Cumberland council asked to consider green burials

A gifting to Mother Earth is how Dr. Betty Donaldson describes the concept of green burials.

A gifting to Mother Earth.

It’s how Dr. Betty Donaldson describes the concept of green burials, where human remains are buried without embalming fluid in biodegradable caskets or shrouds.

She and other members of the Comox Valley Green Burial Committee asked Cumberland council to allow green burials in a portion of the village cemetery.

Along with serving as a life-honoring gesture, the group thinks the ‘Green Burial Movement’ will decrease carbon emissions.

Pam Munroe calls it the “ultimate recycling program,” whereby trees and shrubs that grow over a buried body in time create a park.

Three of five green burial sites in Canada are on Vancouver Island, including one planned for Denman Island.

There are about 20 green cemeteries in the U.S. and nearly 200 in the United Kingdom.

Group member Steve Hill, the chaplain at St. Joseph’s Hospital, considers a green burial a spiritual option for some people. His deceased parents were among the first to be buried at a green site in England.

In response to a question about space from Coun. Roger Kishi, Donaldson said the Royal Oak Burial Park in Victoria has dedicated upwards of 200 green sites. Every fourth site contains a tree.

Maintenance costs of a natural burial are less than a standard funeral practice while burial costs are about the same or higher than normal, Donaldson added.

It would be up to council to control the number of green sites at the cemetery.

For more information, visit www.greenburialcouncil.org.

reporter@comoxvalleyrecord.com

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