Green Burial: Are teens digging it?


Graphic courtesy of Canva.

Carina McCallum, Opinion Editor

Humans never stop impacting the environment – even after death –  so funeral directors and scientists around the world are developing new environmentally friendly alternatives to current funeral options. 

Globally, young morticians are challenging the current standard for funerals and mortuary proceedings. They’re creating new solutions that are more cost-effective and environmentally friendly – but there is one challenge that they have all had to face: legalization. 

Andrew Lee, a freshman at Emmaus High School, likes the idea of legalizing green funeral options. 

“I don’t see why it shouldn’t be legal. Not everyone has to do it, so why not?” Lee said.

After centuries of traditions, public opinion of new options can be difficult to sway. The most popular option for those pushing for eco-friendly choices is green burial. Green burial has similar factors to traditional burial, but without the use of chemicals. Without these chemicals, there is more decay, however no toxins are released into the ground.

Many aren’t fond of this idea. Megan Pires, a freshman at Emmaus High School isn’t partial to burial without embalming. 

“I would rot and stink,” Pires said. She admits that it didn’t leave a great first impression, adding, “My initial reaction was just ‘ew’.”

Some people do hold differing opinions, however. The New York Times reports that nearly 54 percent of Americans would consider green burial. Additionally, they say 72 percent of countries have experienced an increase in demand for green burial and other eco-friendly options. 

Priya Mancheril, 9th grader at Emmaus High School holds the idea of a modest green burial in high regard. 

“I would do it. If I’m dead, why would it matter if I got a big burial? Why can’t I just go all-natural,” Mancheril said. 

  With rising approval, the number of funeral homes with green burial options rise as well. There are currently over 300 green burial cemeteries in the US and Canada. Pennsylvania is home to 24 Green Burial Council-approved funeral homes. 

Evan Bartlomei, a student at Emmaus High school, is interested in green funeral options. 

“I would say yeah. It’s a neat idea,” Bartlomei said.  

While green burial has been given a legal ‘go ahead,’ other environmentally beneficial options have not. The state government in California has shelved a new bill that offered the legalization of composting human remains. Options that are seen as strange or unusual have little chance of becoming legal without a fight. 

Many people take issue with this notion. Vanessa Owusu-Anim supports the legalization of green-death options. 

“It’s worth being legalized, because the Earth isn’t exactly getting any younger. It’s a more safe chance to get the Earth back on track,” Owusu-Anim said. 

With green mortuary options gaining more and more momentum, it’s only a matter of time before courts are filled with bills regarding the legality of eccentric burial options. This leaves consumers with only one question; would you invest in a green death?