Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Photo Competition Winners & Honorable Mentions Announced

At the end of 2013 we invited supporters of the green burial movement to participate in the Green Burial Council's inaugural Photo Competition. We asked participants to submit images of nature that demonstrate the interconnectedness of flora, fauna, and humanity with life and death. We were particularly interested in images that illustrate the benefits of green burial grounds and how they are more than just cemeteries for communities. They serve as nature preserves for individuals to enjoy all aspects of nature (hiking, bird watching, picnicking, photography, flora and fauna identification, etc.)

After wrapping up the Competition and tallying the judges votes, we are pleased to share the winning entry, honorable mentions, and a few submissions that were just too good to not share with our friends and supporters!


GBC certified Our Lady of the Rosary Cemetery & Prayer Gardens
Photo by: Carolyn King, OLRC Monument Coordinator 
"This picture, taken at Our Lady of the Rosary Cemetery & Prayer Gardens, is one that exemplified the coming together of our beautiful natural surroundings and the opportunity for our visitors to reflect on the regeneration of life not only through the process of regeneration of plants and animals but through the spiritual renewal of the Resurrection of life. In the background of this picture you see the focal point of the cemetery, the Resurrection Cross. This cross was created and forged by our owner, Nick Brumder. It is a constant and vivid reminder to all of us the promise of what is to come. At this burial site, and all throughout the property, you have wildflowers that were scattered by the family at our yearly All Souls' Mass and the natural xeriscaped grounds that preserve the natural beauty of our Texas environment. Whether it be walking our many nature trails, or visiting the pond area that is a certified "Habitat for Butterflies," we provide our families not only a place to bury their loved ones, but a quiet contemplative place to come and celebrate the life of those they loved."
-Roberta Buchanan and Carolyn King 


Natural Burial Site
GBC certified Joshua Tree Memorial Park
Photo by: Kasey Scott

The Grove GBC certified Duck Run Natural Cemetery 
Photo by: Joe Jennelle

Memory Bench
GBC Certified White Eagle Memorial Preserve

Photo by: Judy Todd

The bench is located at the burial site of the founder of Ekone Ranch, in whose honor White Eagle Memorial Preserve Cemetery began in 2008.

GBC certified 
Duck Run Natural Cemetery 
Photo by: Joe Jennelle

Additional Exemplary Submissions

Mystery Place
GBC Certified White Eagle Memorial Preserve
Photo by: Judy Todd


Maise Trail 
GBC certified Duck Run Natural Cemetery 
Photo by: Joe Jennelle

Please visit the Green Burial Council Facebook, tumblr, and twitter to like and share these beautiful photographs with friends! 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Green Burial Council Fall 2013 Photo Contest

