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New to the local environmental scene, the not-for-profit, grass-roots Hudson Valley Green Burial Association is an information and advocacy group formed in the winter of 2007. Endorsed by the Green Burial Council in California, HVGBA’s current mission is to stay updated on the issue of green burials, as well as aspects of the modern-day funeral industry, and to provide answers wherever requested. As demands for green services increase, Kime hopes to open an all-green funeral home in the Hudson Valley.
According to the organization, although a green send-off has been the way for most of mankind’s history, it is now commonplace to drain the veins and puncture the organs, pump the body full of chemicals, wire the jaw shut, plug up the anus with a plastic screw, place the body in a $5,000 casket, lower it into a concrete vault, and cover it in chemically fertilized turf. The HVGBA website (www.myspace.com/nygreenburials) includes a shocking list of natural resources and chemicals buried in modern-day cemeteries in the US annually: 827,060 gallons of embalming fluid, 90,272 tons of steel caskets, 2,700 tons of copper and bronze caskets, 1,636,000 tons of reinforced concrete vaults, 14,000 tons of steel vaults and 30 million board feet of hardwood (including tropical wood) caskets. They claim that with the wood that has been buried on a typical 10-acre cemetery plot, 40 houses could be constructed.
A benefit concert for Hudson Valley Green Burial Association will be held on November 15 at 7pm at the Living Seed Yoga Center in New Paltz. Performing acts will include singer-songwriter Meryl Joan Lammers, The Virginia Wolves, Quitzow, Venture Lift, and other special guests. A minimum donation of $10 is requested, and additional donations will be gratefully received. For more information, visit www.myspace.com/nygreenburials.