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Green burials should be option in Nelson

The Nelson End of Life Society writes about why the practice should be adopted locally
The Nelson End of Life Society wants an area at the Nelson Cemetery set aside for green burials. Photo: Submitted

Submitted by Nelson End of Life Society

Is green burial an option in Nelson?

The short answer is no, and yet there is an outpouring of requests. Eco-minded citizens of Nelson want to have this option.

It has been over five years since the Nelson End of Life Society started lobbying the city for green (or natural) burials to be an option at the Nelson Cemetery. Presentations were made to city council explaining the concept and the bylaws that would need to be amended. In addition, the society has gathered over 1,200 signatures on a petition, both physical and online at their website.

Green burials were started in Britain in the 1990s and soon spread to North America. The initiative is being driven by baby boomers who have a high interest in environmental responsibility. At present the choices are cremation or conventional burial. Cremation consumes huge amounts of energy for each body and adds many toxic chemicals into the atmosphere. Conventional burial often adds embalming fluid, steel, concrete, and fiberglass into the earth.

The Green Burial Society of Canada’s standards include no embalming, direct earth burial in a biodegradable container or shroud. Subsequently, the area is planted with indigenous trees, shrubs and ground cover. The intent is to optimize land use by integrating the area with the local ecosystem.

Many communities in B.C. and across Canada are in the process of providing a green burial option to meet the high demand. Currently, in the Kootenays, the only option for being buried naturally is outside Winlaw with the Dumont Creek Burial Society. Recently the Slocan Lake Green Burial Society in New Denver had an acre of land donated to them for green burials.

Natural and conventional burial areas can co-exist in our cemetery. This would provide the opportunity for individuals in our community to make the best choice for themselves. If this natural burial option is of interest to you please let our city council know.

The Nelson End of Life Society is a non-profit organization that provides options and alternatives to traditional end of life choices. Green burials are one of our initiatives. For more information regarding this organization or to sign the green burial petition, go to their website or call 250-509-1617.