Green, or natural burial is a way of caring for the dead with minimal environmental impact that aids in the conservation of natural resources, reduction of carbon emissions, protection of worker health, and the restoration and/or preservation of habitat. Green burial necessitates the use of non-toxic and biodegradable materials, such as caskets, shrouds, and urns.
A green funeral
Some of the more important elements of a green funeral are these:
- rejects cremation
- opts for burial in a site serving a conservation purpose
- creates an environment which is not visually definable as a burial ground
- reviles embalming
- requires a coffin or shroud locally made from natural, sustainable materials
- forbids demarcation of the grave
- forbids marking or personalising of the grave with any sort of permanent memorial
- forbids tending of the grave
Losing the plot
Some burial grounds will let you mark the grave with a temporary marker, usually a wooden one. Others will let you mark the grave with a small, simply-worded stone marker laid flat. Some will allow nothing at all.
If you are considering natural burial you need to think very hard about this. Many people find it very difficult to lose sight of exactly where a person is buried.
Some are more beautiful than others
Those natural burial grounds which permit a certain amount of gardening of the grave find it impossible to hold the line. Graves start to get cluttered with all sorts of memorial items: plaster figures, wind chimes, teddy bears, artificial flowers. You find bedecked graves next to unkempt graves – graves as nature intended. The burial ground begins to look like a shanty town of the dead.
The best look is probably the there’s-nobody-here look.
You can green your funeral with one of a variety of ethically sourced coffins which are just as attractive to people who simply like the look of them.