Why Natural Burials can be Less Damaging for the Environment
Many of us have a growing awareness of our impact on the world around us. Homes are becoming more energy efficient to cut down on fuel bills but also to use less gas and electricity. Cars are changing to electric engines from petrol or diesel to cut back on fossil fuel use. Another area that we are considering more often is what happens to our bodies when we die and this has led to an increase in the use of natural burials.
What is a natural burial?
A natural burial ground is an area of land that has been designated as a place for burials to take place but that doesn’t look like a cemetery. Most come under the Association of Natural Burial Grounds which was established in 1994 to create a standardised approach to this option for burial. It helps people in establishing natural and woodland burial grounds, assists operators and provides best practices for them.
It is also a way for people to learn more about these burial grounds and see if it is a suitable option for themselves or for loved ones. One of the biggest draws to natural burial grounds is that they offer a less environmentally damaging option than either traditional cemetery burial or even cremation.
Problems with traditional methods
For example, we often think of cremation as being an eco-friendly option for funerals and while there is no area of land required to bury the body, it is far from an eco-friendly option. In fact, it takes a lot of fossil fuels to create the high heat required to cremate a body and the process also releases significant CO2 into the atmosphere.
Embalming a body is a common practice in burials in cemeteries but this can also lead to damage to the environment. The process of embalming places a large number of toxic chemicals into the body to preserve it and over time, these can come into contact with the earth in which the body is buried.
Benefits of natural burials
On the other hand, when you opt for a natural burial, there are no chemicals used as embalming is not permitted for the potential damage to the environment. And there is also no large use of fossil fuels for embalming or release of dangerous gases during the process. Even the coffin used for the burial is chosen with careful consideration. The aim is to use a coffin that will degrade naturally along with the body and return to the natural environment.
The way that natural burial grounds are maintained is also an environmental benefit. They are kept in their natural state as much as possible and this is why commemorative stones or plaques are not allowed. Family members often plant a tree to commemorate their loved one and this act helps the natural burial ground prosper.
Option to consider
It is true that natural burial isn’t for everyone but for those who are conscious of their impact on the world or who are uncomfortable with elements of traditional funerals, it is an option that definitely merits consideration.
…the whole place looks so beautiful! I am just glad we found Westall Park in time. The beauty of the whole place buffers the sadness of the loss…
Everyone is welcome to visit Westall Park within opening hours, but if you would like to have a guided tour or to purchase plots then, to make sure we can give you our undivided attention, we recommend that you book an appointment. Our office is manned Monday to Friday 9am to 1.30pm & 2.30pm to 5pm however the site is open for visitor access 7 days a week.