Natural burial is the most environmentally benign practice. For ‘green burial’ to be truly green all the materials used should be of natural origin, organic and as locally sourced as is currently possible. The management of a natural burial ground should be in accordance with sustainable ecological principles. The Association of Natural Burial Grounds gives guidelines and a Code of Conduct for good management of ecologically sound burial grounds. Here is a link to an article about the philosophy of natural burial and a video by the very eloquent and entertaining Kaitlin Doughty.
Why choose natural burial?
Bellacouche exists to encourage people towards this more natural return to the soil and away from conventional cremation which accounts for at least 12% of harmful, polluting dioxins emitted into the atmosphere annually in the UK. Many people are concerned there is no more room for burials, so choose cremation instead. However, more natural burial sites are opening throughout the UK every year, and can be used as part of an integrated grazing system for farm animals, or as a way of creating precious woodland and this encourages wildlife and provides a more diverse habitat on farmland. Natural burial isn’t just confined to the countryside. Arnos Vale, in Bristol, is an imaginative use of an old Victorian city cemetery. It now has a natural burial area. The whole site is beautiful, a wonderful place to walk through and spend time, and there is a lovely cafe. It’s also a place for weddings and other events; it’s not just for the dead! We need green spaces in cities now more than ever, and with a little imagination and community support, this is possible, and the people living around Arnos Vale have proved this.
Natural burial is an altogether gentler, benign and completely natural approach by encouraging wildlife and providing a beautiful setting for friends and family to visit into the future. Methane or other emissions are not a problem as Nature takes care of everything in the time honoured way.