Ask Your Funeral Director - Green Alternatives
Ask Your Funeral Director
Jason Meidl – Funeral Director/Managing Director
Creston Valley Funeral Services
It’s been three months now since my family and I made our move back to the Creston Valley and we couldn’t be happier. Creston has always been our home and we always knew that we would find our way back here. From creating a new garden space for us to enjoy the wonderful bounty of this amazing valley to running the old ferry road we feel like we are back home. We are so thankful for the overwhelming community support we have received and look forward to serving our families for years to come.
Hi Jason- Thank you for your informative column. My question is about green burials. Something tells me that common burial practices- including cremation- might not be environmentally friendly. What are the greener alternatives to this? Does your funeral home provide these services? Thank you and so glad that your family is back in the valley – Barbara
Hi Barbara thanks so much for this question and it is one we field quite often. In the province of BC there are two legal forms of disposition for someone who has died, by interment in a cemetery or by cremation in a crematorium. As of right now these are the only two legal forms of disposition in the province. When it comes to interment in a cemetery there are currently five cemeteries in BC deemed to be green burial by the Green Burial Society of Canada (GBSC). When it comes to green burial there are five principles that make it green according to the GBSC. Firstly no embalming, secondly direct earth burial ( which means the body is shrouded in a shroud made of natural and biodegradable fibers, or alternatively the shrouded remains are place in a casket or an alternative form of container which is made of sustainable and fully biodegradable materials ), thirdly ecological restoration and conservation, which speaks to the protection of the established eco-systems of the interment area and visitation of the individual graves is managed through well placed walking paths and the occasional benches, along with the planting of indigenous plant materials once the grave is settled. Visitation of individual graves is discouraged and may eventually be prohibited; this is where the walking paths and benches come in. Fourthly is the idea of communal memorialization as opposed to individual memorials. The idea is that the green burial site is a living memorial to those interred there. Lastly is optimized land use. When it comes to traditional earth burial in our area, we can strive to be greener which might mean no embalming and using a casket made from sustainable and biodegradable material. We have caskets made from materials for this very reason. We are bound by the bylaws in our local cemetery which limit how “green” we can be. In Creston there is no green burial section of the cemetery as recognized by the Green Burial Society of Canada, but we can definitely work from the funeral homes perspective to create a greener burial if this is what our families are looking for.
It sure feels like spring outside here in our valley. I love walking by and seeing all the tulips in bloom. As I walked downtown this week I was thinking about flowers and funerals and how they have always gone hand in hand. This brings me to our fun fact for the week. The first recorded use of flowers was discovered by Dr. Ralph Solecki in 1951 when he discovered the use of flowers at several burial sites. It was determined through soil analysis that the use of these flowers dated back to 62,000 B.C. which marks the use of flowers as the oldest form of human ritual as noted by the Guinness Book of World Records. More recently, before the more common practice of embalming, flowers were traditionally used to mask the unpleasant odours of a decaying body. In today’s age flowers are used at funerals to create a background of warmth and beauty, as well as being an expression of love, comfort, sympathy, and respect. Our life can be symbolized by a flower in the idea that human life is fragile, and it requires the proper conditions for us to grow and blossom.
Keep the questions coming!