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Would you prefer a natural burial?

By Alexandra Craig 23 June 2015 45

gungahlin cemetery

When people pass away, the majority of them are either buried in a coffin or are cremated. But now plans are underway for Canberra’s deceased to be buried without a coffin. To be clear, when this is implemented, it will not be compulsory to be buried coffin-less. It’s a choice.

Territory and Municipal Services Minister Shane Rattenbury said last week that many people are looking for more environmentally friendly ways to be buried. Being buried without a coffin, a ‘natural burial’, doesn’t involve any chemicals that might be used during an embalming process, and obviously doesn’t use the energy that would be used in a cremation.

The Minister also said that the burials would take up less land because people would be buried vertically, rather than horizontally. The Minister expects that natural burials will be a welcome option in the ACT, given that cardboard coffins are already used here.

I’m not sure how I feel about this. I’m in a couple of different minds about it depending on whether it’s myself being buried or a family member, and whether or not I’m particularly close to that family member, plus a whole lot of other factors.

If I was the one to pass away, I don’t really care what people do with me. I hate money being spent on me so if it’s cheaper to chuck me into a hole with no coffin or whatever, go for it. If it was my partner that passed away, I don’t know what I would want for him. I suppose it depends on the circumstance and how I was coping. I know a lot of people deal with their pain by giving their loved one a really fancy farewell service with a nice casket and the like, while others cope by keeping the ashes with them.

I think it’s great that the government is offering this as an option for burial. It’s good for the environment and I assume it will be cheaper too. However, I expect there to be a lot of varied opinions on this.

What do you think about natural burials? Would you opt for it yourself or for a loved one? 


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Would you prefer a natural burial?
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Antagonist 10:05 am 03 Jul 15

SouthernHighlandsKoalaSanctuary said :

P.S most of the mercury in the air is from mercury fillings of people who have chosen cremation.

Try coal burning power plants. By a loooooooong way.

dungfungus said :

SouthernHighlandsKoalaSanctuary said :

Just letting you know that we are setting up the Southern Highlands Memorial Park within the Southern Highlands Koala Sanctuary near Bowral. This is being developed as a natural burial ground with both burial plots as well as a fossil capped natural stone wall for ashes, all set in a sunny woodland.

Natural burial grounds in NSW are governed by the same NSW Health Department regulations as standard cemeteries, so the depth of plots is the same. And like other cemeteries in NSW, burial will be the standard horizontal style.

The main points of difference are that only inert or biodegradable items are allowed into the 10 hectare park as the memorial park sits within the koala sanctuary and the whole 6 square kilometers of the sanctuary is a declared wildlife refuge. So anything that is toxic to the soil such as formaldehyde, toxic glues, plastics and resins, herbicides and pesticides, as are found in standard cemeteries, will not be permitted as they can pollute the environment and impact on the flora and fauna.

The other point of difference is that natural burial grounds fit in better to the surrounding landscape. Plots are spaced further apart to accommodate the existing tree roots of the trees. There is a choice of either no headstone or a headstone of natural local stone placed horizontally so as to not disturb the views of the forest and woodland. GPS and careful on-the-ground measurements are taken to record the exact location of each burial and ashes placement. Natural burial grounds or eco cemeteries are gentle and peaceful places that act as a legacy by helping to protect and nurture habitat for our Australian plants and animals.

In the UK, natural burial options are now popular with 10% of people choosing a more environmentally friendly option as town cemeteries fill up and local farmers work with councils to create new cemeteries that don’t harm the environment. It is also available in the USA, Europe and NZ.

Funds from the Southern Highlands Memorial Park are being used to support habitat conservation, to protect the local koala population, and to provide education and support research on biodiversity and environmental sustainability. We expect to open this social enterprise to the public within a year.

We are on Facebook if you would like to find out more info. We are also starting up a Friends of the Southern Highlands Koala Sanctuary group in a few months.

Warm regards

Thelma Johnson
Community Engagement Officer
Southern Highlands Memorial Park
0400 035 643 mob.
emucreek@gmail.com

Are the mercury fillings in baby-boomers’ teeth allowed?

Yes, that will be fine. We won’t be requiring the surgical removal of any device or fillings etc. We figure that if it is stable enough as a long term medical device, then it will be unlikely to be unstable and will not pose harm to the sanctuary. Sometimes things are best just left alone.

P.S most of the mercury in the air is from mercury fillings of people who have chosen cremation.

Warm regards

Thelma

dungfungus 10:31 pm 28 Jun 15

SouthernHighlandsKoalaSanctuary said :

Just letting you know that we are setting up the Southern Highlands Memorial Park within the Southern Highlands Koala Sanctuary near Bowral. This is being developed as a natural burial ground with both burial plots as well as a fossil capped natural stone wall for ashes, all set in a sunny woodland.

Natural burial grounds in NSW are governed by the same NSW Health Department regulations as standard cemeteries, so the depth of plots is the same. And like other cemeteries in NSW, burial will be the standard horizontal style.

