GREEN BURIAL CEMETARIES IN CALIFORNIA
GREEN BURIAL CEMETERIES IN CALIFORNIA
To the best of our knowledge, the list below includes cemeteries that are permitted to accommodate green burial in the conventional section of their cemetery or have a portion of their land dedicated to green burial. Currently, California has no conservation burial grounds. Conservation burial grounds are the ultimate in green burial because they use green burial to permanently protect, preserve, and steward areas of land that are large enough to be considered a valid conservation effort.
- San Luis Cemetery (San Luis Obispo): This conventional cemetery provides a selected area for green burials. Requirements include no embalming; no vault; no metal. Prefer a natural fiber cloth shroud; will consider certain caskets. A permanent marker must be used. Plots are $2,400, opening and closing of the grave is $1,200, and the endowment fee is $400. Contact: 805-543-7053
- Joshua Tree Memorial Park Joshua Tree, CA): This cemetery is located near the Joshua Tree National Park and has a small section set aside from its conventional cemetery to accommodate green burial. Plots are $3,667, opening and closing of the grave is $1,200, and the endowment fee is $180.
Sunset Lawn (Sacramento): This conventional cemetery will accommodate green burial, including hybrid burial grounds. Plots are $2,595, opening and closing of the grave is $1,990, and the endowment fee is $250.
The Meadow at Westwood Hills Memorial Park (Placerville): a non-endowment fund cemetery with a section set aside for green burial. Burial plots are $1,500 and opening and closing of the grave cost $750. Cremated remains can also be buried in the green burial section in a biodegradable container. The cost of a plot for cremated remains is $800 and the opening and closing cost $400.
Fernwood Cemetery (Mill Valley, CA): The Fernwood Burial Ground in Marin County's Tennessee Valley is adjacent to the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. The Fernwood property is 32 acres with part of it set aside for natural burial. Plots range from $5,000 to $25,000+, opening and closing of the grave is $1,500 to $2,500.
Davis Cemetery District & Arboretum: Davis Cemetery is a historic, endowment cemetery located in Davis, California. Green burial plots are $1,250 and the opening and closing of the grave cost $1,775 for a single burial plot. Green burial occurs with the use of a vault lid, but no vault and the cost of the lid is $400. Their website explains that the body or container is lowered onto the earth at the bottom of the grave. Earth is then packed directly around and over the body or container instead of using a traditional cement vault or grave liner. Then, a vault lid is placed on the packed dirt above the body and then more dirt is put on top of the lid in order to ensure that the gravesite remains flat and stable for the weight of the memorial marker and the mowers and other equipment.
HOW DO YOU FIND THE GREEN BURIAL CEMETERY THAT'S RIGHT FOR YOU?
The Natural Burial Cemetery Guide by Ann Hoffner list over 125 cemeteries across the US and is organized by region and state. The complete nationwide, 303-page guide is offered in hardback and digital versions. The complete hardback version is $34.95. Digital version $27.95. By the bundle and get both versions for $37.95.
For $10.95, consider The Natural Burial Cemetery Guide - WEST as it focuses on the West region and includes green burial cemeteries in the Western states including Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana (NEW), Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, and Washington. This full-color resource guide makes a compelling argument for green burial and offers help for those asking the difficult question: What kind of burial do I want for myself and my loved ones?
Includes NEW interactive table of contents; introductory material on green burial; photo illustrations; Western regional map; the state-by-state breakdown of cemeteries; individual cemetery entries with contact information, descriptions, and regulations; a list of funeral homes that work with green burial customers. Format: PDF
The Natural Burial Cemetery Guide by Ann Hoffner lists over 125 cemeteries across the US organized by region and state. Available complete or in one of four editions, Northeast, South, Midwest, or West. Detailed entries and photos bring cemeteries to life. Each edition includes introductory material and some of the funeral homes that work with green burial customers.
For more information and to purchase: www.greenburialnaturally.org
What can you do if there are no green burial options in your area?
We encourage anyone interested in a green burial to contact their local cemeteries, land conservancies, and city council, expressing their desire for greener options. Here are some steps you can take to make a burial as green as possible when a green cemetery is not available:
Forego embalming. It's never routinely required by law for funerals.
Select a wood casket or a cardboard box or a shroud for burial. There are no laws requiring particular types of caskets, however, you may want to check with the cemetery to determine if they have any specific requirements. You might encounter resistance from the funeral director or cemetery director, but stand your ground.
Try to find a cemetery that will allow you to omit the use of a vault. Most conventional cemeteries require vaults so if you're unable to find a cemetery that will accommodate you, choose a concrete grave box that has an open bottom to let the body come in contact with the earth. Or, invert a concrete grave liner and use the lid for something else. You may also refuse to use a vault on religious grounds, though there may be an additional charge for special maintenance of the grave.
If using your death to preserve and steward land is important to you, it is always possible to be shipped out of state and buried in a conservation burial ground. If this is your preference, consider White Eagle Memorial Preserve Cemetery in Washington State.
"A Will for the Woods," is a documentary about a man's wish for a meaningful legacy of eco-friendly funerals that conserve natural areas.
California Green Burial Network is an information exchange for members of the public, professionals, and green cemeteries, for local and state-wide efforts encouraging California Green Burial Council certified services in California.