What exactly is a "green" burial?
Nicole Renwick, Executive Director of the Memorial Society of British Columbia, uses the analogy of the pilgrims crossing America to describe a green burial.
"Imagine the pilgrims making their way across America," she says. "When someone died, they simply wrapped the person in a blanket and buried them. There was no embalming fluid, no burial liner, zero affect on the environment. The body was left to decompose in the ground."
With today's interest in the environment, the green burial is enjoying a resurgence in popularity. Nicole outlines four things you should know about a green burial:
1. It's completely natural
A green burial is a process that allows for the natural decomposition of human remains without the inclusion of chemicals.
"As a minimum," Nicole explains, "for a burial to be considered green, the Memorial Society of B.C. requirements include a biodegradable coffin, no embalming, and no grave liner."
Preferably, there should be plants or shrubs planted on the grave. The highest form of a green burial would include interment in a natural setting.
2. Green burials are gaining in popularity
"It's a very popular option," says Nicole. "With today's interest in conserving the environment, people are thinking more and more about avoiding the use of chemicals and chemical liners in their burial."
3. There are various levels of "greenness"
"At the Memorial Society of B.C.," explains Nicole, "we recognize that people have different interpretations of what constitutes a "green" burial. We're actively working throughout British Columbia to ensure that all levels of green burials are available around the province."
4. Recyclable plots
A major benefit of a green burial in this time of land scarcity on the Lower Mainland is the fact that the plot is reusable.
"With a green burial," Nicole explains, "you don't purchase the plot. You lease a small piece of land. In 25 years, that plot can be reused for another burial because your remains have decomposed into the earth as part of the natural life cycle of the planet."
The Memorial Society of British Columbia is a non-profit, member-based, volunteer-driven organization that has been helping British Columbians with end of life planning decisions for more than 60 years. For a nominal one-time membership fee, the Society will record your wishes for the disposal of your remains as well as assist your loved ones secure a discount on funeral services with an approved funeral homes throughout the province.
For more information on the Memorial Society of B.C. and green burials visit the website, call 1.888.816.5902, email, or drop in the office at 205-640 West Broadway. The Memorial Society of B.C. can also be found on Facebook.