The main points of difference are that only inert or biodegradable items are allowed into the 10 hectare park as the memorial park sits within the koala sanctuary and the whole 6 square kilometers of the sanctuary is a declared wildlife refuge. So anything that is toxic to the soil such as formaldehyde, toxic glues, plastics and resins, herbicides and pesticides, as are found in standard cemeteries, will not be permitted as they can pollute the environment and impact on the flora and fauna.

The other point of difference is that natural burial grounds fit in better to the surrounding landscape. Plots are spaced further apart to accommodate the existing tree roots of the trees. There is a choice of either no headstone or a headstone of natural local stone placed horizontally so as to not disturb the views of the forest and woodland. GPS and careful on-the-ground measurements are taken to record the exact location of each burial and ashes placement. Natural burial grounds or eco cemeteries are gentle and peaceful places that act as a legacy by helping to protect and nurture habitat for our Australian plants and animals.

In the UK, natural burial options are now popular with 10% of people choosing a more environmentally friendly option as town cemeteries fill up and local farmers work with councils to create new cemeteries that don’t harm the environment. It is also available in the USA, Europe and NZ.

Funds from the Southern Highlands Memorial Park are being used to support habitat conservation, to protect the local koala population, and to provide education and support research on biodiversity and environmental sustainability. We expect to open this social enterprise to the public within a year.

We are on Facebook if you would like to find out more info. We are also starting up a Friends of the Southern Highlands Koala Sanctuary group in a few months.

Warm regards

Thelma Johnson
Community Engagement Officer
Southern Highlands Memorial Park
0400 035 643 mob.
emucreek@gmail.com

Are the mercury fillings in baby-boomers’ teeth allowed?

SouthernHighlandsKoalaSanctuary 11:09 pm 27 Jun 15

Just letting you know that we are setting up the Southern Highlands Memorial Park within the Southern Highlands Koala Sanctuary near Bowral. This is being developed as a natural burial ground with both burial plots as well as a fossil capped natural stone wall for ashes, all set in a sunny woodland.

Natural burial grounds in NSW are governed by the same NSW Health Department regulations as standard cemeteries, so the depth of plots is the same. And like other cemeteries in NSW, burial will be the standard horizontal style.

The main points of difference are that only inert or biodegradable items are allowed into the 10 hectare park as the memorial park sits within the koala sanctuary and the whole 6 square kilometers of the sanctuary is a declared wildlife refuge. So anything that is toxic to the soil such as formaldehyde, toxic glues, plastics and resins, herbicides and pesticides, as are found in standard cemeteries, will not be permitted as they can pollute the environment and impact on the flora and fauna.

The other point of difference is that natural burial grounds fit in better to the surrounding landscape. Plots are spaced further apart to accommodate the existing tree roots of the trees. There is a choice of either no headstone or a headstone of natural local stone placed horizontally so as to not disturb the views of the forest and woodland. GPS and careful on-the-ground measurements are taken to record the exact location of each burial and ashes placement. Natural burial grounds or eco cemeteries are gentle and peaceful places that act as a legacy by helping to protect and nurture habitat for our Australian plants and animals.

In the UK, natural burial options are now popular with 10% of people choosing a more environmentally friendly option as town cemeteries fill up and local farmers work with councils to create new cemeteries that don’t harm the environment. It is also available in the USA, Europe and NZ.

Funds from the Southern Highlands Memorial Park are being used to support habitat conservation, to protect the local koala population, and to provide education and support research on biodiversity and environmental sustainability. We expect to open this social enterprise to the public within a year.

We are on Facebook if you would like to find out more info. We are also starting up a Friends of the Southern Highlands Koala Sanctuary group in a few months.

Warm regards

Thelma Johnson
Community Engagement Officer
Southern Highlands Memorial Park
0400 035 643 mob.
emucreek@gmail.com

Evilomlap 5:17 pm 26 Jun 15

I want to go the way Hunter S Thompson did – shot out of a cannon, but preferably aimed at all my enemies, who will be invited to my funeral under the guise of a free speedboat giveaway.

Seriously. I’m Irish, so burn me or bury me, mourn me or celebrate me…the important thing is that you get roaring drunk at my funeral.

dungfungus 3:59 pm 26 Jun 15

madelini said :

dungfungus said :

madelini said :

dungfungus said :

A heavy slab over the hole would be necessary to stop foxes digging down.
I buried a pet dog in my backyard last year (hole was 1 metre deep) but that didn’t stop a fox almost exhuming the poor fellah.

Wouldn’t they have to still abide by regular depths? I imagine peoples’ hair wouldn’t be sticking out of the surface – I imagine to prevent the foxes, they would still bury people six feet (or so) under.

That means a 4 metre hole would be required. That’s deep.

It is deep, but it would have to be deep in order to maintain health and safety. 4m is still shallower than the foundations for many buildings.

I’m interested to know how the hole is sunk.
I have seen those big hydraulic powered augers that power companies use to position poles for transmission lines but they don’t seem to work well when they hit the shale and clay which is common in Canberra.

madelini 2:15 pm 26 Jun 15

dungfungus said :

madelini said :

dungfungus said :

A heavy slab over the hole would be necessary to stop foxes digging down.
I buried a pet dog in my backyard last year (hole was 1 metre deep) but that didn’t stop a fox almost exhuming the poor fellah.

