Remembering loved ones without destroying the environment

One thing I’ve noticed since starting this blog is that when I think something might not be eco friendly, it usually isn’t. This isn’t down to my amazing intuition though, I think it’s because most things we do as humans aren’t that good for the environment. Sadly, this also includes dying.

This weekend, Andrew, my mum, the kids and me went to Lastingham in North Yorkshire. It’s a beautiful village of stone cottages and winding lanes surrounded by moors. It was also one of my dad’s favourite places to visit.

We had dinner in the pub, the Blacksmith’s Arms, where, quite unbelievably for a country pub, they had two vegan options to choose from. This is so surprising as a few years ago Andrew and me went on holiday to the Yorkshire Dales and went to a pub in a similar kind of village and the vegetarian special was, I kid you not, beef.

After a truly delicious vegan tart, (Andrew had an equally tasty nut roast), we popped into the church and then headed up the hill to the bench where my dad liked to sit. We’d been here many times when my brother and me were kids so it was nice to come back with Andrew and our kids and make a new lot of memories.

I’d thought about taking some flowers up and leaving them on the bench but I had the feeling that this would be an eco no-no. I thought that the issue would be that flowers usually come wrapped in plastic which could blow away, be eaten by sheep and is single use anyway.

Plastic is an issue, but after looking into it a bit more I found out that flowers themselves are a huge environmental problem, as is the foam used for floral displays.

Floriculture (the rather pleasing name for the cut flower industry) is well dodgy when it comes to the environment. Flowers are imported from Kenya, Ethiopia, Columbia and other far flung places, many of which have water scarcity. The millage on a bunch of flowers is huge – flowers are driven to airports, then packed into planes and then driven to shops to sell. That’s a lot of energy used on something that, from the moment it’s been cut, has started to rot. Most cut flowers only last a couple of weeks maximum anyway.

I didn’t want to remember my dad with flowers that he wouldn’t have wanted anyway. So I took two stones the my mum had collected from Bridlington beach and she cut some rosemary from the garden and we left these on my dad’s favourite bench instead.

Rosemary is traditionally a sign of remembrance, thanks to Ophelia in Hamlet, and my dad also liked cooking so it seemed fitting.

Stones and rosemary
Seaside stones and rosemary for remembrance

They’re not as fancy as flowers but they mean more to us as a family and will last longer.

Next time we visit I might get Joni to paint a stone and we could make a fresh herb bouquet.


Recent Content