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Green burials: what you need to know about this environmentally-conscious funeral practice

Through green burials, Kearney Funeral Services offers families a natural and sustainable alternative to conventional post-life arrangements.
Green burial.

Did you know that there’s a more natural alternative to the traditional burials and cremations you’re familiar with?

A green burial, or a natural burial, is an option for those who wish to minimize their impact on the environment when making final disposition arrangements for themselves or for their loved ones. 

Honouring the natural cycle of life, Green burials are a sustainable and sensitive practice, through which the body is returned to the earth to naturally decompose and contribute to and support new forms of life, all the while promoting land conservation.

In using fewer resources, this form of burial is ideal for those who are eco-conscious.

As explained by Kearney Funeral Services, green burials typically follow this general process: 

  • The body is sanitized and prepared.
  • If embalming is requested for the body, eco-friendly chemicals and embalming methods are used.*
  • The body is wrapped in a natural fibre, biodegradable shroud.
  • Or, if dressing is requested, the body is covered with biodegradable natural fibre garments (such as 100% cotton and linen).
  • If using a casket or urn, use biodegradable alternatives that do not use toxic glues, metal attachments, or other unsustainable materials. (Kearney has a vast number of green options available for environmentally-friendly casket and urn selections.)
  • The covered or casketed body is placed directly into the earth.
  • The plot remains unmarked so that the land may be used again, fulfilling the green practice’s intent.

Natural burial. Photo: Getty Images.

Additionally, the impact of a green burial can continue well beyond the memorial ceremony through continual preservation and restoration projects on the burial grounds. 

“After allowing some time for grave settling, the surface is planted with locally indigenous plant materials using a combination of groundcover, shrubs, and trees,” states the Green Burial Society of Canada. “These plantings are designed to optimize the creation, enhancement, and integration of the interment area into the greater local ecosystem.”

Ultimately, the green burial site as a whole becomes a living memorial to the persons interred there, as a form of communal memorialization.

To date, B.C. cemeteries that are approved as Certified Green Burial Providers are located within Vancouver, South Surrey, Victoria, and Parksville.

Through green burial arrangements like those provided by Kearney Funeral Services, your loved ones can be laid to rest in a beautiful natural setting. That way, even after death, they will continue to be part of Earth’s natural life cycle for eternity.

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