House considering green burial minimum depth
MIDDLBEURY — The House has just passed bill H.3 in the Vermont Legislature. The bill establishes a minimum depth of 3.5 feet for green burial, a depth which maximizes the impact of the body to enrich the soil. Governor Scott is expected to sign the bill into law next week.
Michelle Acciavatti, citizen advocate for H.3 and end-of-life specialist, will be in Middlebury to speak about green burial on Thursday, May 11, at 7 p.m., at Champlain Valley Unitarian Society, 2 Duane Ct., in Middlebury
In Green Burial: A New/Old End Of Life Option, Acciavatti discusses this positive way to respect our environment compared to traditional casket/burial vaults and toxic cremation. A brief documentary “Dying Green” will precede her presentation. The film is a fascinating account of a movement in a small town in South Carolina, which culminated in the establishment of a beautiful, park-like natural burial ground.
The H.3 measure rides on the back of Act 25, the Natural Burial Ground Act, passed in 2015, which defines the terms for “green burial”. Among them are the use of a biodegradable container or shroud, no use of vaults of any kind, no embalming and no pesticides. No mowing is required at green burial sites. All these are designed to contribute to ecologically sound land management practices. It is a return to the way our forebears cared for their dead for thousands of years with simple biodegradable materials. H.3 and Act 25 open the door to a new/old end of life option.
New laws alone won’t make green burial readily available, however. Vermonters desiring a green burial will need to advocate for this option with cemetery commissioners and educate their fellow citizens.
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