The City of Lethbridge is proud to be the first municipality in Alberta to offer a more sustainable and environmentally friendly burial option called Green Burial.
A Green Burial minimizes the impact on the environment by returning a body to the earth where it can decompose naturally and contribute to the growth of new life. For many, this concept combines the spiritual integrity of the past, with the environmental ideals of the present.
"Green Burial is something we are very proud to be able to offer our residents," says Hiroshi Okubo, Cemeteries Manager for the City of Lethbridge. "Because we have a supportive partnership with our local funeral homes we've been able to be a leader in the province in rolling out this type of program."
In Lethbridge, Green Burials will take place at the Grasslands Green Burial Grounds located in the Royal View Memorial Cemetery in North Lethbridge.
In order to provide green burials, there are five principles to adhere to:
- No embalming - Human remains are prepared without the use of embalming fluid, allowing nature to take over. Decomposition is thought to be nature's way of recycling a body. We take energy throughout our lives, and when we die, a green burial allows us to give energy back to the earth.
- Direct earth burial - The remains are wrapped in a natural and biodegradable cloth and placed directly in the ground. No grave liner or casket is needed.
- Ecological restoration & conservation - Grasslands Green Burial Grounds is specifically developed to use the natural landscape of the prairies. This means indigenous prairie grasses are used to seed the grave-site. It is also encouraged that visitors remain on the designated walking paths to leave the grounds protected and undisturbed.
- Communal memorialization - The philosophy of the Green Burial is that the entire Grasslands is a living memorial to the individuals buried there. Because of this, individual headstones are not allowed. Instead, a memorial will be placed in the green burial space where simple inscriptions can be made.
- Optimize land use - Grasslands Green Burial Grounds is designed and developed to optimize the space designated for green burial. Minimal infrastructure, installation and ground disturbance took place to create Grasslands. This allows the space to remain as natural as possible.
Those interested in green burial options can contact the cemeteries department. More information is available at www.lethbridge.ca/greenburial.
Hiroshi Okubo, Cemeteries Manager
City of Lethbridge