Natural burial in Ottawa?


By Kelly Butler

The Glebe is a vibrant and diverse community, but there is one thing residents have in common: We’re all going to die.

Most of us don’t consider what happens next, but Community Deathcare Ottawa aims to change that. This volunteer-run organization will be at the Great Glebe Garage Sale to chat about natural burial and why it’s a great choice for families and the planet.

Natural – sometimes called green – burial is a more sustainable approach to deathcare than many of our contemporary choices. By eliminating embalming, non-biodegradable caskets and concrete vaults, the impact on the environment is lessened. Similarly, we avoid burning the considerable amount of fossil fuels needed for cremation. Instead of harmful chemicals emitted into the groundwater or atmosphere, natural burial reduces the carbon footprint, conserves resources and promotes healthy soil.

Families often find natural burial to be a more meaningful choice, one that is in keeping with their personal values. It honours the cycle of life and death, feeding new growth as we return to the earth. Some are drawn to the simplicity of natural burial, while others want to ensure their connection to the land and belief in conservation is reflected in their death. Our own ending can contribute to a sustainable future for others.

Natural burial cemeteries can be a way of preserving habitat. Burial grounds become protected landscapes, ensuring the land is designated green space in perpetuity. No chemicals are used, including herbicides and pesticides. Natural burial sites often require native plants and wildflowers to be planted and the land is disrupted as little as possible. This maintains and promotes a healthy ecosystem and habitat for local wildlife. Biodiversity thrives.

Come and say hello to members of Community Deathcare Ottawa at the corner of Holmwood and Monk on May 27. Bring your questions and join the effort to bring natural burial to Canada’s capital.


Kelly Butler is a member of the volunteer organization Community Deathcare Ottawa.

Community Deathcare Ottawa will be at the Great Glebe Garage Sale on May 27 to explain natural burial as an environmentally sustainable approach to death.

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