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What is a Green Burial?
Also known as natural burial, a green burial ensures the burial site remains as natural as possible in all respects. According to the Green Burial Council, there are three main characteristics to this practice: a non-toxic preparation of the body, the absence of a vault, and the use of containers made of organic material. In other words, there is no embalming and the use of biodegradable containers, such as caskets, shrouds, or nothing. These significant differences make green burial a good alternative for families concerned about reducing carbon emissions, workers’ health, and preserving the environment.
It is clear that nature has intended that our bodies be reunited with the earth. All organisms that have lived, have died and returned to the soil...only to be recycled into new life. Constant microbial activity in the soil breaks everything down. Nature creates no waste. Everything is recycled. In keeping with your personal values, a natural burial site for you, family, even pets, promotes growth of native trees, shrubs and wildflowers, in turn bringing birds and other wildlife to the area.
Water is not wasted, nor are pesticides and herbicides used in attempts to control nature. Instead, a green cemetery allows nature take it's course. Planting native trees, shrubs and flowers in your loved one's honor promotes habitat restoration. To encourage land preservation, a green cemetery grants a conservation easement for the burial site. Choosing a green burial now relieves your loved ones of the distress that comes in having to make difficult, and often costly, decisions after your passing. Involve your friends and family now, so difficult decisions do not need to be made in a time of grief.
Embalming is the preservation of the human body using chemicals. It delays decomposition, and it is used for cosmetic purposes to keep the body looking “natural” during the viewing. The use of chemicals has serious consequences for the environment, as they are released on the soil and waters after the burial. Overall, embalming is not necessary for end-of-life ceremonies and can be substituted for more natural methods.
Green burial excludes the embalming process, and it doesn’t inhibit decomposition, allowing the body to nourish the soil after it’s buried. That doesn’t mean the body can’t be prepared for burial and public display. There are several techniques, such as refrigeration, and the use of topical nontoxic lotions and oils, to keep the body preserved during the ceremonies.
Why Have a Green Burial?
Although a little different from traditional practices, green burials still provide families a meaningful way of honoring their loved ones and allow people to start their healing journey all the same. There are some main reasons a family might choose to have a green burial for their loved one, amongst them:
Natural Return to the Earth: for many people, a green burial is a way to close the life cycle, to reunite a body with the earth. All organisms that have lived, have died and returned to the soil, only to be recycled into new life. Nature creates no waste, everything is recycled and utilized to continue creating life on Earth. In keeping with your personal values, a natural burial site for you, your family, and even pets, promotes the growth of native trees, shrubs, and wildflowers, in turn bringing birds and other wildlife to the area.
Environmentally friendly: Without the use of heavy chemicals and other materials that remain in the soil for centuries, Green Burial is the most environmentally conscious practice. The natural decomposition of the body nourishes the soil, while the biodegradable materials used in the burial will blend into the Earth in a few years, causing no harm to the fauna and flora.
Costs & Simplicity
Because green burial excludes several elements of a traditional burial, it tends to be a cheaper option. Embalming, vaults, and coffins are expensive, increasing the final prices of a burial service. Alongside that, the process of choosing all these items is time-consuming. The simplicity of the Green Burial not only relieves the family from financial burden but also saves time and worries.
Still Have Questions?
At Johnson-Taylor Funeral & Cremation, our dedicated staff will be glad to answer all your questions about green burial and help you decide what’s the best option for your family.