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Friday, April 18, 2008

An Interview with Joe Sehee

With the exception of Billy and Kimberley Campbell, no one has done more to advance the cause of green burial in this country than Joe Sehee.

Joe's the executive director of the Green Burial Council, a non-profit organization based in Santa Fe that's both promoting natural burial and keeping it honest. To that end, the Council has established standards that cemeteries must meet in order to be considered true green and will soon release similar standards for crematories and burial products, including caskets.

In last week's post, we looked at the Council's new certification program for funeral homes.

What I like most about the Council's work, and this program in particular, is that it welcomes the participation of the funeral industry in the green burial movement. Joe believes -- as I do -- that the mainstream funeral industry can play a role in the greening of the American Way of Death. Many of the directors I've met are sympathetic to the idea of the natural burial, after all; many more simply accept the fact that they'd be wise to offer the eco goods and services that families in their communities will increasingly request. Instead of demonizing the industry, the Council seeks to educate it in the ways of green burial and, in the process, help it grow.

The interview in the clip above comes compliments of Funeral Gurus, a Canadian web portal where funeral professionals can share ideas about and experiences in the dismal trade. It was taken at the recent annual convention of the International Cemetery, Cremation and Funeral Association (ICCFA), where Joe was chairing a panel on "going green." Here, Joe talks about the Green Burial Council's work and how the funeral industry can join the movement to green up end of life practices.

Mark Harris
Author, Grave Matters (


ottero58 said...

Yes Joe is defintely among the trailblazers for natural burial education. You are also a trailblazer. I am in the next group, the pioneer, we will follow that trail and the unknown will become known and we will establish and we will grow. We must all teach and spread the message of natural burial.

I also want to extend a challenge to all who read this blog and have an interest in being actively involved in spreading the message of Natural Burial or Home Natural Death Care.

I challenge you, if you choose to accept it, by April 27th you must make contact with a local funeral director and talk with them about how they will answer the questions of the families who inquire about Natural Burial options including Home Natural Death Care. A funeral home could still assist a family in the home environment who wants this option of care. Also don't forget to give The Green Burial Council as a resource for information. The funeral home can find out how to become a green provider and get listed with the Green Burial Council.

A first contact by phone is good but set up a meeting if you can to talk with the funeral director. Post the results of your meeting here........take care all....Jim


ottero58 said...

I have made contact with Milton Heard the funeral director of Hart's Mortuary here in downtown Macon. We have a meeting scheduled for Wed. morning to discuss natural burial.

Take care all.....Jim


Anonymous said...

Hi, Jim,
Thanks for checking in. Actually, I spoke to a group of funeral directors two weeks ago. They seemed interested in learning more about green burial/home funeral options, although few had said families in the area were requesting them. I did encourage them to add green burial goods and services to their price lists for those families who will eventually, I believe, want them. I also directed them to the Green Burial Council and know a few did. Thanks for your efforts and good luck with Summerland, Jim.

Mark Harris

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Facebook page for the book on green burial, Grave Matters, with updates on the growing movement.