FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, June 22nd
CONTACT: Dido Clark, Ph.D
Natural Transitions & Green Burial Boulder County
720 771 3813
Glaring Eco-Friendly Funeral “Green Gap” in Boulder County
Green Burial Boulder County and Natural Transitions present a film screening of “Dying Green.” This will be held at the Main Branch of the Boulder Public Library (1001 Arapahoe Ave, Boulder, CO 80302, on Wednesday, June 24th 6:00-7:45pm in the Arapahoe Conference Room. It’s a free screening about reducing your final footprint. Afterwards, there will be discussion about green burial and its possibilities in the City and County of Boulder.
As the groundswell for green and natural burial begins to grow in the area, Green Burial Boulder County and Natural Transitions are raising awareness of what they call the “green gap.” The City of Boulder, long a leader in green initiatives, recently became only the third city in the country to require recycling and composting citywide.
Yet in terms of burial, it lags far behind so many other parts of the country, even areas that are close by. Residents have only to stray into nearby Fort Collins, in Larimer County, to find cemeteries where they can choose to have a green burial. At present there are zero green burial cemeteries listed for either the City or County of Boulder.
This does not seem to be due to lack of demand. In a recent article in the New York Times called “The Rise of Back-to-the-Basics Funerals. Baby Boomers Are Drawn to Green and Eco-Friendly Funerals,” it is estimated that about a quarter of baby boomers are interested in this option.
“It’s truly mystifying. It’s 2015, but I don’t have the option to be buried in an eco-friendly way when I die if I want to buried in the county I live in,” says Karen van Vuuren, Executive Director of Natural Transitions, a non-profit dedicated to providing education on conscious, holistic, and green approaches to end of life, including family-directed home-based after-death care also known as “home funerals.” Natural Transitions, based in the City of Boulder, has for many years been supporting individual and non-profit initiatives who have tried to start green cemeteries, especially in Boulder County and Colorado as a whole.
Daniel Ziskin, of Green Burial Boulder County adds, “The City of Boulder, which has laudible zero waste and carbon reduction goals but the lack of opportunities for green burial, is living with a huge gap. Green cemeteries, and even hybrid cemeteries (where you can choose a section of a conventional cemetery in which green burial is allowed) are safe, and, of course, sustainable for the planet.”
Let’s take a quick look at the cost of conventional (non-green) burial here in Boulder County. According to estimates, this is just some of what goes straight into the ground per year in Boulder County:
- Enough concrete for about 90 average sized family homes (this goes to form the vault over a coffin—designed to maintain that even golf-course look).
- Enough wood in board feet to build about 10 average sized family homes. The wood used instead for coffins is usually exotic, such as mahogany, often imported great distances from unsustainable logging areas, such as the Amazon rainforest. The finishes are commonly toxic.
- Enough formaldehyde to fill 90 bathtubs (formalin, another carcinogen, is injected into corpses to provide a pink “lifelike” skin tone for open viewing).
And here is what goes straight into the atmosphere from cremations:
- The equivalent of driving nearly 32 cars in Boulder County. Figures from California suggest that an astonishingly high 5% of carbon dioxide emissions are due to cremations. This suggests that about 350,000 lbs (160 metric tons) of carbon dioxide are released into the atmosphere per year from cremations alone in Boulder County.
It’s time for choice, it’s time for change.