A lot of initiatives are being taken to both preserve land and make end of life services more eco-friendly. North Carolina has come up with a way to meet both goals at once.
Conservation burial is a relatively new concept that is now available in western North Carolina. The Green Burial Council defines conservation burial ground as:
“Lands protected by a recognized conservation land trust entity where conservation principles are employed to support sustainable cemetery management practices while restoring and protecting the ecological integrity of the land.”
The Carolina Memorial Sanctuary, a conversation area and green cemetery in the Ashville metro, recently dedicated part of its land as a permanent conversation easement that can only be used for “back-to-nature” green burials and cremation memorials. The land donation guarantees part of the sanctuary will always remain a natural space for green burials and scattering ashes.
The 11-acre sanctuary offers a beautiful location that is relatively untouched. The Carolina Memorial Sanctuary is very cautious when it comes to end of life services. Any burials that take place on the conservation land must meet strict criteria. There must be no embalming fluid in the body and only biodegradable caskets are allowed.
Another interesting stipulation is that burials are only three feet deep. Using a shallower grave ensures that the plants above make use of the additional nutrients. Needless to say, no markers or gravestones are used in accordance with green burials.
Many families that choose direct cremation in Texas do so because it allows them to have a unique memorial like the ones offered at the Carolina Memorial Sanctuary. If a family wants to do something similar it may require treating the ashes so that the soil it touches remains pH balanced.
The idea is that the burials and ash scattering at Carolina Memorial Sanctuary will support efforts to conserve land. In death, a loved one’s remains can bring life back to nature. The nutrients from the body will be used by nourish plants, and a person’s loved one will effectively become part of the site. The burials are also part of a restoration effort for wetlands in the sanctuary.
The novel idea was made possible by Conserving Carolina, a non-profit focused on conserving land and water resources. The organization helped to secure grant funds that have been used to restore the sanctuary land, which was once farmland. A portion of the proceeds raised through green burials at the sanctuary is donated to Conserving Carolina so they can continue their vital work.
Reserving protected land for green burials is an idea that is sure to gain support as the option becomes available to more people. We’re already seeing it here in Texas. In Austin, there’s the Eloise Woods Community Natural Burial Park. And down in San Antonio Countryside Memorial Park offers land for green burials.
Until more Texas cities set aside space for green burials, the most eco-friendly option for families in many areas will be green direct cremation. Interested in learning more? Give Green Cremation Texas a call 24 hours a day, seven days a week to get answers to all your questions.