New Brunswick

Cocagne environmental group looking for green burials

The Pays de Cocagne Sustainable Development group wants to make it easier for people in this province to have an ecologically-friendly burial.

Pays de Cocagne Sustainable Development wants to promote ecologically-friendly burials

The Pays de Cocagne Sustainable Development wants more people to know they can have a chemical free burial in New Brunswick. (Radio Canada)

The Pays de Cocagne Sustainable Development group wants to make it easier for people to have an ecologically-friendly burial.

Jocelyn Gauvin, a project officer with the group, said the organized received a grant to study green burials in New Brunswick. She found it took a lot of digging to find out if they are even legal.

"There is no area designated as an ecological or green cemetery, it does not exist per se, but it's possible to have it," she said.

"It's that simple, it can happen, it just hasn't."

Environmentalists point out that chemicals from cemeteries do enter the groundwater. (Radio-Canada)
After talking to people in the community, she found that a green burial can mean different things to different people.

"It could be as simple as not being embalmed ... or it could be as simple as 'I want nothing that doesn't decompose. Put my body as it is in a bag or a nice blanket and put me in the ground," said Gauvin.

Threat to ground water

Green Party Leader David Coon said he agrees with the environmental group that leaching chemicals from burials are a concern.

"One of the potential threats to water quality in terms of ground water is cemeteries," he said.

Coon, who is also the Fredericton South MLA, said when his time comes to be buried, he plans to keep it simple.

"I kind of like the pine box, and chemical-free, absolutely," he said.

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