Green Burial in the Eastern Sierra

Green burial allows our form here, our bodies, to decompose naturally with the Earth elements.

Why Choose a Green Burial?
From a NY Times article: “Here is what Americans put in the ground each year through traditional burials: 20 million feet of wood, 4.3 million gallons of embalming fluids, 1.6 million tons of reinforced concrete, 17,000 tons of copper and bronze, and 64,500 tons of steel, according to the Green Burial Council.

Green burials eliminate much of this waste by leaving out almost all of those materials; most bodies are simply wrapped in shrouds made from a biodegradable material like cotton and placed in the ground. And although cremations often have the reputation as being an eco-friendly option, they tend to have an outsize carbon footprint.”

Details of Green Burial
The body will not be pumped full of embalming chemicals. Our beloved body will be wrapped in a burial shroud of our choosing (including who does the wrapping) and will be placed directly in the ground or in a biodegradable coffin (wicker is one of those choices). For a good resource on planning the details of your death and dying journey and choices, see Advance Directive for Conscious Dying as a template for your wishes to be honored. And feel free to contact me as an End of Life Doula to hold space for and assist you with your planning.

Eastern Sierra Cemeteries That Allow Green Burial
As of this writing, Pioneer Cemetery in Bishop does not have a place for green burial. Your phone calls and requests may change their mind on this. (760) 872-4481
Inyo County–Big Pine Cemetery (call to confirm if interested)
Mono County–all cemeteries are possible green burial sites as they do not require a vault underground. Call to confirm and make arrangements.

Costs
According to my talk with our local Brune Mortuary, a wicker casket costs approximately $1600 through them, and that can be ordered at the time their services are required. Our local mortuary also works with a wholesale place in Visalia for grave markers, and can get just about anything you’d like, including stone markers. But of course, you can provide your own biodegradable casket, marker, etc. Price for space in cemeteries varies with location.

Urns Northwest is one possible resource for biodegradable caskets and shrouds. The even have a DIY bamboo casket kit. 🙂

Resources for Green Burial and Home Funerals
A beautiful blogpost re Katya’s choice for a green burial
Brune Mortuary in Bishop has good, local information
The Green Burial Council
Home Funeral Information