How It All Started
In 2002, Juliette and Joe Sehee moved to the Mojave Desert with a vision of opening an eco-retreat. Influenced by early Christian monastics who made pilgrimages to the desert in order to “befriend death” they hoped to invite others to find solace in the fierce landscape that is Joshua Tree, California.
One of the groups the couple hoped to serve were those suffering from loss, which led the Sehees to explore end-of-life rituals they might accommodate. They also wanted to find a way to protect the thousands of empty acres at the edge of their retreat. These interests led them to learn about the green burial movement that had begun to take shape in England, as well as the first conservation cemetery in the United States which had been launched in 1998 by Dr. William and Kimberley Campbell in Westminster, South Carolina.
"In the spring of 2005, I founded the Green Burial Council to establish standards within the growing green burial movement. To do so, I brought together a host of experts from the fields of sustainable landscape design, restoration ecology, conservation management, law and consumer affairs. Together we developed the the first set of environmental standards for green cemeteries and the funeral professionals and product manufacturers that support them.
Today, the organization has grown to become the standard-bearer and lead steward of the growing environmental/social/consumer green burial movement to ensure that our end-of-life practices—and the facilities, products and practices associated with them—further legitimize environmental aims. We will continue doing everything we can to support ways of caring for our dead, and in doing so, make end-of-life rituals more meaningful, simple and sustainable."
—Joe Sehee, Founder