Set in the foothills of the Appalachians, this film explores one man’s vision of using green burials to conserve land. Dr. Billy Campbell, the town’s only physician, and his efforts have radically changed our understanding of burials in the United States. Dr. Campbell’s dream is to conserve one million acres of land. Dying Green focuses on the revolutionary idea of using our own death to fund land conservation and create wildlife preserves.
Produced and Directed by Ellen Tripler
Dying Green in the News
VIDEO: Six Feet Under Can Be Green for Eternity
PBS NewsHour host, Hari Sreenivasan interviews Dr. Billy Campbell and filmmaker, Ellen Tripler on the documentary.
Dying Green appears in PBS Series Natural Heroes www.naturalheroes.org
Student Oscar: Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ 39th Annual Student Academy Awards competition
Bronze medal prize in the documentary category at the College Television Awards.
Environmental issues with conventional burial
Each year, 22,500 cemeteries across the United States bury approximately:
30 million board feet (70,000 m3) of hardwood caskets
90,272 tons of steel caskets
14,000 tons of steel vaults
2,700 tons of copper and bronze caskets
1,636,000 tons of reinforced concrete vaults
827,060 US gallons (3,130 m3) of embalming fluid, which usually includes formaldehyde.
When formaldehyde is used for embalming, it breaks down, and the chemicals released into the ground after burial and ensuing decomposition are inert. The problems with the use of formaldehyde and its constituent components in natural burial are the exposure of mortuary workers to it and the destruction of the decomposer microbes necessary for breakdown of the body in the soil.