November 9, 2018
More families are considering natural burial these days, after rethinking traditional options that have been in place for over a century. If you’re wondering about the benefits of natural burial, and why some prefer it over traditional burials, here’s what you need to know.
Typically, American families choose traditional burial for their loved ones, simply because it’s been the most popular option for more than a century. Traditional burial involves preservation of the body using chemicals known as embalming fluids. It also involves burial in a casket that’s placed inside a vault. There are in-ground vaults and vaults that are located in mausoleums. Both are designed to protect the sealed casket from elements such as moisture and dirt.
Some people believe that the traditional method of preparation and burial is not sustainable. Embalming fluids are considered toxic to the people who work with them and also to the environment.
Meanwhile, caskets can be considered resource-heavy because they’re made of metal or precious woods. Vaults, made of concrete, also require considerable resources. Finally, even a headstone or monument could be considered a draw on resources that could someday become scarce. Even without the scarcity, the mining and transport of materials like granite, which is used on many headstones, takes precious resources in the form of energy consumption.
Because of these reasons, natural burials offer many advantages.
Natural burials are beneficial because they eliminate all the concerns that many people have about traditional burial. The guiding principles of this type of burial are concern for the environment and oneness with the environment. Whether it’s preservation of habitat, conservation of resources, or protection of worker health, natural burial upholds environmental standards that resonate with many of today’s families.
It should be noted that the term “green burial” is sometimes used interchangeably with “natural burial,” however these methods of burial are slightly different. “Natural Burial” strictly refers to the burial process whereas a “green burial” is the burial process as well as the cemetery in which the burial occurs. In order to qualify as a green burial, the cemetery where the burial occurs must meet certain eco-friendly criteria. A “natural burial” can take place in any type of cemetery.
Natural burial advantages are derived from the overriding importance that’s placed upon making as small an impact as possible when it comes to saying goodbye to a loved one who has passed away. For example, natural burial does not involve using formaldehyde, a known carcinogen that poses health risks to the people who work in funeral homes. Instead, non-toxic materials are used for sanitation and preservation. Among these are essential oils, which are also biodegradable as well as non-toxic. Here are some other natural burial advantages.
Natural burial also means that the loved one is closer to Earth, a part of the earth, with no concrete vaults or metal caskets separating the person from nature.
Avoiding toxins in the workplace is just one benefit of choosing natural burial. Here are a few more:
Natural burial has always been around, but in more developed countries it was quite rare until the early 1990’s. That’s when, in Britain, there was a resurgence of interest in natural burial. The movement started when British cemeteries became crowded and people became aware of the limitations of land resources. As large as Britain may be, it’s still an island, where land is precious. Here in the United States, we may have more land, but there are still limits to the acreage that can be dedicated to burial in the traditional methods.
The early movement also came to be associated with a certain mode of spirituality. Those who chose this method of burial were people who had been deeply connected to nature on a spiritual level during their lives. While that association is still true, there are lots of other reasons to choose natural burial.
Anyone who understands the benefits of natural burial is likely to consider this option. From people who lived a life close to nature, to people who made a stand against the destruction of the environment in some way during their lives, to people whose families desire a more purposeful burial option, natural burial makes sense for all kinds of people and their families. If you’d like to get more information on natural burials, we have lots of online resources. And please don’t hesitate to reach out to us with your questions. We’ll help in any way we can!
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