Photo Contest: Rules, Terms and Conditions
The Green Burial Council (GBC) invites all photographers to enter its Fall 2013 Photo Contest. You must read the following rules, terms and legal conditions before submitting any photos!
The GBC Fall 2013 Photo Contest (henceforth referred to as the "Contest") is open to ALL photographers at least 18 years of age, regardless of residence or citizenship, so long as the laws of their jurisdiction allow participation.
We are looking for images of nature that demonstrate the interconnectedness of flora, fauna, and humanity with life and death. We are particularly interested in images that illustrate the benefits of green burial grounds- show us how these areas are more than just cemeteries. You may include portraits of wildlife, plant life, weather, seasons, people enjoying nature (hiking, picnicking, bird watching), etc.
Please note that if you choose to include people in your photo submission, you are responsible for obtaining the necessary releases from the individuals depicted, and must be able to provide copies of those releases to the GBC upon request. Entrants must not submit images that involve damage to the environment by the photographer, put any individual or animal in danger, or infringe on the rights of any other photographer or person.
All images must be submitted via email to with the subject line “GBC Photo Competition Submission.” Please be sure to include your name, email and other information about the photo (what is it depicting, location, etc.)
You can email an image directly via attachment, or submit images by sending a link to Dropbox, Flickr, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr and Twitter, for consideration in the contest. 
To ensure eligibility for the contest all entries must be the work and property of the individual submitting the photograph.
Entries may originate in any format so long as they are submitted electronically. Previously published material for which non-exclusive rights were granted may be entered as long as you still maintain the right to grant us a license (see "Your Rights" below). You must be able to disclose when and where the photo appeared previously to the Green Burial Council upon request.
Images will be judged on originality, technical excellence, composition, overall impact and artistic merit. The judges are a panel of Green Burial Council staff members and board of directors.
All decisions made by the judges are final.
Deadline for submitting entries is 11:59 PM Pacific Daylight Time on November 28, 2013.
Winners will be announced in mid-December 2013.
The Green Burial Council reserves the right to adjust any deadline(s) as the result of causes beyond its immediate control.
The judging panel will select approximately 5 photos to be the contest’s Winner and Honorable Mentions.
The grand-prize winner's image will be featured on the Green Burial Council website, social media sites, and upcoming newsletter. The winner and honorable mentions will all receive a certificate and a GBC “regeneration” t-shirt.
By submitting your photograph, you grant the Green Burial Council rights (as described below) to your photograph.
By submitting your photograph to the competition, you grant the Green Burial Council a royalty-free, nonexclusive right, in perpetuity, to:
  • Use the photograph on the Internet in support of our mission.
  • Use the photograph in the Green Burial Council’s non-commercial communications.
  • Provide your photograph to other individuals and organizations for non-commercial use, GBC-related use in news stories, newsletters, reports, slide shows, displays, web pages, and the like.
  • Use, in connection with the Photo Contest, your name, city, state and country of residence in promotions and other publications.
  • Keep the files provided, and to archive the images on CD or in other electronic forms, so that your photos can be used to support our mission and be properly credited.
As conditions of this permission, the Green Burial Council shall credit all photographs with the caption "© Person's Name" when the full name is available.

Questions and inquiries about contest rules can be emailed to

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Spotlight: 2013 Leadership Award Recipient

In this month's spotlight series we are pleased to announce that the Green Burial Council (GBC) has named Shari Wolf recipient of its 2013 Leadership Award, which is given annually to individuals demonstrating an extraordinary commitment to helping funeral service meet the changing needs of people and the planet.

Shari Wolfe, GBC Board treasurer
Beginning as a volunteer for the organization in 2009, Wolf went on to take over responsibilities associated with provider relations and eventually all operational activities. She resigned her position this past year to become GBC board member/treasurer and to devote more time to her groundbreaking funeral practice, “Natural Grace.”

“Shari has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to our cause in measureable and impactful ways,” said Green Burial Council founder, Joe Sehee.  “The growth of the GBC is a direct result of the foundation she was able to establish and it was fueled by Shari’s incredible passion for this work.”

Wolf’s commitment to seeing eco-friendly options become more widely available led her to establish one of the nation’s first exclusively eco-friendly funerals establishments and the only such facility in Southern California.  In addition to providing environmentally sustainable options, Natural Grace encourages participation by the clients it serves through “home” and “family-directed” funerals.

“I try to get families to understand that we’re only there to do whatever they prefer not to do for themselves,” said Wolf.  “And I support them in doing anything they deem to be meaningful, appropriate for their financial circumstances, and aligned with their values and beliefs.” For a more in-depth look at Shari's work, check out this interview. 

Comprised of approximately 350 “approved providers” cemeteries, funeral homes and product manufacturers operating in 43 states and 6 provinces, the Green Burial Council* is the standard-bearer and steward of the green burial movement in North America thanks to the hard work and dedication of individuals like Shari. We are lucky to have her as a member of the GBC and a champion of the green burial movement! 

To learn more about the Green Burial Council, its staff, members, and supporters, and mission, check us out on Facebook, twitter, and tumblr

*The GBC is the only organization with an eco-certification program for the funeral service industry based on verifiable standards. 

Friday, July 19, 2013

What can we do about global warming?

Happy Friday fellow environmentalists!

It is fitting that as we endeavor to endure the anticipated triple digit heat wave that has engulfed many areas of the US, I am blogging about a fun song guessed it, climate change!

A couple of months ago Oliver Swingler, a talented writer and musician, sent me the most interesting facebook message I may have ever received. The lyrics to a song addressing the question what can we do about global warming?

