Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A novel plan to preserve rural land

Listen to NPR's story about Joan Graham and her plan for her Michigan land here. Graham, aged 80, is working with the Six Rivers Regional Land Conservancy to have her land become an environmentally friendly cemetery after her death--with Graham being the first to be interred there. What would make it environmentally friendly are "no embalming and no fertilized lawn. Bodies would be interred in biodegradable caskets or shrouds, with rocks and trees as grave markers."

Here are some great quotes from Graham:

"I just like the earth. I like the smell of it, and I like green, and I like trees."

Speaking of the oaks on her land, beneath which she has requested burial, Graham states:

"They have deep taproots. Wouldn't it be nice if that oak tree would ever reach my remains, and the tree would take nourishment from that? And it's kind of like I never died, really. I just morphed into a tree or something."

The dateline for the story is Metamora, Michigan, township population 4,184, village population 507, and the story describes the place as "north of Detroit." A quick glance at a map makes it look as if Metamora is probably exurban, which is consistent with Graham's stated aversion to housing developments and shopping centers.

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