Here at livegreenbegreen, we are always searching for new and inventive ways to maintain a green lifestyle. So when I came across this article which detailed the environmental effects of our deaths, my interest peaked to say the least.

The article, written by Yuan Gao and Robert Short, describes the environmental problem our passing’s cause as, “Every cremation creates about 160 kg of carbon dioxide (CO2).” This is a particular problem in China where nearly five million bodies were cremated in 2011 alone. More staggering is that the rate of cremation is increasing due to the aging population, which ultimately will result in an estimated 143,066 tons of additional CO2 being emitted. This figure fails to mention the other pollutions that will be released as a result of the process including, “…Sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, monoxide, hydrocarbons, hydrogen sulfide, ammonia, hydrogen chloride, hydrogen fluoride, and mercury among others.”

Thankfully, the authors propose greener options to combat this growing problem. They advocate, “Burying the corpse in a simple and biodegradable bag or container under a tree, without building stone tombs or erecting tombstones.” This ultimately would save valuable land space in addition to reducing the emissions from a cremation alternative. Also, the additive of placing the bodies near trees enables them to absorb CO2 that naturally emits from the decaying body and enables them to grow naturally and sustainably. Lastly, this practice saves wood for those buried in wood coffins, and makes  ecological sense in that our bodies, in an act of retribution, serve as a natural fertilizer for the earth we used during our lifetimes.

While we tend to focus on changing our current habits to affect the world in a positive place, similarly our posthumous actions can have a lasting impact on our environment. By changing the way we think, we can all have a positive bearing on our planet both during our lifetime, and after death.


I think it is safe to say that most of us recognize the need to protect the planet; however, we are so bombarded with information on environmental problems that we often become stymied on where to start to make a difference. I think a good start would be with our children and incorporating green tips to improve their lives. The education of our children is the most important responsibility for most families today, and with school starting soon, a few green shopping tips really could be beneficial.

Before taking that annual trip to the store to purchase school supplies, take inventory of items on hand. Try to use products left over from last year, or consider donating items that cannot be used to less fortunate students. When purchasing paper products, shop for recycled, renewable school supplies. Several stores, including Target and Office Depot, offer biodegradable pencils and other eco-friendly products. Backpacks also are major purchases each school year. Invest in a good one made from eco-friendly, well-padded material well suited for your child’s size. A good backpack will be friendly to both the environment and your child’s back.

The return to school signals big changes in meal schedules and food purchases. Be ever mindful of the need for your child to start the day with a good breakfast. Try to incorporate fresh fruit and wholesome grains into breakfast and avoid cereals loaded with sugar. Eating a good breakfast is the first step to take to be prepared to learn. Lunches also are important. Opt for reusable containers for sandwiches and snacks as opposed to plastic baggies. You will save money and the planet. Bamboo cutlery as opposed to disposable utensils is a stylish and economic alternative. Of course, the choices of food that goes into these containers are important. Be creative. Plan healthy lunches and snacks, and try to stay away from processed foods full of salt and other preservatives. Make sure your child stays well hydrated. Invest in BPA-free water bottles, and try to avoid sugary drinks.

Transportation is a big issue during the school year. If your child’s school does not provide bus service, consider walking or biking to school, making sure the routes and pathways used are safe. If you do not accompany your child to and from school, please make sure that your child travels in a group and not alone. If walking or biking is not an option because of distance, contact other parents and form carpools. This will save time, and gas and also eliminate traffic congestion.

The biggest purchase for school, of course, is clothing and shoes. Before going out to shop, take an inventory of clothing on hand and only purchase what is needed. Once again, consider donating clothes that no longer fit or are no longer wanted. When shopping, be sure to look for eco-friendly clothes and even consider organic and recycled clothing. With careful planning, your child can return to school in style.

Preparing to return to school can be costly and overwhelming. However, with planning, careful shopping, it is possible to get this accomplished while buying eco-friendly. In the words of Mahatma Gandhi, “Be the change you want to see to save the world”. Live green, be green.

Happy Fourth of July.  Hopefully, this holiday will be a fun day spent with friends and family, relaxing and celebrating our wonderful country.  Also, hopefully this day will be a green day.  I have several tips to make the 4th a wonderful green day.

First of all, let’s talk about fireworks.  They are not green.  All polytechnic applications are significant polluters of the environment.  I know it is hard to imagine celebrating the 4th without fireworks.  So let’s compromise here and leave this part of the celebration to the experts.  Plan to go to a community event rather than staging a backyard event.  This way it will be done with more control, alleviating the risk of accidents that occur every year, and plus you get to celebrate in grand style.

Also, for picnics and barbecues, it is important to use biodegradable or reusable plates and plastics.  The picnic will still be fun and you will be doing your part to reduce the piles at the landfills.  Pay attention to the food served at your picnic or barbecue.  Hot dogs and hamburgers are staples at cookouts and barbecues, but be mindful of the environmental impact of the production of such products.  Make sure you incorporate healthy and possibly organic fruits and salads into your menu.  You will be doing a favor to yourself, your family and friends and the environment.

Think green when you crank up the grill.  Propane is three times as efficient as charcoal.  If you opt for charcoal, make sure it is wood briquettes.  They are more sustainable.  Also, do not overcook or char  food on the grill.  This is toxic to the body and the environment.  

Try to incorporate some exercise into the day.  The Fourth of July is a great time to organize a friendly game of baseball, volleyball, dodgeball, etc.  Exercise is great for the health of friends and family.  

As you can see, the Fourth of July is a wonderful day to celebrate our nation and green.  Let’s live green, be green!