Greener burials uncovered by new Canterbury research
While many are striving to live in a more eco-friendly way, a University of Canterbury (UC) academic says we should also have the option to be buried more sustainably.
University of Canterbury Associate Professor Ruth McManus says current funeral and burial systems are polluting and “environmentally unsustainable”.
“The climate emergency is now official in Aotearoa, but when it comes to death, our current funeral, burial and cremation systems are polluting, environmentally unsustainable and reaching capacity,” Associate Professor McManus says.
While she acknowledges that some individuals and industry bodies are investigating more environmentally sustainable options, she sees those efforts as ad hoc, without an overarching plan.
“A green burial is a nice idea but actually, for most, it’s unrealistic – they’re expensive and unsustainable. The idea is romanticised, but most people don’t understand the realities of it.”
Learning more about ways to improve the situation is the focus of Associate Professor McManus’s $824,000 Te Pūtea Rangahau a Marsden grant (for the research project titled: The Greening of Death in Aotearoa: Co-designing Sustainability adaptations in body disposal).