What to do with the dead is becoming a growing concern for many cities. We just don’t have enough space for traditional graveyards anymore, and the environmental impact they have is a growing concern. We need creative solutions to create space devoted to the dead, and those that remain for the living.
Places like Oakland Cemetery in Atlanta, and many of the cemeteries in the Philadelphia area have actively embraced changing these concepts by making cemeteries places that people enjoy, like botanical gardens, and places for arts fairs and midnight cabarets. This has actually been going on since the early 19th century.
Today we are running out of space, we have a growing number of unclaimed bodies, a large population of people who could use alternative and cost effective burial options, and a ton of land that cannot be used for commercial uses because they are toxic, waste sites, or needed for preservation. In short, we need a creative solution. Overcrowding and public mindset are not the only issues though. How we bury our dead is also of concern. Environmentally it has had a huge impact, with toxic preservation methods, materials sourced for burial, and space.
Socially and psychologically we are seeing changes in people’s perspectives on death that allow for creative solutions to all these concerns. Certainly there will remain the traditionalists that prefer the steely wrought iron fences and cold marble of the classic segregated cemeteries and funeral parlor services. However, with more and more people embracing different religious and ideological backgrounds, multicultural perspectives and environmentally friendly practices, there is a growing population that prefers an alternative in burial sites and practice.
Instead of building fences and locking our loved ones away in caskets, why not plant trees and recognize that although above ground we may still face borders and lines of differentiation, below ground we come together. We can give back after death and live on symbolically in a tree or garden to help alleviate the damage our lives may have helped create. The earth absorbs our energy as it is meant to. It doesn’t matter if you were good or bad. Human energy was life, and in leaving, you live on. And so is born, The Living Leaves initiative.
Delaware is the smallest energy-producing state, consuming almost 100 times more energy than it produces, and the state’s total energy consumption is the third lowest in the nation mainly because of its small population. A typical U.S. household has a carbon footprint of 48t CO2e/yr.2 Multiply that by a persons average lifetime.
Delaware industries have also contributed to water and land pollution. Juxtaposed to this, we also have some of the prettiest parks, trails, historical sights, and beaches on the East Coast.
Let’s set an example for how powerful a small state can be in conservation, rehabilitation and creative multi-use of our environmental resources.
We help to identify target areas for green spaces, the specific needs of surrounding residents and businesses, establish community relationships, while also providing an unconventional but much needed solution to issues of overcrowded urban areas by creating beautiful multi-use public spaces that also serve as memorial gardens.
We also help rehabilitate cemeteries in decline towards greener options and enliven their standing and interactions with their respective communities. Narrative therapy is available to re-author community histories in relation to their cemeteries and loved ones.
We bring together state and local agencies, non-profits, local businesses, and advocacy groups in partnership to build a multi-faceted, non-denominational, non-partisan, and sustainable option that strengthens our relationships, rather than replaces them.
We also don’t mind getting our hands dirty – in the ground that is.
For One, We present people with green burial options, places of rest, and discuss their needs and that of their loved ones.
We guide them through the experience of creating their own departure story through end-of-life doula services, narrative life review and "re-author your life" coaching practices, end-of-life planning, grief support, and perspectives of how to use grief to grow
We establish the connections they need to make the transition for themselves and their loved ones aligned with their values and traditions.
And for all, we aim to help lower our overall carbon footprint by creating the necessary partnerships to rehabilitate known brownfields and other environmentally damaged, preserved and protected areas and converting these (at least partially) into public use spaces and/or memorial gardens.
We also help to establish collaboration and consultation for land owners interested in conservation burial, adding natural burial methods to existing traditional cemeteries, and anyone interested in expanding the conversation in their local communities through education and awareness of how we can repurpose the death process in regenerative practices.
We create Botanical Memorial Gens.
Where trees speak and gardens spring alive with laughter and music set around multi-use living and gathering.
Narrative approaches will be available to each garden resident, where their stories can be told via digital media library on marked garden spot.
Visual walkways with names in cobblestone or on stone walls.
Space to be utilized for sustainable reuse, collecting seeds for replanting, and fallen or cleared wood for paper.
Arts and community events hosted regularly, including dinner and brunch socials, weddings, and workshops.
Uses for preservation land that may be endangered by development Rehabilitate Brownfields and Landfills Space is multi-use, so frees up impact on public landscape Effects of conventional burial impact lessened (chemicals, materials, etc) Specifically designed with community and environmental concerns particular to that area Create places for nature and animal preservation
Parks and Trees/Gardens add value to neighborhoods raising property values Lower crime rates Burial costs for families can be lessened or subsidized Eases State cost and concern for what to do with unclaimed bodies Land previously unused is now accessible for commerce and public use.
Way for humans to give back to the environment and their communities Grief process aided by seeing loved ones live on, grow and continue to impact lives.
The earth is a symbolism for filtering and neutralizing energy, so differences in religion, life choices and experience are less important. The great neutralizer! Despite differences above ground, roots connect everyone. Trees represent ancestors and future generations.
Creating spaces where the living and the dead cohabit makes transitions and loss less scary.
Other cultures have ways of celebrating their ancestors, we separate and forget. This connects.
A whole new view of death can germinate in the consciousness, where it represents a living process, a rebirth, a healing and nurturing transition instead of a goodbye.
Dual use of land can include spaces that celebrate the life of those resting, allowing families the chance to see their loved ones live on and continue to affect the world around them.
Living Leaves is expanding its services and becoming a collective!
Details to be announced soon.
To raise funds for our transition and operating costs, I will be offering my Life Review and Re-Author Your Life Packages for 50.00!
That's a 5 hours coaching at 10 dollars an hour!
Take advantage of this while it lasts and tell a friend