Where Nature Endures

by MSO
wooded area with a path illustrating natural burial areas

Many green burial grounds use GPS to help family members and friends find the final resting place of a loved one.

There are no imposing granite tombstones, no potted plants or candles in holders but there are acres of trees or untouched meadows and meandering paths strewn with wood chips. Natural burial grounds are becoming popular around the world and are the preferred final resting place of nature lovers who want to be buried in a setting surrounded by native plants and trees, birdsong and butterflies. They also want to leave the smallest possible environmental footprint as part of their legacy.

There are rules, however, that must be met before a burial can take place. Bodies that have been embalmed are not allowed. The deceased must he buried in an unbleached or undyed cotton shroud. Some natural burial grounds will allow caskets however they must be made of wood from fast growing trees and can have no metal or other unnatural materials used in the construction.

Some natural burial grounds will not accept cremated ashes as the process of cremation is not considered environmentally friendly. Those that do accept cremains will allow burial provided that the urn is biodegradeable. Traditional tombstones are also forbidden. Uncut stones may be used to mark a grave and some natural burial grounds use GPS to guide visitors to the sites of unmarked graves.

Graves are dug by hand except in winter months when machine power is needed to break through the frozen layers of earth. Lawnmowers are not used at the site and if grasses need to be cut a scythe is used.

As for the cost, interment at a green burial ground runs about the same as a burial at a traditional cemetery.

Read more:

Natural Burial Association

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