In June the Nelson End of Life Society (NELS) presented to Nelson City Council the possibility of a green burial option at the Nelson cemetery.
Green burials were started in Britain in the 1990’s and soon spread to North America. This initiative is being driven by the baby boomers who have a high interest in environmental responsibility. At present the choices are cremation, which consumes huge amounts of energy for each body and adds many toxic chemicals to the atmosphere, or traditional burial which often adds embalming fluid, steel and concrete to the earth.
The Green Burial Society of Canada’s standards include no embalming, direct earth burial in a biodegradable container or shroud, communal memorialization (no individual grave markers but communal inscription on a boulder) and subsequent planting of indigenous trees, shrubs and plants. The intent is to optimize land use by integrating the area with the local ecosystem.
The Public Works department is open to this idea and has suggested an area that may be appropriate. Currently there is a by-law in place which requires a fibreglass vault for each grave and this would need to be amended. Many communities in B.C. and across Canada are in the process of providing this option as there is a high demand.
NELS is a non-profit organization that provides options and alternatives to traditional end of life choices. Green burials are one of the initiatives. Also under the NELS umbrella are the threshold choir, death doulas, and our Good to Go package. For more information regarding this organization go to nelsociety.org or call 250-509-1617.