Green Burial – "How green is green?"

When I ask a Funeral Director about Green Burial I am usually asked “How GREEN is GREEN?”  I took this question to Erik Lees of Lees and Associates,. Erik is a landscape architect who specializes in Cemeteries and in Green Burial.

Erik shared a slide (see image) depicting “different shades of green”.  From least difficult, and least green to more difficult and more green the suggestions include (but are not limited to):

  • Do not embalm the body.
  • Use a simple shroud or a biodegradable casket
  • Do not use a memorial plaque, or use communal or group plaques
  • Plan for ecological restoration and preservation
  • Optimize land use (example?)
  • Re use graves in the future

In working with families it may be helpful to share this information. For those planning cemeteries it may be helpful to identify which items easiers to integrate and which items might be a bit more difficult.

[Subsequent to this post, the Ontario Association of Cemetery and Funeral Professionals published an article on Green Burials in Canada – Dec 2014]

Would this be helpful information for you?

One thought on “Green Burial – "How green is green?"

  1. Thanks, Kath, for raising this subject. I expect that the first four on your list would be fairly acceptable to people who are concerned about ecology. The last two are where (I think) people would have ethical problems based on our social taboos – but the last one is a critical question in terms of land use (and the lack of it for burial grounds). I would love to see clear-cut land turned over to green burial grounds and land conversatories, but it would take the government buying those lands (as they used to do for burial grounds) to address the problems with initial funding for the land, and then holding in perpetuity.

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