The greener way to go
A natural burial means returning human remains as directly as possible to the earth. By using minimal resources and restoring the natural landscape, this simple process provides a gentle farewell and contributes value and meaning to grief.
Return to the earth
Non-embalmed remains are contained within a biodegradable coffin or shroud and buried at the minimum legal depth to promote natural decomposition.
Part of nature
There are no headstones to disrupt the landscape. Instead, graves are identified by GPS and memorialised online, along with native plantings in locations where they’re needed most.
For every Earth Funeral we hold, we fund the equivalent of about one acre of memorial trees. There are around 160,000 deaths in Australia every year, so you can imagine the impact that this simple act will have.
Building a national network of stand-alone natural burial grounds
In the New England High Country of New South Wales, we've been working hard to bring Australia's first regional natural burial ground to life. The chosen site for development is located at Banded Bee Farm—a 16 hectare regenerative agriculture farm at Saumarez Ponds. Their permaculture-influenced farming practices and values are very much in line with the mission behind Earth Funerals—making them an ideal partner for us.
In South Australia, we've begun working with partners to identify the ideal site for the State's first stand-alone natural burial ground, and, in readiness, we've established the legal Trust that will operate and administer the facilities. We've also been consulting with State government on the inclusion of natural burial grounds within proposed public open spaces and parks.
In Victoria, we’ve partnered with Odonata—a local biodiversity and conservation fund. Together, we’re exploring donor land options for our first metropolitan natural burial ground in Melbourne. It’s thanks to collaborations like these that we’re moving towards making authentic natural burials a real possibility for Australians all over the country.
Creating a living memorial
Earth Funerals is beyond carbon neutral. We don’t just offset carbon emissions. We create a genuinely positive impact on the natural environment from every funeral ceremony we hold. We do this by funding the restoration of wildlife corridors, biodiversity programs and bush revegetation projects—all in the name and remembrance of the person that passed away.
Every natural burial and funeral has the potential to do a lot of good for the environment. Each one will fund the planting of native greenery, restore around an acre of a wildlife corridor, secure land that is valuable for biodiversity, or support work to save endangered species. Some plantings will occur at the burial ground itself, but most will be at other locations where restoration work will make the most difference. Family and friends will be invited to participate in annual tree planting events to become directly involved in the creation of living memorials.
When it comes down to it, we’re not just planting trees for the sake of it. Each funeral, whether a burial or cremation, will offset at least ten times as much carbon as it emits—making it an environmentally significant act that has a lasting impact both locally and globally. It gives families a way to actively grieve and preserve the memory of their loved one. And it all contributes to the health and healing of the world as a whole.
There are no large, elaborate headstones or monuments in a restorative natural burial ground. Instead, the location of every site is surveyed to the centimetre, with a set of GPS coordinates being used to mark and locate the grave site. There’s also an online memorial, or virtual ‘headstone’, that tells the story of the person’s life. Online memorialisation is both eco-friendly and convenient, with a personalised and meaningful site of remembrance accessible to relatives and friends from anywhere around the world.