Education

The Green Burial Council is a respected leader in the field of eco-friendly deathcare education. Representatives from the GBC have been privileged to address many industry trade groups in the US and Canada, including the National Funeral Director’s Association (NFDA), the International Cemetery, Cremation and Funeral Association (ICCFA), The Canadian Funeral Director’s Association (CFDA), The National Selected Independent Funeral Director’s Association (NSIFDA), and many state cemetery/funeral associations.

The GBC has also engaged in partnerships with land trusts, community conservation groups, and other environmental agencies to provide information regarding natural and conservation burial, including the Nature Conservancy and the Land Trust Alliance, as well as many local and state groups seeking to learn more about the possibilities for collaboration.

Our education advisors have researched and written the following materials for use by our providers and the public to help answer questions that are frequently asked about best practices, how-to’s, why’s, and much more. Check back often to see what’s new!


GBC Publications

Real Answers to Questions Real People Ask About Green Burial

Find out why animals don’t dig up graves, what dangers to water reserves don’t actually exist, and how long it really takes for bodies to fully decompose in this snapshot exposé of the most frequently asked questions in the green burial world.

On the Way to the Green Burial Cemetery: A Guide for Families

For many of us, what to do when someone dies is new territory. When they have chosen to be buried in a green cemetery, it may be particularly unfamiliar. This booklet is designed to walk families through prior to the experience so they won’t be surprised by what they are about to see and participate in.

Going Out Green: Four Ways to Ensure an Eco‐Friendly Burial

A detailed explanation of what you can do and what to look for when searching for green burial space.

Your Green Burial Planning Guide

A succinct, easy to use fill‐in worksheet that helps define goals, indicate preferences and choices, and identify persons designated to complete an individual’s final wishes.

The Science Behind Green Burial

From how bodies decompose to what the ramifications are on soil and water, this article discusses the major science-based concerns many people have regarding green burial.

10 Things You Can Say or Do to Promote Green Burial

Persuasive talking points and facts that support the concept at your fingertips.

Opening, Closing, and Maintenance of a Green Burial Grave

Though each green burial ground will have region‐specific soil, water, plant, animal habitat, and cultural differences and concerns, these basic suggestions may be useful when developing your cemetery’s procedures and protocols.

Start Up Tips for Green Burial Cemetery Operators

This bulleted one‐sheet is designed to help would‐be green cemetery operators parse out some of the appropriate and necessary steps to take in opening or converting cemetery space.

To Lie Down in Green Pastures: How the Catholic Church is Leading the way in Green Burial

The recent encyclical on nature and the environment by Pope Francis brought Catholic doctrine and the fast-moving trend toward green burial in Catholic cemeteries into alignment. Read why the Church is supporting and, in fact, leading the way by creating hallowed ground designated for unfettered, earth to earth, full body burial for the faithful.


Handouts for Your Next Presentation

Grave Science: Soil and Water

Excerpt of The Science Behind Green Burial that deals specifically with soil and water concerns.

Basic Tenets for Green Burial Cemeteries

One‐sheet handout that identifies shared characteristics of green burials, and addresses who wants a green burial how much it costs, and how to look for one.

The Case for Green Burials

One sheet informational presentation handout about green burial.

The Case for Home Funerals

One sheet informational presentation handout about home funerals.

Why Green Burial is a Veteran’s Issue

As the Veteran’s Administration considers opening green space in its national and state cemeteries, the GBC gets clear on why veterans deserve to have this option.

Why Home Funerals Matter to Our Veterans

The home funeral companion piece to Why Green Burial is a Veteran’s Issue, provided by the National Home Funeral Alliance (home funeralalliance.org).

Green Burial Glossary Terminology

Learning the terms used is a great first step in understanding natural burial. Contributions to the list are welcome.


Additional Resources and Information

Chart of State Requirements for Burial Depth; Distance from Water and Other Setback Requirements courtesy of NHFREA

Green BurialEducation