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Thursday 23 March 2023

Our Unique (Carbon) Funeral Footprint

Have you ever thought about having an eco-friendly funeral?

The human species has the unique ability to shape the environment in which they live. As humans, we are able to alter landscapes, exploit natural resources, and emit pollutants that contribute to climate change. This ability also comes with a responsibility to ensure that the impact we make is as sustainable as physically possible. This is where eco-friendly funerals come into the picture. How do you live? How do you want to leave this earthly plain? In a plume of smoke? In a vault?

The funeral industry is an area where our uniqueness as humans and our lasting impact on the environment is particularly relevant. Traditional funeral practices, including the use of embalming chemicals, non-biodegradable caskets, and burial vaults, often have a significant environmental impact. This has led to a growing movement towards more sustainable funeral practices.

By embracing our uniqueness as humans and considering our personal values and beliefs, we can make informed choices about our end-of-life arrangements that align with our environmental values. This can include opting for more eco-friendly funeral options, choosing a final resting place that aligns with our values, or engaging in green burial practices.

As mentioned earlier, traditional funeral practices can have a significant environmental impact. However, there are now many eco-friendly options available, such as natural burial, alkaline hydrolysis and terramation (human composting). These options can minimize the use of harmful chemicals and reduce the carbon footprint of the funeral.

    Consider donating your body to science
    Donating your body to science can be a meaningful way to contribute to scientific research and education. This can help advance medical knowledge and potentially lead to new disease treatments.
      Support conservation efforts
      You can leave a lasting legacy by supporting conservation efforts through your will or estate plan. This can include donating money to environmental organizations or leaving property for conservation purposes.
        Opt for a greener funeral
        Green funerals can include choosing a natural burial that involves placing the body in a biodegradable coffin or shroud and burying it in a natural setting, such as a meadow or forest. Doing this can help promote biodiversity and support local ecosystems.
        Another way is to arrange for the funeral service to be held at a park or a green graveyard to reduce our carbon footprint, with the casket brought via a hearse bicycle, as seen recently in France. 

        Cutting down on travel for guests can likewise help reducewith our carbon footprint. Using seeded paper or biodegradable printed items during the service can also help. 

        For more ideas on creating a move environmentally friendly funeral see our blog post on an Eco Funeral 

        Reduce waste and consumption during your life: By living a sustainable lifestyle during your life, you can minimize your environmental impact and leave a smaller footprint after you pass away. This can include reducing waste, conserving resources, and supporting eco-friendly products and practices.

        Ultimately, recognizing our uniqueness as humans, we in the funeral industry can help create more meaningful and personalized end-of-life experiences that reflect the individuality of our clients while also minimizing our environmental impact.

        What do you think? Would you go green at the end?

        Friday 10 March 2023

        Barbara Kemmis: All Things Mental Health


        Losing someone and mourning that loss can take a toll on the mental health of the people who are left behind. This is especially true during the pandemic, when cremation disposal is on the rise.  Relatives gathering for the celebration of life gathering was very limited.

        Even now when the effects of the pandemic have waned, cremation is still on the rise, which could be understood as a result of lack of burial sites and financial constraints.  On the good side, though, the pandemic has brought a positive effect on mental health because it is openly discussed in society.

        Jennifer’s guest for this episode is Barbara Kemmis, the  Executive Director of  CANA and conversation will focus around mental health and how cremation has evolved since the pandemic. Stream the episode to learn about how you can take care of your mental health while grieving, and how you can support those who are struggling in their personal grief journey.

        • Does Barbara think that cremation will continue to grow after Covid?
        • Jennifer's thoughts on funerals and celebration of life
        • Barbara's experience participating in an online funeral for a distant relative in the Philippines
        • CANA's Focus Group research validation on direct cremation and cremation with service
        • Why does Jennifer think that funeral directors are losing it in terms of value servicing?
        • Thoughts on cremation as a threat to profitability of funeral providers
        • If there is such a thing as a positive outcome of the pandemic, it would be the increased openness on mental health
        • Why is mental health important in developing some kind of coping mechanism?
        • Funeral directors are complemented by event planners and celebrants in providing value to families
        •  CANA is now taking an interest in different forms of disposition


        Book mentioned by Jennifer - The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why It Matters by Priya Parker 

        Connect with Barbara Kemmis:

        Funeral Professionals Peer Support -

        Connect with Jennifer/The Glam Reaper:

        Friday 3 March 2023

        Jack Mitchell: Exceptional Learning and Networking with the President of NFDA


        In this episode of The Glam Reaper Podcast, Jennifer has an interesting conversation with the new President-elect of the NFDA (National Funeral Directors Association), Jack Mitchell. Jack is a sixth-generation funeral director with Mitchell-Wiedefeld Funeral Home in Baltimore, Maryland.

        Even at a young age and after being exposed to the family business, he already has that appreciation for what funeral directors do for people, and how helpful they are to people. Now as the new president-elect, he is looking to expand on the effort and the work of the association, especially where regulations are concerned.

        See for yourself how interesting the conversation turned out to be.  Enjoy!

        “The number one thing above all others that our members are telling us is their challenge, right now is simply getting good funeral directors.”  - Jack Mitchell


        - Jack Mitchell’s background and his journey to becoming the president-elect of the NFDA

        - Did Jack consider not following in his family's funeral service business?  

        - His experience attending the National Conventions then and now

        - How has COVID-19 affected Jack Mitchell’s ascendancy to the presidency of NFDA? 

        - What makes the theme for the Service Remembrance for the 2022 National Convention in Baltimore extra interesting and special? 

        - Jack's thoughts on having celebrants, other than the clergy, for the Service of Remembrance

        - As the new president of NFDA, what are Jack's goals and objectives for the organization?

        - How does Jack feel about his new role?

        - Jennifer's side story about how she found out about and how it can help someone learn which part in the world their DNA comes from

        Connect with Jack Mitchell:

        NFDA - Website - Facebook -

        Connect with Jennifer/The Glam Reaper: