Plans stall for Hawaii’s first eco-friendly cemetery on Maui

Those behind the idea hope an alternative will soon emerge.
Published: Oct. 18, 2021 at 7:36 PM HST|Updated: Oct. 18, 2021 at 7:51 PM HST
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HAIKU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A setback in an effort to create Hawaii’s first eco-friendly cemetery isn’t stopping Reverend Bodhi Be.

Be was eager to buy property with a very generous donation last year, but the offer fell through.

“It was proposed to us that someone would match up to $1 million in donations,” said Be. “Then that person had to use that money elsewhere. So that was a very sad time for us.”

Be is the Executive Director of Doorway Into Light, a non-profit organization aimed to educate the dying and their families about death.

“Many people are grieving right now. Not only because somebody close to them has died. But just because of the conditions of the world,” Be said.

His organization also operates the only non-profit, certified, green funeral home in the state.

“A lot of what we do is by donation,” he said.

His shop in Haiku, The Death Store, offers handcrafted caskets and urns made from biodegradable materials like wood, gourds, even newspaper.

Be said it is important to him to offer affordable eco-friendly options for grieving families.

So far, he has raised $135,000 for his vision for Hawaii’s green cemetery.

‘There is no embalming, no heavy metals, no concrete grave liners, no plastic grave liners,” said Be. “It would be the first natural green burial ground in Hawaii and the first burial ground in Hawai’i where one could have a tree planted over one’s grave.”

The land he was eyeing has since been sold, but he hopes another door will open for him.

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