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Cremation ashes to mangroves.... #436147
04/20/12 08:22 AM
04/20/12 08:22 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 82,923
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP

Earth Day and death: Saving the world long after we're gone

ecoMemorial uses cremation ashes, or cremains, as the germination medium for a mangrove seedling. As the seedling develops, the cremains are assimilated until the mangrove becomes a mature tree planted as part of a coastal restoration project along the Caribbean coast of Belize.

by Julia Goralka

A Chevy Impala stuffed with five adult and near-adult bodies for three hours on Easter Sunday led to some intriguing conversations, one of which was “What to do with Mom when she’s dead?” It was a foregone conclusion that my body would not be rising on the third day to show my loved ones the way to the Light, although there are constant threats that they will be haunted for the rest of their lives if they do not live according to the life plans I have put so much care into providing them.

Their collective response: “Whatever.”

Easter is a holiday that lends itself to discussions of death. In the interest of full disclosure, however, it was Mom herself who brought up this particular topic. The family knows I do not want to take up precious land with a traditional burial. People are going to keep dying forever. Eventually we will run out of space. Religious beliefs aside, cemeteries are an unsustainable plan. And speaking of sustaining them, someone would have to mow and fertilize the grass over me, and loved ones would feel a responsibility to visit and buy plastic flowers. Well, not the loved ones in the car that particular day, apparently, but some loved ones somewhere might.

When my father passed away a couple decades ago, my sister and I both realized that the part of him that we loved most was not the part buried in that grave. It was the part that was still with us in our hearts and souls. We’ve only been back to the cemetery once, but we carried the “We should go more often” guilt for years. We carry his clear tenor “You Are My Sunshine” with us to this day.

So no cemetery burial for this Mom. That still leaves the problem of what to do with her. My dear, sweet daughter wants me cremated and made into a diamond. I asked her how she’d feel when she accidentally dropped me down the drain. My dear, sweet sons had several suggestions, most of which involved pet food and street gutters. My dear, sweet husband just smiled.

My explicit directions that I am to be cremated and my ashes scattered somewhere beautiful that I have never been before was met with rolling eyes and several suggestions of places that I have never been. I was thinking something like Yosemite, people. Obviously, my loved ones cannot be trusted with my physical remains when I’m gone, adding to the list of reasons I intend to haunt them for the rest of their lives.

The dilemma, however, has been solved. I have found a way to live forever.

OK, not literally. But I have found a way to continue to nurture and support life, help save the planet, give my loved ones a tangible memorial, and still rest forever in a beautiful location I have never visited once I am gone. was founded by Bob Riley, an environmentalist who noted that "Most green and natural burial methods are based on the idea of minimizing the negative impact of human remains on the environment.” Instead of minimizing the negative impact, Riley found a way that human remains can in fact “create a positive environmental impact that would benefit future generations."

ecoMemorial uses cremation ashes, or cremains, as the germination medium for a mangrove seedling. As the seedling develops, the cremains are assimilated until the mangrove becomes a mature tree planted as part of a coastal restoration project along the Caribbean coast of Belize.

Mangrove forests are nature’s barrier against hurricanes and tropical storms. Those storms have been aided by human development in depleting the mangrove forests, leaving coastlines and their communities vulnerable. Hurricane Katrina caused such great damage due in part to the loss of the wetlands that served as the natural buffer between the Gulf and solid ground. According to, “After Katrina, the state recognized the danger of losing more wetlands and created the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority. In a report last year, the agency recommended coastal restoration measures to repair some of the damage done by pipeline construction, poor urban planning and natural subsidence (sinking of land).” As of right now, however, the plan to restore our wetlands does not include ecoMemorial.

The mangrove restoration project in Belize suits my needs perfectly. Mangrove trees grow in intertidal areas where the tides constantly rise and lower around them, much the way I have grown as my own life has ebbed and flowed. They flourish only as they straddle their merged habitats of land and sea, much as a mother flourishes only as she straddles the merged needs of her family and self. Mangroves exist to provide shelter and protection and to live on in future generations in an effort to restore beauty and balance to the world. Yup. In my next life, I’m going to be a mangrove. Literally.

