A Will for the Woods

Published: 
Wednesday, July 3, 2013

by Monica Lucas

A new documentary, A Will for the Woods, highlights a growing trend in what is known as “green burials.” The film follows the journey of Clark Wang, a man suffering from Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Clark aims to make his burial as non-intrusive to the environment as possible, and makes arrangements with the Green Burial Council to do so.

The Green Burial Council was launched with the help of PERC Enviropreneur Institute alum Joe Sehee. It is a non-profit, volunteer-driven organization that aims to expand the availability of green burials by certifying funeral operations to meet standards of minimum resource use. Certification standards are determined by a private group of lawyers, environmentalists, and scientists, and are voluntary to obtain. Demand for more natural burials has created the market for this green solution.

Traditional funeral services in the United States are resource intensive; burial plots are created by clearing an extensive area of land, and caskets and mausoleums use large amounts of highly valuable stone and wood. The Green Burial Council recognizes these costs and has been working to promote green burials across the United States. Green burials reduce the environmental impact that traditional funerals typically impose. They are simple ceremonies that take place in nature reserves and use native plants or field stones as grave markers. Now with more than 300 approved providers, green burials are on the rise.

The documentary showcases this environmental concern and purports a viable free-market solution. Watch the trailer above, or read Joe Sehee’s PERC Reports article, “Green Burial: It’s Only Natural.”