Wouldn’t they have to still abide by regular depths? I imagine peoples’ hair wouldn’t be sticking out of the surface – I imagine to prevent the foxes, they would still bury people six feet (or so) under.

That means a 4 metre hole would be required. That’s deep.

It is deep, but it would have to be deep in order to maintain health and safety. 4m is still shallower than the foundations for many buildings.

Argonaut 12:03 pm 26 Jun 15

Fremantle Cemetery has a natural burial area, and commenters will be pleased to note that there’s no smell whatsoever!

Personally, I like the idea of being buried in an eco-pod that eventually produces a tree, like this one: http://www.capsulamundi.it/progetto_eng.html

curmudgery 5:49 pm 25 Jun 15

There’s a great business opportunity here. No more burials. No more cremations.

You need a big cool room to house all the bodies until the weekly ‘Burial Day’.
A decent-sized ship takes the bodies and mourners out past the 12 mile limit.
Members of the clergy conduct an inter-denomination service while the bodies are reverently committed to the deep.
A slow cruise back to port with refreshments gives family and mourners time to mingle and reflect.
Best of all, the sharks get a feed. You can’t get much more environmental than that!
P & O should jump on this. Call it something like ‘Cruise, Booze and Concrete Shoes’.

Just a thought.

dungfungus 4:37 pm 25 Jun 15

watto23 said :

I’m personally going to get a mausoleum created to house my body. No children means i’ll sell the house and buy a mausoleum and give the rest to charity. I’m quite happy i’m i’m buried upright… ooh maybe i can be mummified and put in a sarcophagus and get a pyramid inspired mausoleum!

A lot of head-room will be required.

Postalgeek 4:19 pm 25 Jun 15

Stick my carcass on 20kg of ANFO in a paddock and plant a tree in the crater. Something for everyone in that farewell.

watto23 3:47 pm 25 Jun 15

I’m personally going to get a mausoleum created to house my body. No children means i’ll sell the house and buy a mausoleum and give the rest to charity. I’m quite happy i’m i’m buried upright… ooh maybe i can be mummified and put in a sarcophagus and get a pyramid inspired mausoleum!

dungfungus 3:36 pm 25 Jun 15

madelini said :

dungfungus said :

A heavy slab over the hole would be necessary to stop foxes digging down.
I buried a pet dog in my backyard last year (hole was 1 metre deep) but that didn’t stop a fox almost exhuming the poor fellah.

Wouldn’t they have to still abide by regular depths? I imagine peoples’ hair wouldn’t be sticking out of the surface – I imagine to prevent the foxes, they would still bury people six feet (or so) under.

That means a 4 metre hole would be required. That’s deep.

madelini 2:50 pm 25 Jun 15

I’d be interested to see what the cemeteries would look like for natural burials. It might be grim, but I find cemeteries to be very calming and interesting places, where you learn as much (or more) about the living as you do the dead. In terms of history, there aren’t many better ways to discover information about a community. That’s not to say that they can’t adapt for future trends though.

madelini 2:45 pm 25 Jun 15

dungfungus said :

A heavy slab over the hole would be necessary to stop foxes digging down.
I buried a pet dog in my backyard last year (hole was 1 metre deep) but that didn’t stop a fox almost exhuming the poor fellah.

Wouldn’t they have to still abide by regular depths? I imagine peoples’ hair wouldn’t be sticking out of the surface – I imagine to prevent the foxes, they would still bury people six feet (or so) under.

dungfungus 9:55 am 25 Jun 15

farnarkler said :

Ahh so many ways to go; thrown out the back of military transport plane at 30,000 feet. Have my ashes incorporated into a firework. Turned into a diamond or sent to the Body Farm at the University of Tennessee and hung in a tree for a while. Maybe taxidermed and propped up at my favourite bar in London.

Those who escaped the dirty war in some Latin American countries in the 1970s would find no humour in your first suggestion.

karmatraveller 9:35 pm 24 Jun 15

Did you actually take this photo yourself, or was it online stock?

farnarkler 7:15 pm 24 Jun 15

Ahh so many ways to go; thrown out the back of military transport plane at 30,000 feet. Have my ashes incorporated into a firework. Turned into a diamond or sent to the Body Farm at the University of Tennessee and hung in a tree for a while. Maybe taxidermed and propped up at my favourite bar in London.

Maya123 3:59 pm 24 Jun 15

dungfungus said :

Maya123 said :

Kim F said :

I’ve told my family to throw me in the recycling bin.

No, no, that should be the compost bin.

Flesh & bone doesn’t breakdown in a compost bin.

Have you experimented?

Captain RAAF 3:00 pm 24 Jun 15

Its a viking burial on LBG for me. I’ve already talked about it with my family. If my brother can’t steal my corpse, then they’ll get me cremated, place the ashes in my longship and push it out onto LBG, setting fire to it via fire arrows as it drifts away to unceremoniously lodge up against those markers near the dam wall, causing one to catch fire and belch toxic fumes towards the Canberra zoo, upsetting all the animals, mostly the cats, and the visitors.

I will go out much the same way as I lived.

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