On May 24th, Transition Town Jericho hosted Michelle Acciavatti and Tim Graves to discuss Natural Burial (Green Burial) in Vermont.
Michelle, a death doula and green educator, was part of a group of citizens that worked to fully legalize green burials in Vermont in 2017. Working in the funeral industry inspired her to partner with Tim on the sister ventures of a creating a centrally located cemetery dedicated to natural burial and a funeral home that specializes in natural burial on that land.
Natural burial sites are maintained using ecological land management practices without the use of vaults, using nontoxic embalming fluids and a nontoxic, nonhazardous, plant derived burial container or shroud.
In their presentation, Michelle discussed the downside of cremation: the amount of CO2 released into the atmosphere and the fossil fuel used. She showed examples of the amount of space that cemeteries use, the large amount of embalming fluid and the wasteful use of resources in steel and concrete used for caskets.
Natural burial sites can be used for other things beside burials, such as nature trails, wedding venues and a place to find solitude.
No embalming fluid is used; bodies are preserved by cooling before the burial ceremony. Natural burial uses only biodegradable containers for the remains. This allows for a natural partnership between the body and soil microbiome through direct contact with the soil once the body is laid to rest.
Natural burial graves are 3.5 feet beneath the surface of the soil where decomposition can happen without being cut off from heat and oxygen. These decomposers work in unison with the body’s bacteria to promote a natural process. 3.5 feet also is enough to keep scavengers from digging up the grave.
There is growing interest in and accessibility to natural burials. For more information about natural burials in Vermont, please contact Michelle or Tim at: firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit their website at Home | Mysite