Sung to the tune of "what can we do with the drunken sailor," the catchy lyrics offer an innovative way to share ideas on environmentally friendly activities to a general audience. Try singing the lyrics below with the music playing in the background.

And if you are in for a real treat, you can watch & listen to the song being sung by Oliver and the Making Waves choir 

What can we do about global warming?
What can we do about global warming?
What can we do about global warming?
Shrink our carbon footprint! 

1. Walk, cycle, bus and train
Car share, avoid the plane
Holiday at home, learn to love the rain
Shrink our carbon footprint!

2. Insulate homes and get them lined
Stop oil, gas and coal being mined
Use tidal, solar, wind and find we’ll
Shrink our carbon footprint!


3. Organic, local, seasonal eating
Recycle, mend, turn down the heating
Share, cooperate, stop competing
Shrink our carbon footprint!

Watch out! The seas are rising
Cry out! The seas are rising
Bale out! The seas are rising
Save our lovely planet!

4. Don’t believe the greenwash, keep on prying
Tax millionaires, stop envy buying
Climate change deniers, they’re all lying
Shrink our carbon footprint!

We can do a lot about global warming
We can do a lot about global warming
We can do a lot about global warming
Save our lovely planet!

Lyrics by Oliver Swingler and Making Waves choir, Cullercoats, UK – Version 3 March 2013

I personally loved the Captain Planet theme song when I was growing up. Along with watching FernGully often enough to quote the movie, yearly camping trips in upstate NY, and weekly- if not daily- adventures in & around Forest Park, the Captain Planet song likely served as a subconscious foundation for my flourishing environmental ethic. 

As any child of the 90s can attest, pretending to be a planeteer was part of a rotation of fun role-play activities- right up there with batman & robin, cops & robbers, cowboys & indians, ninjas, pirates, mortal combat, aliens, you name it! 

The Captain Planet theme resonated so strongly with so many that there is now a Planeteer Movement you can join & interact with other Planeteers across various social media sites. 

Do you have a song or childhood memory that inspires you to protect the environment and reduce your carbon footprint? Let us know in the comments section below! 

For more updates on the Green Burial movement, check us out on Facebook & Twitter; and if you have an idea for a future blog post that you'd like to see, leave us a comment or send us an email at 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

GBC cemeteries donate burial plots for "A Will for the Woods" Kickstarter Campaign

The Green Burial Council is pleased to announce that 17 certified cemeteries have generously donated a burial plot in their beautiful preserves as a reward for pledging to "A Will for the Woods" Kickstarter campaign.
For those who are unfamiliar, Kickstarter is a crowd sourcing website used to fund creative projects; from video games, to new technology, to art and films, Kickstarter helps bring projects, big and small, to fruition.

Since its launch in 2009, Kickstarter has funded over 44,000 projects, backed by over 4.4 million people donating over $690 million USD.

The first feature length film on the green burial movement, "A Will for the Woods" has introduced the public to the idea of helping save natural areas and conserve resources through sustainable burial practices. The film has garnered great reviews since its premiere at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival in April, and is now preparing to screen in festivals & cities across the country! The film has been funded thus far largely by its 4 directors and almost two dozen private donors. The Kickstarter campaign will help back the film for finishing funds and will aid in the implementation of an extensive grassroots distribution campaign. One of the rewards is a pre-order of the DVD!

Don't miss the opportunity to play a role in fostering the green burial movement and leaving a positive impact on our environment! 

Scroll below for a glimpse at some of the breathtaking views from the nature preserve cemeteries that are donating burial plots as higher-tiered rewards:

Harrisonburg, Virginia

Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

Portland, Oregon

Newfield, New York 

Eastover, South Carolina

For more updates on the Green Burial movement, check us out on Facebook & Twitter; and if you have an idea for a future blog post that you'd like to see, leave us a comment or send us an email at 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Update on Green Burial Movement!

In anticipation of A Will for the Woods' big weekend at AFI Docs in Washington, DC, we'd like to share some GBC news: 

Statistical Review

A team of researchers at the GBC has recently reviewed commonly used statistics to describe the environmental impact of American funeral and burial practices; specifically the manufacturing/use of caskets, vaults, and embalming fluid. 
We created a great visual aid to illustrate our findings: 

The GBC’s next area of research will focus on ecological issues associated with the maintenance of conventional cemeteries, particularly the use of water, pesticides/herbicides, and mowing.

