The Green Burial Council (GBC) has awarded Rabbi Stuart Kelman of Berkeley, California and Fr. Charles Morris of Wyandotte, Michigan as the co-recipients of its 2012 Leadership Award.
“Rabbi Kelman and Fr. Morris have done more than anyone within their respective religious traditions to advance the notion that death can and ought to be connected to life,” said Joe Sehee, Executive Director of the Green Burial Council who presented both clergy members with their awards at a dinner held at the American Jewish University in Los Angeles.
Rabbi Kelman was the leading force behind creating “Gan Yarok” (Hebrew for green garden) in Mill Valley, California; the first Jewish green burial ground situated within a conventional cemetery. Fr. Morris spearheaded the effort to make Mt. Carmel, located in the downriver Detroit suburb of Wyandotte, the first Catholic diocesan cemetery to have a green section.
Green burial is a way of using end-of-life rituals to further environmental aims such as protecting workers health, reducing carbon emission, conserving natural resources, preserving and restoring the habitat.