Green Goodbyes: Go For Natural Burials to Save the Environment

Khryss | Published 2017-11-14 17:06

Not only that, you even get to help wildlife!

Traditional burials include embalming chemicals and coffin materials that's harmful for the soil. Meanwhile, alternatives like cremation pollutes the air, not to mention makes you pay through the nose as it typically costs around $7000.

This increases the appreciation for natural burials wherein bodies are enclosed in biodegradable containers when buried. Loved ones of the deceased may just have to put natural markers like plants to find its place after, which brings us to what's called conservation burials.

In conservation burials, as money can be saved when having natural burials, this can be used instead to fund conservation. That is, burial sites are doubled as a place for endangered native species. So, once the body is buried, it is then planted over with threatened species of plants.

“People are looking to create some sort of tangible legacy, which is why we spend all this money on fancy coffins and tombstones,” Matthew Holden at the University of Queensland in Australia says. “Maybe we can use this money to provide a conservation legacy instead.”

He calculated the theoretical money that can be raised when conservation burials become more common even at least in the US. If all 1.2 million Americans buried conventionally each year switch to natural burials, $3.8 billion could be raised for conservation! To compare, a previous study estimated a $4 billion a year cost of decreasing extinction risk of all threatened species on land (Science, doi.org/mg6).

“In my experience, the prime appeal of a natural burial is the return of the body to a living space that isn’t full of headstones and granite,” says Kevin Hartley at Earth Funerals, an Australian not-for-profit. “And then extending that – knowing it will lead to another acre of missing habitat being restored – it’s just lovely.”

https://www.newscientist.com/article/2152509-why-burying-loved-ones-in-unmarked-graves-could-save-wildlife/

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