90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Eco-Friendly Funerals And Death In America Today

New trends in eco-friendly funerals and burials—how they reflect how we’re dealing with death.

*With Guest Host Jessica Yellin.

In this September of 2013 photo released by the University of Michigan Health System, families lay flowers on a casket containing donors’ cremated remains at the University of Michigan Medical School’s annual memorial service in Ann Arbor, Mich. (AP)

In this September of 2013 photo released by the University of Michigan Health System, families lay flowers on a casket containing donors’ cremated remains at the University of Michigan Medical School’s annual memorial service in Ann Arbor, Mich. (AP)

The latest trend in burials gives a whole new meaning to the phrase “bite the dust.”  Eco-friendly, personalized funerals. The perfect way to end a low-impact environmentally friendly life. Some are replacing a casket with a burial shroud. Opting to place a family member’s cremated remains on the ocean floor. Or going high-tech, putting computer chips in your burial blot. Modernizing the burial ritual – it’s increasingly popular… reflecting the values of an aging baby boomer generation. This hour On Point: new ways to say goodbye to eco-conscious, tech savvy loved ones.

Guests

Amy Cunningham, funeral director at Greenwood Heights Funeral and Cremation Services in Brooklyn, New York. Blogger at “The Inspired Funeral.”

Gary Laderman, professor and chairperson of the religion department at Emory University. Author of “Rest in Peace: A Cultural History of Death and the Funeral Home in Twentieth Century America.”

Esmerelda Kent, owner and founder of Kinkaraco Green Burying Products.

From The Reading List

New York Times: The Rise of Back-to-the-Basics Funerals –  “As New York City’s boomers shift from wooden toys to wooden boxes, Ms. Cunningham is hoping to ease their transition. A former writer for women’s magazines who now works for Greenwood Heights Funeral & Cremation Services, in Brooklyn, she pointed to a chart projected behind her showing that almost 50 percent more Americans would die in 2050 than in 2020.”

Associated Press: Funeral and Casket Outlets are Heading to the Mall — “We eat there, buy our clothes there and some people suspect teenagers may actually live there. So perhaps it was just a matter of time until funeral homes began moving into the local shopping mall. Over the past two years, Forest Lawn has been quietly putting movable kiosks in several of the malls that dot Southern California’s suburbs.”

CNBC: The Hot Trend in Funeral Business? Cremation, of Course — “Every year in America, 2.5 million people die. In 2011, the last year for which numbers are available, 42 percent were cremated, according to the funeral directors association. That’s double the rate of just 15 years ago. In some states, largely in the West, the cremation rate tops 70 percent. In Washington, it’s 72 percent; in Nevada, almost 74 percent. (The lowest rate of cremation, in case you need a great pick-up line, is Mississippi’s, at 15.7 percent.) ”

Check Out WBUR’s CommonHealth Coverage Of “DIY Death” And At-Home Funerals

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Oct 2, 2014
Kurds in Turkey look over the border with Syria toward the embattled town of Kobani. (David Takaki / Twitter)

ISIS and the battle for control of the Syrian town of Kobani. The Kurds have it. ISIS wants it. The US is bombing. We’ll look at the lessons of the battle for Kobani.

Oct 2, 2014
Duluth, Minnesota's Canal Park Lakewalk, shown here in 2005. (Jacob Norlund / Creative Commons)

What makes a good place to live in America today? We’ll talk with the people who size up our cities and towns.

RECENT
SHOWS
Oct 1, 2014
Actress Eva Longoria, center, Henry R. Munoz III, co-founder of the Latino Victory Project, left, and Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, are seated at an event launching The Latino Victory Project, a Latino political action committee, at the National Press Club in Washington, Monday, May 5, 2014. (AP)

Latino America. It is very large and growing very fast. How will it move the country?

 
Oct 1, 2014
Pro-democracy protesters hold umbrellas under heavy rain in a main street near the government headquarters in Hong Kong late Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014. The protesters demanded that Hong Kong's top leader meet with them on Tuesday and threatened wider actions if he did not, after he said China would not budge in its decision to limit voting reforms in the Asian financial hub. (AP)

China, democracy and Hong Kong. They’re in the streets in Hong Kong with their “Umbrella Revolution.” What now?

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Transcript: Taking A Close Look At America’s Police Force
Wednesday, Oct 1, 2014

A partial transcript of our panel conversation with experts on the modern American police force.

More »
Comment
 
Transcript: Peter Thiel Wants Us All To Go From ‘Zero To One’
Tuesday, Sep 30, 2014

Entrepreneur Peter Thiel on innovation, technological failure and humanity’s uncertain future.

More »
Comment
 
Transcript: Sexual Violence Under ISIS Control
Tuesday, Sep 30, 2014

A transcript from our September 25, 2014 conversation on the Islamic State and sexual violence.

More »
Comment