Organizational Growth
The number of GBC “approved providers” in North America has grown from 1 in 2006, to 340 today, operating in 41 states and 6 provinces of Canada (this includes funeral homes, burial grounds, and product providers).  

The GBC is expanding its role as lead steward of the green burial movement with the founding of a new tax-exempt, nonprofit organization, Green Burial Council International (GBCI). GBCI will be responsible for program areas outside of certification such as public education, technical assistance and research.  It also aims to support green burial movements in other countries and work toward the establishment of global standards for green burial. We look forward to bringing you the latest news and updates on GBCI! 

If you have any questions regarding assumptions and calculations from the statistical review, tweet us @greenburial_org send us an email, or message us on Facebook!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Spotlight: Samuel Bar, GBC Director of Compliance

This week we will be kicking off our series of posts featuring GBC staff, volunteers, & board members. Today we bring you “Spotlight: Samuel Bar, Director of Compliance.”

In his role as Director of Compliance, Sam analyzes material safety data sheets and associated documentation required from manufacturers for GBC certification of caskets and urns.  Trained as an industrial engineer, Sam is skilled in both sustainable manufacturing techniques and lean process integration.

We wish we could say that we sat down and had a face-to-face chat with Samuel, but he is a Peace Corps volunteer working in… Southern Africa! Via long distance communication Monica was able to learn details of Sam’s work.

For the past year and a half Samuel has been living in Alto Molocue, Province of Zambezia, Mozambique. For those who are unfamiliar, Alto Molocue is a small city of about 40,000 people located along the banks of the Molocue River. Portuguese colonists settled the city over 100 years ago: they built the bridge and dam, the secondary school, church, monastery, water tower, and various other buildings. The national language is Portugese, although the native language in this region is Elomwe.

Sam tells us that after the Portugese left in the 1980's, the town, along with the county, fell apart during the civil war, leaving many abandoned buildings. Since then, the city and its people have been on the slow path to recovery. A few years ago the Mozambiquean government paved the national highway (which goes through the town) and as a result Alto has boomed: there is a cashew factory, corn flower factory, tobacco plantation, district hospital, teacher training institute, and an expanded secondary school where Sam teaches:

“There, I am a 10th grade French teacher, which has been both an amazing challenge and fantastic learning experience. Though I arrived and was trained as a Physics teacher, my school really lacked for French teachers, so teaching a foreign language in a foreign language has become my norm. The school has almost 5000 students divided into morning, afternoon, and evening classes. 60 to 90 students form each turma, which is a group of students that have all the same classes together in the same classroom. Depending on their grade level, they can have 8-10 different subjects/teachers a week. Since I'm not the first Peace Corps volunteer at my school, I've been able to take advantage of the hard work that was done by my predecessors; including the school's library, computer lab, canteen, and champion English club.”

Aside from teaching, Samuel dedicates time to creating exciting extracurricular activities for his students to participate in:
“As my passion is in the sciences, I have become very involved in the "Science Fair" project, which is a nation-wide series of events that promote the use of the scientific method for investigative and innovative projects. After last year's efforts, and successes, I was selected as the National Coordinator for the program, which has been an amazing experience in inter-governmental relations.
My pet project in Alto Molocue has been a scout troop, which I started last year with another teacher at my school. Going on hiking trips and getting kids to do volunteer work has been the best part of my job, though eating the s'mores is a close second.”

Sam is not only a wonderful asset to the Green Burial Council, Peace Corps & residents of Alto Molocue, he is also an enthusiastic environmentalist who thrives to live his life sustainably everyday. During Earth Week Sam showed his GBC friends back in the states how he uses recycled water to water his garden: 

If you'd like to know more about Sam's work and adventures, check out his Mo-sam-bique! Tune in for our next feature, to be posted later this week! 

As always, check us out on Facebook & Twitter; and if you have an idea for a future blog post that you'd like to see, leave us a comment or send us an email at