The passing of loved ones can be an unreal burden.

Let's face it, funerals are big business. There's a lot that goes on with handling people who've passed, both legally and sanitarily. Since it's such a specialized business, the fees can be astronomical. Between caskets or cremation, cemetery plots, headstones, and the cement crypts  folks are placed in, it can cost thousands.

Not to mention, it's quite a carbon footprint. The amount of chemicals used, fuel used for all the transportation and digging at the site. Just the act of cremating a body uses almost 30 gallons of fuel, according to Maine Public. That's huge. But the real kicker here is the savings, in my opinion. The Kennebec Land Trust has helped with a new option.

A typical funeral/burial can easily put a dent in $10,000.

For some people, this just isn't feasible. And Mainers are already being cremated more often than not. To the total of some 80% of us. So the green option becomes more viable for all the right reasons. The Baldwin Hill Conservation Cemetery in Fayette, is the latest spot to join this growing movement. So far, 6 people have chosen this as their end-of-life spot, and there are a couple hundred more to fill.

So what is a "green burial"?

It's not a new concept, and it's gaining a lot more momentum. Sure, it's not for everyone, and it's not like it's free. But it does come in at roughly 15% of the cost of a more traditional funeral arrangement. And some funeral homes are catering to the idea by offering organic burial shrouds, or simple pine box.

At the site, folks are simply buried in shallow graves about 30 inches deep. It's almost like the concept of composting, frankly. Pine boughs are placed in the bottom, and family members are invited to also include any biodegradable items they may want to include. Then the body is just covered and allowed to decompose naturally over time.

In this day and age, it's a neat way to literally turn back into the dust from which we all came. Besides, when your time comes, you won't know whether someone spent all their money, or put you in a box in the ground. But doing something good for the planet as your parting gift to the word, ain't so bad.

Why don't we lighten the mood just a smidge, eh?

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