May 13 Meeting: Green Burials

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The Minnesota Threshold Network May meeting will focus on enrivronmentally-friendly final disposition options in Minnesota. including “flameless cremation” and various kinds of eco-cemeteries.

May 13 at 7 pm, the home of Becky Bohan and Nancy Manahan, 21 East Rustic Lodge Av. Minneapolis 55419. 612-823-1910.

Free and open to all interested in more conscious, holistic, practical, and sustainable approaches to death.

For more information and resources on green burials, visit the MTN site.

Environmentalist Targets Funeral Industry To Decrease ‘Final Footprint’

EL GRANADA (CBS 5) – If you’ve spent your life treading lightly on the environment, you’ll probably want to give some thought to the impact of your death. Many Californians are going with burials – with a twist – so they can remain green to the grave.

Reduce Carbon Footprint with “Flameless Cremation”

Minnesota is leading the way in “green cremation,” a flameless process of reducing a body to its basic elements using alkaline hydrolysis. The Mayo Clinic Medical School has been using hydrolysis in its body donor program for several years, but last month, the first commercial unit in the US was opened in Stillwater, MN. For a Star Tribune newspaper article, see http://www.startribune.com/local/162436556.html

For a KARE-11 television story, see http://www.kare11.com/news/article/983169/391/Minnesotas-first-green-cremation-center-opens

Home Funerals on YouTube, MN first certified green cemetery, Facebook announcement, Krista Tippett‏

Minnesota Threshold Network Meeting Minutes of April 30, 2012

Attendees: Linda Bergh, Becky Bohan, Marianne Dietzel, Eli Effinger-Weintraub, Heather Halen, Kathy Huset, Kyoko Katayama, Nancy Manahan, Marijane Tessman, Julie Tinberg

Reports

April 22: Heather and Julie presented at Macalester-Plymouth United Church. An excellent nine-minute edited clip of their talk is available on YouTube.

April 28: MTN members visited Mound Cemetery of Brooklyn Center , Minnesota’s first cemetery to be certified by the Green Burial Council! Mound Cemetery received one leaf, which signifies a hybrid burial ground, where conventional and green gravesites may be side by side.; Two leaves means a natural burial ground; three leaves, a conservation burial ground. (For more information on green cemeteries nationally, see www.greenburialcouncil.org/.)

Linda reported on the advanced directive class. Attendees are writing letters about their values and ethics to their families and designated agents. At least as important as completing the advanced directive paperwork are conversations with family members and personal agents so everyone involved is clear about our wishes if we cannot speak for ourselves. Heather mentioned that advanced directives should be in place throughout our lives, since accidents and life-threatening illnesses can occur at any age.

Events

The annual MTN Public Information Forum will be at Washburn Library on Tuesday, June 12 at 6 pm. There will be two new speakers this year. Please notify your friends, libraries, churches, senior centers, neighborhood newsletters, co-ops, and hospices with whom you have connections, and post this event on Facebook and Twitter.  Here’s a 63-word paragraph with the essential information; feel free to modify/condense it:

Family-Directed After-Death Care and Green Burials

When a family member dies, you don’t have to call a funeral director. Simple, legal, inexpensive, eco-friendly, deeply meaningful alternatives exist. Free public information forum on caring for our own deceased; common myths & fears; burial, cremation, & hydrolysis; and working with a supportive funeral director. Tuesday June 12, 6:30-7:45pm. Washburn Public Library, 5244 Lyndale Ave. S. Mpls.  For more information, visit mnthresholdnetwork.wordpress.com.

The National Home Funeral Alliance 3rd annual conference is at Techny Towers Conference & Retreat Center on Chicago’s North Shore October 12-14, 2012. Cost for the conference, lodging, and all meals is $390 members/$415 non-members. Heather may contact them about doing a break-out session on challenges that can come up during after-death care. For more information or to register, visit the NHFA website.

Other

Linda will order three sets of Techni Ice to have available to members for keeping a body cool. Marianne and Heather also will have Techni Ice in the freezer, ready for use.

Nancy mentioned a 1998 ground-breaking book about after-death care , Coming to Rest by Julie Wiskind and Richard Spiegel. She is in touch with Richard and hopes to obtain copies of the book, which is out of print, for the Minnesota Threshold Network.

Kyoko recommended Krista Tippett’s April 26 interview with Ira Byock, author of the classic Dying Well, about his 2012 book, The Best Care Possible: A Physician’s Quest to Transform Care Through the End of Life. You hear Dr. Byock advocate for an understanding of death as a developmental stage like adolescence or mid-life at http://being.publicradio.org/programs/2012/contemplating-mortality/

Discussion

We began an exploration of the ethical questions involved in advanced directives, after-death care, and the home funeral movement. Heather reported that in hospice communities, the emphasis on a dying person’s having as much control as possible over the dying process is evolving to include the recognition that many people are involved in a death and have to live with the consequences of the dying person’s decisions.

We raised several questions to consider at our next meeting, including these:

  • What do you do when a family doesn’t agree with the wishes of the dying person?
  • What do you do when no one knows what the dying person wants? What guides our decisions?
  • What role does money play in end-of-life decisions–and how can we talk about it?

Next Meeting

The next MTN meeting (after the June 12 forum) will be September 17, 2012, at 7 pm at Julie Tinberg’s house. Details will be emailed and posted on the MTN site.

March 12 Mtg: Talk at U of M School of Mortuary Science, new hybrid cemetery, advanced directives, and more!

Welcome to newcomers!

Hybrid cemetery in Brooklyn Center now certified by Green Burial Council – another option for natural burial in the Twin Cities. Mound Cemetery

Advance Directives: If you have one, bring it along to help others. If not, you may get some ideas and perhaps be motivated to complete this important end-of-life planning.

End-of-life stories

Heather Halen and Rep. Carolyn Laine’s March 9, 2012, presentation to the U of M School of Mortuary Science. Last month’s meeting at Aslan Institute.

New helpful website: afinefarewell.com

At Nancy & Becky´s home: 21 Rustic Lodge E, Mpls, 55419 — 7 to 9pm