Natural or green burial is a return to burials that are simple, non-toxic, and designed to support the reunion of human bodies with nature as effectively and completely as possible.
The natural (‘green’) burial movement began in the 1990’s and has gained popularity and momentum as more people contemplate their relationship to the earth and how their choices at death affect the natural environment and climate change.
In natural burial, the body is buried 3-4 feet deep, in the active soil zone; all soil removed from the grave is returned, in the strata from which it originated, to maintain and support the complex soil food web.
Bodies may be buried in completely biodegradable shrouds or native wood caskets, without the use of embalming, concrete, metal or plastic. Green burial returns the body’s carbon and other minerals to the earth without energy-intensive incineration. Cremated remains or human compost in biodegradable containers can also be buried. The Forest Conservation Burial Ground welcomes interment ceremonies and visits to gravesites by loved ones for years after.
Green burial simply makes sense here. Life is vibrant and the seasons pass amid mature conifers, oaks, native shrubs, grasses, and wildflowers. Burial sites overlook meadows and seasonal wetlands. Paths and trails wind through the cemetery, inviting us to pause, listen to the wind in the trees, watch the birds, and spend time with nature. This is a place to observe and honor the seasons of nature, life and death, including the grief that connects them all.
Mary Ann Perry, the sexton for The Forest Conservation Burial Ground, joins VoiceAmerica host Cheryl Jones to talk about first funerals at The Forest, the principles of green burial, and what led her to a passion for this work.
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