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 22, 2014
Health workers carry the body of a woman suspected of contracting the Ebola virus in Bomi county situated on the outskirts of Monrovia, Liberia, Monday, Oct. 20, 2014. (AP)

We’ll go to Liberia, and hear from a pastor and a physician at the epicenter of the Ebola crisis.

Oct 22, 2014
Authors Nicholas Kristof and wife Sheryl WuDunn attend the premiere of "Meena" at the AMC Loews Theater on Thursday, June 26, 2014 in New York.

Author and New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof says regular folks like us can change the world. He explains how. Plus: we remember the late, great Washington Post editor, Ben Bradlee.

RECENT
SHOWS
Oct 21, 2014
This undated image provided by Google, shows an early version of Google's prototype self-driving car. For the first time, California's Department of Motor Vehicles knows how many self-driving cars are traveling on the state's public roads. The agency is issuing permits, Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014 that let three companies test 29 vehicles on highways and in neighborhoods. (AP)

The future of the car: from the fuels they’ll run on, to the materials they’ll be made of, to the computers that may drive them.

 
Oct 21, 2014
David Perdue, Michelle Nunn

Two weeks to go till Midterm Election Day. We’ll look at how the biggest issues are playing out around the country.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Introducing The Explicast: A New Podcast From On Point Radio
Friday, Oct 17, 2014

Confused about the news? Don’t worry: so are we sometimes! Introducing a new On Point Radio podcast: The Explicast. You can find Episode One right here.

More »
1 Comment
 
Two LIVE Tracks From Jazz Violinist Regina Carter
Friday, Oct 17, 2014

Regina Carter shares two live tracks — one arrangement, and one original composition — with Tom Ashbrook in the On Point studio.

More »
Comment
 
Our Week In The Web: October 17, 2014
Friday, Oct 17, 2014

We talk Facebook mishaps, whether Katy Perry was actually right and the glory of architectural giants and their iconic windows.

More »
Comment