods. She also is training her eight-month-old border collie to become the state’s first grief therapy dog.

“We’ve been led to believe that bodies are dangerous. Unless someone died from Ebola or something like that, there’s no emergency when you’ve died,” Unfred said of the misconception surrounding leaving a body in the home for a short period after death. For her, green burials are part of a larger “death positive” movement.

“Austin is really where the home funeral movement can take off, because we have a green burial park here, which we don’t have in other places,” she said. The city’s open-minded nature also helps. “Families that do home births also want to do home funerals.”

Macdonald didn’t set out to become a leader in green burials. Eloise Woods simply combined her interests in being outside, being creative and helping people deal with death.

“There’s not many ladies my age who spend their days wheelbarrowing mulch around the woods or digging graves for babies and pets,” she said.

Photosynthesis began 1.25 billion years ago on Earth:

Photosynthesis began 1.25 billion years ago on Earth: Study

TORONTO: The world's oldest algae fossils are a billion years old, according to a study which found that the basis for photosynthesis in today's plants was set in place 1.25 billion years ago.

The study, published in the journal Geology, may resolve a long-standing mystery over the age of the fossilised algae, Bangiomorpha pubescens, which were first discovered in rocks in Arctic Canada in 1990.

The microscopic organism is believed to be the oldest known direct ancestor of modern plants and animals, but it was poorly dated, with estimates placing it somewhere between 720 million and 1.2 billion years.

The findings also add to recent evidence that an interval of Earth's history often referred to as the 'Boring Billion' may not have been so boring, after all.

From 1.8 to 0.8 billion years ago, archaea, bacteria and a handful of complex organisms that have since gone extinct milled about the planet's oceans, with little biological or environmental change to show for it.

In fact, that era may have set the stage for the proliferation of more complex life forms that culminated 541 million years ago with the so-called Cambrian Explosion.

"Evidence is beginning to build to suggest that Earth's biosphere and its environment in the latter portion of the 'Boring Billion' may actually have been more dynamic than previously thought," said Timothy Gibson, PhD student at McGill University in Canada.

To pinpoint the fossils' age, researchers camped at the remote Baffin Island, where Bangiomorpha pubescens fossils have been found.

They collected samples of black shale from rock layers that sandwiched the rock unit containing fossils of the algae.

Using a dating technique, they determined that the rocks are 1.047 billion years old.

"That's 150 million years younger than commonly held estimates, and confirms that this fossil is spectacular," said Galen Halverson, associate professor at McGill's.

This will enable scientists to make more precise assessments of the early evolution of eukaryotes - the celled organisms that include plants and animals.

Since Bangiomorpha pubescens is nearly identical to modern red algae, scientists have previously determined that the ancient alga, like green plants, used sunlight to synthesise nutrients from carbon dioxide and water.

Scientists have also established that the chloroplast, the structure in plant cells that is the site of photosynthesis, was created when a eukaryote long ago engulfed a simple bacterium that was photosynthetic.

The eukaryote then managed to pass that DNA along to its descendants, including the plants and trees that produce most of the world's biomass today.
Once the researchers had gauged the fossils' age at 1.047 billion years, they plugged that figure into a "molecular clock," a computer model used to calculate evolutionary events based on rates of genetic mutations.

They concluded the chloroplast must have been incorporated into eukaryotes roughly 1.25 billion years ago.


Welcome to Mother Nature’s Brand

Mother Nature's Brand

Welcome to my new website for Evergreen by Diana. My website introduces the world to a new level of handcrafted shrouds designed and crafted by Diana.

The design and craftsmanship is extraordinary as is my commitment to protecting the environment. My designs maintain high standards of sustainability and adherence to the strict policies set out by the Green Burial Society of Canada.

I am offering 3 versions of my shroud. The first shroud is the Budget model which has all  size and features of the Basic model without the reinforced carrying straps but has 3 ties to keep everything together. The Basic Shroud is the standard for shrouds. The deluxe model takes the basic model and adds an extra inner layer of absorbent material in addition to extra stitching and gusseting.