Sunday, July 13, 2008

Miltonian Suggest A "Green Cemetery"

Many thanks to Miltonian Jim Bell for sharing the following letter with us.

James W. Bell, III
Milton Conservation Burial Partners
1150 Birmingham Rd.
Milton, Georgia 30004

Dear Neighbor,

I am contacting you to ask you to attend a Public Participation Program designed to enhance dialogue regarding my request for a “Special Use Permit” on a portion of my farm at 1150 Birmingham Road, Milton, Georgia 30004.

My new company, Milton Conservation Burial Partners is working toward a unique partnership, joining natural burial with land Preservation.

MCBP is hoping to get permission to build a new cemetery on Birmingham Road. We are excited about the unique opportunity to purchase one of life's necessities, help preserve the environment, and assist the City in buying more green space for our community. A portion of the purchase price is even tax deductible.

The proposed new cemetery will be a “Green Cemetery,” allowing more environmentally friendly burials. We believe it is time our new city has its own cemetery, and are working with the Green Burial Council and Conservation Burial Partners to advise us on how to link ones final act with land preservation and conservation practices.
The Green Burial Council consulting arm, Conservation Burial Partners, specializes in building conservation partnerships involving land owners, municipalities, land trust, and cemetery operators that not only preserve the natural burial sites, but also uses a portion of the proceeds of lot sales to purchase and protect other green areas in the community. See:
A natural burial is an environmentally sustainable alternative to a traditional funeral, and is significantly less expensive. It's the ultimate in recycling. The expense of your funeral goes instead towards preserving natural spaces set aside as burial preserves. In the case of Milton, a portion of the tax deductible proceeds could go towards completion of the Milton Trail, a city-wide trail proposed to link 22 miles of the city in equestrian north Fulton County.

There's no embalming in natural burial because formaldehyde used in embalming fluids is toxic to the people using it, the soil you're buried in, and any groundwater the chemical might leak into. Instead of a richly lined casket of copper, bronze or exotic endangered wood like mahogany, you can have one of a soft wood such as pine, poplar or ash. Or you can select to have a body wrap that is a shroud of biodegradable fibers such as linen or cotton.

Your body is placed gently in the earth, and there is no need for the concrete outer vault that is required in most other cemeteries that is needed to support the weight of grounds maintenance machinery. Rather than an expensive monument with your name sandblasted in quarried marble or granite, your marker could be a natural fieldstone, or perhaps an outcropping of rock, undisturbed as a natural landmark and locatable with a GPS system.

According to the AARP, the average cost of a traditional funeral including burial cost is close to $10,000. A green burial can be significantly less costly; in some locations, it's only a few thousand dollars. The burial or scattering of cremated remains is even less.

“Every year in the United States we bury enough embalming fluid to fill eight Olympic-size swimming pools, enough metal to build the Golden Gate Bridge, and so much reinforced concrete in burial vaults that we could build a two-lane highway from New York to Detroit,” said Joe Sehee, Executive Director of the Green Burial Council. See:

Ideally, you'd be buried, not cremated, because crematories use fossil fuels to fire
ovens at high temperature. Opponents to cremation object to emissions of carbon
dioxide and toxins such as mercury from dental fillings.

About 30 per cent of people in metro Atlanta choose cremation. If for some reason cremation is necessary, the body could be delivered to the crematorium in a readily combustible casket. It could be as simple as a softwood box you make yourself.
Your ashes would then be scattered or buried in the woods, or placed in a
Biodegradable urn for burial in the new cemetery. See:

The Green Burial Council is building a nationwide network of land trusts, cemetery operators, and funeral directors, and has developed a certification system that requires reporting and auditing systems, along with stewardship of the land.

"What people are connecting to is that their last act can contribute towards a
conservation effort, and we’re very excited about the new cemetery being planned in Milton," Sehee says.

For more information you can contact “Milton Fields” at

Please join us so we can answer any questions you may have about this exciting project.

Date: Saturday, July 26th, 2008

Place: Fire Station #43, 750 Hickory Flat Road

Time: 10:00 am


Jim Bell
Milton Conservation Burial Partners


Anonymous said...

This is so great! What kindness, generosity and vision Mr. James Bell III has!
We need more people like him in the States. I hope your town ushers this project right through. You'll make history.

Anonymous said...

Thank goodness, sense at last! My husband and I had considered going out of State for a green burial or back to England for one but it appears that we can remain here in Georgia.

Thank you Mr James Bell 111 for your kindness in allowing your land for this use and to the Milton City Council and citizens of Milton.

We are delighted that Marty Byars of the Byars Funeral Home in Cumming also plans to participate.

Not to put too fine a point on it, I have always been horrified at the thought of being embalmed and looking like a wax figure and the terrible thought of being buried under tons of concrete.

Well done to all of you.


Anonymous said...

I think this is awsome,I was just
thinking of going out of state or conyers ,this is three miles from my house.Green burail is the future in the usa. thanks Jim Bell