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Sharon Hunter - October 2021

What is a Green Funeral?

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Dear Mother Earth...

I know you’ve got a huge amount on your plate right now, but if you can spare a moment, I wanted to tell you a bit about Great Goodbyes. In the spirit of everyone doing their part, we’re quietly chuffed at the change we helping to make.

There are few things harder than death and the crushing loss that it brings. When we’re thrust into arranging a funeral it’s easy to fall back on doing things the way they’ve always been done, without questioning if it still makes any sense.

Somewhere along the line, death went and got all corporate, and it’s been hard on our planet. We needed a flashier casket than our neighbour (I can actually feel you rolling your eyes). We wanted the body presented so it looked perfect, like nothing had gone wrong and we got a bit put off by all that emotion and grief. Across time we lost the skills and confidence to handle death within our families and communities.

Slowly things are changing.

There are some really motivated people making a new way possible with emerging trends for greener funerals. Some are designing caskets that use renewable resources, free from resins, glues and varnishes. Others are advocating for less chemical embalming to stop the toxic load of formaldehyde entering your ecosystem. Then there’s the new bio cremation method getting some traction, the death doulas helping us have better conversations about the end of life, and much more. It’s really exciting, and we’re thrilled to be part of the club.

It will take time, and it won’t suit everyone. Not straight away at least. For many there is comfort and sacredness in old traditions and rituals. But others are ready right now, and they’ll go all in given the chance. The only thing in their way is lack of understanding, and that’s where Great Goodbyes come in.

"In the spirit of everyone doing their part, we’re quietly chuffed at the change we helping to make."

We believe Great Goodbyes can be a catalyst for change, not only as an advocate for greener funerals, but by encouraging people to get more involved, and to make end of life celebrations more personal. When we don’t hand over all the funeral arrangements to someone else we learn what’s possible, and we also find out the old ways aren’t sustainable and have to change.

People are overwhelmed by the many things that must change to protect you. They don’t realise choosing environmentally kind funerals is one of the simplest decisions they can take to make a difference. Great Goodbyes will help get them there. Someday soon the badge of honour won’t be how expensive the casket was, but how lightly the earth was touched as we left it. We think of it as Going Out Green.

You’re in our thoughts, always.

Love, Great Goodbyes

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