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Letter: Greener alternatives to consider for end of life

‘Green burial comes closer to the natural way of dealing with living organisms.’
Green burials, an alternative to common burials or cremation, are supported in Salmon Arm’s Cemetery Management Bylaw. (Cloe Logan photo)

Over many decades people have chosen either burial or cremation when dealing with end-of-life. Some religions particularly require burial.

There are a variety of reasons for choosing cremation. Whatever the choice there is a cost involved.

In recent years, some people have been promoting alternatives to the customary choices. One of those is the green burial. This appeals to persons with concerns about the environment and climate change. Flame cremation uses fossil fuels. The common form of burial includes the use of grave liners less friendly to the environment.

Green burial comes closer to the natural way of dealing with living organisms. It includes a biodegradable coffin, no embalming and no grave liner.

The City of Salmon Arm has a new cemetery that includes a section for green burial. That section is not yet open to use but could be ready in three to five years.

Another alternative is called “aquamation,” or alkaline hydrolysis. This process has been used since the 19th century for animal bodies, and is currently used by some veterinarians and animal researchers. Four provinces and several countries have approved this process for persons, but so far B.C. has not. This process uses 95 per cent water and 5 per cent alkali and much less energy than other choices.

These two alternatives for end-of-life planning allow people to make their choices based on what is better for our planet.

Read more: Cemetery plan reflects changing traditions

Read more: Whose grave is marked by the oldest tombstone in Salmon Arm’s Mount Ida Cemetery?

Janet Pattinson

Lachlan Labere

About the Author: Lachlan Labere

Editor of the Salmon Arm Observer, Shuswap Market, and Eagle Valley News. I'm always looking for new and exciting ways to keep our readers informed and engaged.
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