Manitoba

Green Party calls for natural burials as option to caskets, cremation

The leader of Manitoba's Green Party wants to see the province do more to encourage what he calls human composting — natural burials that are an alternative to caskets, tombstones or cremation.

There are only 4 places in Canada that offer natural burials — 3 in Ontario and 1 in B.C.

People who want to be buried in little more than a shroud and return to the earth in an unmanicured meadow should have that option, says the leader of Manitoba's Green Party, James Beddome. (Metropolitan Cemeteries Board/Government of Western Australia)

The leader of Manitoba's Green Party wants to see the province do more to encourage what he calls human composting — natural burials that are an alternative to caskets, tombstones or cremation.

James Beddome says many people don't like the environmental toll that embalming, fuel-heavy cremation and elaborate coffins take on the environment.

He says people who want to be buried in little more than a shroud and return to the earth in an unmanicured meadow should have that option.

There are only four designated spaces across Canada that offer natural burials — three in Ontario and one in B.C.

Michael Gibbens, with the Manitoba Funeral Service Association, says there doesn't seem to be a high demand for the services since about 80 per cent of people opt for cremation.

He says that might change as baby boomers die and a younger generation that's more open to non-traditional options ages.

The Manitoba NDP says it would be open to accommodating all forms of burials, while the Liberals say they are content with the status quo.

The Conservatives declined to comment.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.