Belize is far enough away that there is no need for loved ones to feel guilty if they don’t visit. They can if they want to, or they can plug the GPS coordinates provided by ecoMemorial into Google maps for a quick peek. ecoMemorial will also provide Internet links to my eulogy or any personal websites if I so chose. Anyone out there who can’t stand the thought of being parted from their beloved Fido can get him his own ecoMemorial tree, or have his ashes worked right into your tree with you.

So the problem of “What to do with Mom once she’s dead” has been solved. Of course, there is no way to guarantee that my family will honor my request. But they all know that if they don’t, I will haunt them for the rest of their lives.

I just might haunt them anyway. There should be some “just for kicks” in the afterlife, don’t you think?


Re: Cremation ashes to mangroves.... [Re: Marty] #436274
04/22/12 07:09 AM
04/22/12 07:09 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 82,923
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP

Guyana & Belize hailed for mangrove restoration efforts

Guyana and Belize have been hailed for their efforts to restore and sustain mangrove reserves to protect against natural disasters. This was highlighted in ‘Living Shorelines’, one of three films launched by the British High Commission and Caribsave, to raise public awareness on the importance of climate change adaptation and its relevance to the Caribbean.

The films were recently screened at Cara Lodge in Georgetown, under the theme, “Partnership for Resilience”.Addressing the event, British High Commissioner to Guyana, Andrew Ayre said the time for action to combat the effects of climate change is now.

He noted that Caribbean leaders have signaled their intention to move towards a low carbon economy as quickly as possible, with Guyana already taking a leadership role in this regard.

Re: Cremation ashes to mangroves.... [Re: Marty] #436286
04/22/12 08:38 AM
04/22/12 08:38 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 82,923
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP
Climate change efforts by Guyana and Belize highlighted in film series

GEORGETOWN, Guyana (GINA) -- The efforts of Guyana and Belize in restoring and sustaining their mangrove reserves along the coast, to aid in protecting against natural disasters were recognised in ‘Living Shorelines’, one of three films launched by the British High Commission and CARIBSAVE as part of global efforts to raise public awareness on the importance of climate change adaptation and, its relevance to the Caribbean people.

CARIBSAVE is a non-profit regional organisation formed in 2008 by the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) and the University of Oxford to address the socioeconomic impacts and challenges of climate change in the Caribbean Basin, especially on the tourism sector.

The three films were shown on Tuesday, under the theme “Partnership for Resilience”. They were produced by CARIBSAVE and several regional organisations.

The series is aimed at promoting public awareness of the threats posed by climate change in the Caribbean, and the importance of implementing adaptation strategies.

The films addressed issues such as climate change and Caribbean Tourism, Caribbean Fish Sanctuaries and Living Shorelines.

Speaking at the opening ceremony British High Commissioner to Guyana Andrew Ayre said the films will help to showcase efforts already being taken in the region involving both private and public sector bodies.

In this regard, he said there is no doubt; the time for action to combat the effects of climate change is now.

“Caribbean leaders have clearly stated their intention to move to a low carbon, climate change resilient economy as quickly as possible… Guyana has already taken a leadership role in addressing climate change,” the high commissioner said.

Against this background, Ayre said that the United Kingdom stands ready and is committed to assisting Caribbean countries in responding to climate change.

The sum of £22 million, he said will be spent between 2011-2015 on practical, tangible sectoral and community-based interventions, including supporting 160 vulnerable communities to cope with climate change and providing affordable hazard insurance to protect incomes of 18,000 of the poorest and 50,000 small farm workers when disaster strikes.

The film ‘Climate Change and Caribbean Tourism’ highlighted some of the threats facing the Caribbean’s largest economic sector, tourism, while outlining several adaptation strategies that will provide immediate and long-term benefits to the region.

Meanwhile, the Caribbean Fish Sanctuaries documentary highlighted some of the potential benefits fish sanctuaries can have on the coastal communities in the region.

The ‘Living Shoreline: Mangroves, coral reefs and sea grass’ dealt with the benefits and importance of the coastal ecosystem in protecting the shorelines and vulnerable coastal communities against storm surges and high level sea rising.

The event also attracted delegates who were in Guyana for the 13th Sustainable Tourism Conference.


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