How to Establish a Green Cemetery

January 23, 2004


Several persons across America have asked, “How can I open a ‘green cemetery’?”

Following is the procedure that I followed to open The Ethician Family Cemetery in Texas:

1. I searched the Internet for information about cemetery law in Texas.

2. Next, I asked my State Representative for help in receiving essential information from the State Agency responsible for cemeteries.

3. I then found a philanthropic couple (who happened to be composed of my 92 year old father and 88 year old mother) who believed in “green burial” and who happened to own a beautiful natural area that they wanted to preserve.

4. Then, I contacted a Land Trust willing to accept a perpetual conservation easement that would insure that the acreage would always be maintained in a natural wilderness state.

5. My parents then deeded a perpetual conservation easement to the Land Trust.

6. Immediately thereafter they deeded the land itself to The Universal Ethician Church.

7. The services of a surveyor were contracted in order to meet the requirements of Texas law that requires that a plat of the cemetery be filed in the local County Courthouse.

If you would like to establish a “green cemetery” in your State then I suggest learning all that you can about your State’s legal requirements and then working toward your goal.

It may be possible to find a local attorney versed in your State’s cemetery laws who will help either pro bono or for a small fee, especially if he believes as we do.

In Texas, the legal requirements are different for Church Cemeteries than they are for profit-making cemeteries or other types of non-profit cemeteries. There is also a provision in Texas law that allows Family Cemeteries of up to 10 acres.

If your State allows the establishment of Family Cemeteries and you can meet the requirements, then you might consider your own family cemetery with provisions on record in the Courthouse that allows only “green burials” of family members and that the wilderness character of the cemetery never be compromised.

If you would like to establish an Ethician Family Cemetery in your State, we would be happy to have you unite with us in our goal of having “green cemeteries” available in every part of America.

We would ask that if you become a part of an Ethician confederation of “green cemeteries,” that you keep us posted as to your progress, and that when the cemetery is formally recognized, that you provide us with information about your cemetery to be posted on our web site at

If you would like to establish a “green” for profit cemetery, then we suggest that you contact Memorial Ecosystems. You can find their web site by visiting .

Good luck. We are anxious to hear of your success.

George H. Russell
The Universal Ethician Church