Learn how you can honor your loved ones after they’re gone — or one day celebrate your own life — by leaving a legacy that honors the Earth.

"Take nothing but memories, leave nothing but footprints." — Chief Seattle

When we lose a loved one, it can be hard to know how to memorialize and honor them in a respectful way.

Similarly, as we think about what our own wishes might be for after we’re gone, it can be difficult to know how to leave a legacy that’s in keeping with our values.

As we learn more about the profound environmental impacts of the traditional burial industry, more people than ever are pursuing what’s called green burials and other eco-conscious practices — as a way of caring for the dead with minimal environmental impact.

As we uncover the profound environmental repercussions of conventional burial practices, an increasing number of individuals are embracing green burials and other eco-friendly alternatives. These practices prioritize caring for the deceased while minimizing environmental harm.

However, navigating the realm of green burials and natural burials can be perplexing. Dr. Deerheart is here to shed light on your options and guide you through understanding what constitutes a green burial.

What is a Green Burial?

Green burials offer an alternative approach to death care that aligns with environmental values and a desire for a simpler, more natural end-of-life process.

Green burials help conserve natural resources, reduce carbon emissions, and protect worker health. Green burials also allow remains to decompose naturally, returning to the earth without the use of chemicals or materials.

For some, green burials offer a closer connection to nature and the cycle of life and death. Being buried in a natural setting, such as a forest or meadow, can feel more serene and comforting than being interred in a traditional cemetery.

Green burials can be far more cost-effective than traditional burials, as they often involve simpler practices and fewer expenses related to embalming, caskets, and burial plots.

While this might sound like an emerging movement, what we now call a green burial was standard practice throughout much of human history. Families, faith communities, and most cultures cared for their own dead. The deceased were placed in simple wood caskets or natural-fiber shrouds and then directly into the soil…


Would you like to learn more about the possibility of making
these timeless 
traditions part of your legacy?

Dr. Andrea Deerheart, ELP & special guest Brienna Smith, for a new hourlong event as they share about green burial options and other eco-conscious practices to honor our loved ones — or celebrate your own life by leaving a legacy that honors the Earth.

During this complimentary hour-long event, you’ll explore:
  • The history of burial including the terminology and language surrounding body decomposition and burial practices
  • The environmental impact of the body dissolution process and traditional burial options 
  • Green and natural burial options you might consider
  • Sustainable practices for leaving a meaningful legacy
  • How you can make eco-conscious burial/body decomposition choices when green burial is not available

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Free events like this are made possible by our generous supporters. Because we never, ever charge for our services, we simply could not exist without you. Please consider giving what you can, but know that it is not a requirement to register. You can choose whichever option works best for you below. 



Enjoy this complementary event made possible by our generous supporters.




Your donations go directly to serving clients and helping us cover the costs of running our small non-profit.


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Meet Your Hosts

Andrea Deerheart, PhD
, ELP, is the founder of The HeartWay, a nonprofit foundation dedicated to embracing life through honoring death. Her pioneering work draws on her wisdom gathered over decades spent providing loving care and healing to those on the journey of conscious living and dying. Andrea’s primary work and teaching focus on issues related to aging, radiant well-being, cultural mythology, death and dying, and living a more compassionate life — as well as grief, loss, and mindful, compassionate care.

The author of the recording Yoga Nidra: Graceful Transitions, Andrea is also a 500hrRYT yoga instructor (the highest international standard for yoga teachers), a Certified Yoga Nidra Instructor, and a sought-after consultant, educator, writer, and poet.

Brienna Smith is the longest-standing employee at Return Home, first serving as Director of Services, then as COO, and now she is responsible for overseeing Return Home’s community outreach initiatives, including both their in-person and online efforts. Brie has been a licensed funeral director and embalmer in Washington State since 2014 and she is the “voice” of Return Home, delivering our message of sustainable death care to both traditional media and social media alike.

While Brie originally joined the Return Home team to challenge her professional aptitude, she quickly found herself passionate about the science behind the natural breakdown of the body. Always up for a new adventure, Brie has been given the opportunity to dive deep into the process of composting. She takes joy in learning about the intricacies that make each terramation successful. Her passion for delivering an industry-leading standard of care, combined with her vigor to learn and adapt to difficult situations, has made her a skilled executive of our team.


Death, like birth, is a natural, accepted, and honored part of life, yet most of us avoid thinking about what we need to do to be at peace with it. If we think there will always be more time, we put off both our dreams and our obligations.

Let’s return to an awareness of our impermanence, so we remember the privilege it is to be alive and live more fully in the time that we have left.

— Dr. Andrea Deerheart

Make a Donation That Makes an Impact

This free event is made possible by our generous supporters.

Your donations go directly to serving clients and helping us cover the costs of running our small non-profit. Your generosity helps make it possible to train our end-of-life practitioners and death doulas — equipping them to be present for each family’s needs, and supporting them at this critical time, no matter how long it takes.

Our mission here at The HeartWay is to create a world in which individuals, families, and communities had a harmonious relationship with end-of-life transitions — and even the grief that follows.

We simply could not achieve this without your support. If you would like to make a donation for this event or become one of our monthly supporters click here.

Have Questions?

If you would like more information about an upcoming workshop or program, please feel free to reach out to us. We offer a warm and safe listening space for sharing and hearing.