Posted by Pamela Arnsberger on Sep 14, 2017
Announcements and Reminders
The beach clean-up is on this Saturday Sept 16th. It will be at 9:00 AM at Beer Can Beach. Rich will be there is his red Prius to meet you.
Doug Deaver announced that this Friday Sept 15th there will be a flash mob at Rancho del Mar food mall. Go there to support our local businesses! There will be other events around this issue so stay tuned!
There will be a dinner at Aptos Chamber of Commerce honoring Doug Deaver’s election as Man of the Year. The dinner will be Oct 27th and tickets are $85. The event will be at Aptos Seascape. See Pam Goodman to get a ticket.
Our speaker today was Holly Blue Hawkins. She is from the Integral Thanatology Institute and is a counselor who does needs assessments and referrals and focuses on end of life issues. Today she spoke to us about Natural Deathcare Advocacy and ‘green’ burials.


Ms Hawkins spoke about natural deathcare sustainable solutions for ourselves and our world.  She said we should approach death with curiosity rather than avoidance.  Today she focused on how we give our bodies back to the earth or ‘natural burial’. Right now our conventional methods of burial with big caskets and metal and concrete use up a lot of resources and are not environmentally sustainable. Even cremation uses up resources. For instance 165 deaths per thousand per year in Santa Cruz County uses up enough concrete to build a freeway

Instead she suggested green burial in which is the body is returned to the earth in the simplest way possible. For instance graves can be hand dug. The body is just washed and dressed and not embalmed.

She stressed that the regulations of each cemetery must also be considered and many won’t allow this; there are a few natural burial grounds in the United States however.


It is legal in California to be buried in a shroud only; no casket if the cemetery agrees. In England, they call them woodland burial sites.

In the U.S. we have three kinds of declared green cemeteries: a hybrid burial ground, which is a typical cemetery but they allow green burials. Natural burial grounds are a second method and the third is a conservation burial ground. There are six places in California that have at least one type of these, but not in Santa Cruz.

One thing we can do is take a pioneer cemetery and use the parts of the cemetery that are still vacant such as in Evergreen Cemetery. There would still be many questions that would need to be addressed such as can they scatter ashes? Can they do a full body burial? Etc.

She closed with the need for a movement to begin this effort (as they have done in the UK) including developing partnerships with land trusts. For more information go to