The burial business is big money, and it's terrible for the environment -- at least as its been practiced by Western culture for several hundred years. With the Boomer generation about to create a major spike in burials, it seems like a great time to explore alternatives to formaldehyde, burning, or boxes. Lo and behold, here is The Green Burial Guidebook answering all of our questions and offering environmentally friendly options for our consideration.

"Funeral expenses in the United States average more than $10,000. And every year conventional funerals bury millions of tons of wood, concrete, and metals, as well as millions of gallons of carcinogenic embalming fluid." (from the New World Library website)

This succinct and clear guidebook gives the reader all the tools she needs to become an advocate for green burial, which is legal in all 50 states. I had no idea that what we call green burial today would have been known as traditional burial until the 20th century. At its core, in a green burial the body is either left in its natural state or embalmed with non-toxic, formaldehyde-free fluids. Only biodegradable materials are used, such as natural-fiber shrouds and caskets made of pine, wicker, bamboo, or paper; the body is in direct contact with the earth.

Planning one's funeral can be fun, or depressing. Making the decision to return to a gentler way of returning to the earth seems like a very good idea in either case. This Guidebook will be your companion all through the journey.

Highly recommended.

~review by Lisa Mc Sherry

Author: Elizabeth Fournier
New World Library, 2018
208 pages, $15.95