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Embracing the concept of green funerals

When it comes to planning the end, there are greener ways to go.

I recently attended a funeral in Cobourg, Ont., where the cemetery conducts natural burials. What exactly makes a burial natural or green? – Tamara of Toronto, ON

When it comes to planning the end, there are greener ways to go.

You visited one of only two cemeteries in Canada with designated green sites; the Union Cemetery in Cobourg, Ont., and Royal Oak Burial Park in Victoria, B.C. At both, you can return to the Earth naturally with a green burial.

Green burials are low-impact, use less energy, consume fewer resources (like water), are less toxic, and may include local, sustainable materials.

Bodies are not embalmed because that delays decomposition.

Without formaldehyde to preserve the body, toxic chemicals are avoided, reducing harmful exposure both to nature and the em balmer. Instead, bodies are wrapped in a biodegradable shroud or placed in a biodegradable casket. And protected green space becomes the final resting place. To learn more, check out the Natural Burial Association’s website. (naturalburialassoc.ca)

Although only two cemeteries can perform green burials in Canada, green funerals are increasing in popularity. A green funeral means funeral homes aim to maximize environmentally friendly funeral practices while minimizing environmental impact.

For example, they may distribute brochures on 100 per cent recycled content paper or maintain their grounds without toxic pesticides.

They might also offer sustainable and biodegradable shrouds, caskets or urns.

And forget the silk flowers — use only native plants on these gravesites.

David Suzuki Foundation
Lindsay Coulter gives you the straight goods on living green. Send your questions to queenofgreen@metronews.ca. For more great tips, visit The David Suzuki Foundation at davidsuzuki.org.

 
 
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