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Embracing greener choices with new burial options at Woodlawn Memorial Park

Construction begins on the new green burial section this year
Woodlawn Memorial Park general manager, Rebecca Kit.

For many, traditional burial practices raise concerns about their environmental footprint, prompting a search for meaningful alternatives.

Woodlawn Memorial Park in Guelph recognizes this evolving shift and is introducing a dedicated green burial section, offering a choice that emphasizes simplicity and respect for the earth's natural cycles.

"Green burial offers a return to a more traditional way of burial, respecting the continuous journey of life and death," explains Rebecca Kit, General Manager at Woodlawn. "It emphasizes both ecological awareness and a profound connection to the earth."

The 5 Key Principles of Green Burial

  • No Embalming: The body returns to the earth as nature intended, free from chemicals, allowing for the natural process of decomposition.
  • Direct Earth Burial: Instead of barriers of concrete or steel, the body rests gently in a biodegradable shroud or a simple container of wood or bamboo. It's a return to the earth's embrace.
  • Ecological Restoration: More than just a burial ground, the site becomes a flowering meadow. Wildflowers and native grasses bring life and beauty, creating a haven for birds and butterflies.
  • Simple Memorialization: A central memorial is used for names and dates, maintaining a sense of tranquillity. The emphasis is on the shared cycle of life rather than individual ownership of space.
  • Optimized Land Use: Land within the green burial section is thoughtfully laid out to maximize available space for the long term, ensuring its sustainability.

The Philosophy of Green Burial

"The rising interest in green burial reflects a deep desire to tread lightly upon the earth, leaving a gentler legacy," Kit observes.

"For many, it offers a choice that aligns with their values, providing a sense of peace in their final journey."

Dispelling Misconceptions

Kit emphasizes that green burial shouldn't be viewed as a cheaper alternative.

"While the environmental aspect is important, the core motivation often lies in choosing a form of disposition that resonates deeply with personal beliefs and values." Additionally, she highlights that green burial holds appeal across diverse backgrounds, from dedicated environmentalists to those who simply appreciate its natural simplicity.

The Future of Cemeteries

Kit believes green burial signals a broader shift. “With an aging population and limited urban space, cemeteries need to consider thoughtful, sustainable land use. 

Green burial, with its focus on optimizing space and ecological restoration, could play a vital role in how cemeteries evolve to meet future needs."

Meeting Growing Demand

"The response to our green burial initiative has been remarkable," Kit says.  "We have a waitlist of people who appreciate the idea of a natural, environmentally conscious option."

Construction of the green burial section begins this year, with availability by early 2025.  For additional information, contact Woodlawn Memorial Park at 519-822-1271 or visit them online here.