Fall is a gorgeous time in Oregon, and this week is starting off cool but heats to a lovely, sunny 75 or so. We’ll take it! Work is quiet at the moment; time to sneak outside and harvest our gorgeous garden. In late fall, I turn dead plant material from green manure into the soil before sowing seed or planting seedlings. Green manures include legumes such as vetch, alfalfa, clover, and peas; grasses such as annual ryegrass, oats, winter rye and winter wheat; and broadleaf plants such as rapeseed and buckwheat. This is also the time to add fertilizer to the soil. If the green manure is one that doesn’t die over winter, wait about two weeks after you turn in the living plant material before seeding or transplanting your crops.
Today I met with a family in the outer S.E. Portland area of town who are waiting for a family member to pass away. This person is very set on a green funeral and burial since they lived (and still live ) quite a green life. Nailing down the details of a funeral service can have a tremendous impact on the environment. The following tips make it greener: – a. Funeral Programs – Suggest using recycled paper for the programs or hymn sheets. b. Flowers – If you want flowers, find local growers who typically grow organic flowers. c. Procession – Carpool from the service to the burial spot. d. Refreshments – Serve organic and locally grown food at the wake. This pays tribute to the person who lived environmentally during their lifetime.
When families come to see me about picking out an urn for their loved one’s cremains, I first suggest they take a look around their home and see if they have something that the deceased person loved, or something that would represent them. If not, do they have a family member or friend who would be comfortable making an urn? I highly encourage taking it to an individual level. A green burial can truly be a DIY project. Have everyone get involved. I love the idea of personalization. Paint or draw on the burial apparatus with a non-toxic implement. Bury your loved one on your own land if state and county rules permit. Consider leaving a living marker – this means planting native trees, shrubs, and flowers on or near the grave.
Today begins Day Five! I am pledging to abstain from all food and liquid (besides well water) for as long as I can. I firmly believe that we have a moral obligation to do what we can to preserve the environment. I have the luxury to pick between restaurants and even choose what to eat at any time, but these resources are not available to everyone. I feel pledging to water fast is a necessary balance between humanitarian action and continued support for and education on sustainability. Join me!