Because of growing public concern with the environment, Green Burial alternatives offering a wide variety of environmentally friendly solutions for laying a loved to rest are becoming popular. Caskets made from renewable resources such as willow, sea grass, wool, bamboo or locally sourced sustainable second growth wood are now available. These options are attractive and gentle on the earth. In Victoria, BC, CARE Funeral Services has been providing these services for over 25 years.
Victoria, BC, Canada, March 20, 2015 — Green burials are not a new thing. The ritual of laying loved ones to rest is as old as life itself. However, for thousands of years mankind returned the remains of those who passed from this life directly back to the earth. Researchers found burial grounds of Neanderthal man dating back as far as 60,000 BC. Even then, the grave was adorned with animal antlers and flower fragments. The oldest funeral monuments were simple and natural – a mound of earth or a heap of stones marking the location of the remains. It seems even early humankind instinctually recognized the need to honour their loved ones. Until the last century, most burials were handled by family, and were “green.” Those that passed were simply laid directly in the ground on a plot of family land. As families grew and expanded geographically, burials were not always done close to home. Family and neighbours would come and pay their respects, sometimes travelling long distances.
In the last few decades a resurgence in green burials has arisen which stems, for the most part, from a concern for the environment. The reappearance of green burial in modern times was first documented in Great Britain. The high cremation rate on this densely populated island sparked a widespread backlash from environmentalists. Britain was the first to recognize the need for an alternative to cremation and they responded by establishing the first official green burial park in 1993. Great Britain now has more than 270 green cemeteries, but Canada has been slower to respond. In Victoria, BC there is one of two of the only green burial sites in this country.
A growing concern for the planet, and living a life in balance with nature, is extremely important for many people today. Once life comes to a close, it is just as crucial to go out naturally and cause as little damage as possible as it was while living. Green burial is an important positive choice that addresses environmental concerns and changes the way people goes about laying their loved ones to rest. Natural burial grounds are not landscaped. They are woodland and meadow areas where bodies are buried among natural vegetation. A green burial has a low impact on the environment, uses less energy, consumes fewer resources, is less toxic, and may include local, sustainable materials. The simplest green burial includes a biodegradable coffin, but the embalming process and a grave liner are eliminated. The most desirable location is in a natural setting with native plants and shrubs. There are no concrete vaults and headstones are replaced by indigenous rocks or native plants. Pesticides are not used on the site. These burial sites are a place where individual graves become part of the local natural landscape and contribute to the environmental sustainability of the community ecosystem, not an area cordoned off by fences and rows of planted trees.
The process begins by preparing the body so that it will return to the earth as naturally and organically as possible. A temperature controlled facility temporarily holds the body and it undergoes basic care including bathing and disinfecting. The body is wrapped in an organic shroud made of cotton and then placed in a biodegradable casket. Some families wish to participate in the dressing, shrouding, and casketing of the body, but this is optional. CARE Funeral will ensure that every loved one receives the respect and attention that they deserve throughout the green burial process. Traditional burial requires a concrete vault for the casket, but green burial eliminates this and the casket is placed directly into the earth. Through time, the body decomposes and contributes to the cycle of life.
About Care Funeral Service:
In Victoria, CARE Funeral Services has environmentally friendly solutions for laying a loved to rest. Aside from the already mentioned caskets from renewable resources, such as willow, sea grass, wool or bamboo, there are even cardboard coffins that are suitable for burial and completely biodegradable. Locally sourced sustainable second growth wood where the wood is either untreated or darkened with natural oil is also a possibility for a wooden casket. These caskets use alternative fastening mechanisms as no metal hardware is permitted. The interiors of the caskets are lined with unbleached cotton which is biodegradable and safe for the environment.
But CARE Funeral Services also looks into other areas of the process to exhaust all the possibilities for a green burial, including alternatives to traditional headstones and floral arrangements, since floral arrangements decay, but leave behind wires and plastics used to hold the arrangements together, and traditional markers are often made of marble or granite, both stones which are not available locally.
Care Funeral Services
2676 Wilfert Road
Canada, V9C 3V7