Starfish is working to establish earthfunerals, Australia’s first fully integrated natural funerals and natural burial service provider.
earthfunerals is being established as a ‘charitable enterprise‘ which will assure both a professional and affordable funeral with a unique difference ~ what would normally be profit is instead used to create a living memorial grove to honour the deceased. Acre by acre individual groves combine to create wildlife corridors and restore bushland habitat. In this way, every death contributes to the living environment ~ completing the circle of life.
Our vision is one of life-centred natural burial grounds and landscape-scale bush corridors and habitats which provide living memorials that honour deceased loved ones for aeons to come.
Over the past two hundred years, human beings have gradually complicated almost every aspect of the very simple process of burying a body in the earth. Embalming, concrete lined graves, metal caskets and elaborate timber coffins have gradually become the norm.
At the same time, cremation has superseded burial as the primary disposal method for approximately 80% of metropolitan dwellers, and an increasing number of rural residents.
These trends and their environmental impacts are juxtaposed with what are now global priorities to restore, regenerate and conserve bushland and biodiversity (with the 6th Great Extinction now set in motion by the footprint of human development and consumption) and restore the health of the climate system.
Fortunately, in the UK in the 1990’s a modern form of natural burial re-emerged, and public interest has been growing ever since.
The Australian Natural Burial Project defines natural burial as the:
“return of human remains, as directly as possible, to the earth while adhering to all legal, cultural and practical requirements. Non-embalmed remains are contained within a minimal-resource, bio-degradable coffin or shroud, and buried at the minimum legal depth to promote natural decomposition”.
Quite correctly, this definition refers to the need to observe regulations that are in place to ensure safety and public health. The use of refrigerated mortuary facilities, a secure coffin or shroud, and safe transportation methods are all common-sense practices that can be easily accommodated in a modern natural burial.
earthfunerals will see the burial of human remains, in low-resource, biodegradable ‘coffins’, on suitable donated land set aside exclusively for this purpose. These ‘natural burial grounds’ will be regenerated and conserved. In addition, each funeral will enable the regeneration of an additional acre. These ‘memorial groves’ will be created in recognised priority areas for wildlife corridors and bushland habitat restoration ~ creating living legacies in perpetuity.
Starfish is auspice for earthfunerals and working to establish it as an independent ‘charitable enterprise‘, like Starfish, until it develops to a stage where it becomes more practical and efficient for it to establish itself independently.
By using Starfish’s fully established systems, earthfunerals can promote its purpose, carry out feasibility work, raise funds, and commence its operations far quicker and more cost effectively than it could otherwise.
At the same time, earthfunerals benefits from the guidance and oversight of Starfish’s professional Board of Directors and is able to draw upon our extensive network of Associates, professionals and collaborators.
The benefits of this role have already been considerable, with earthfunerals having secured the generous support of a range of philanthropists and strategic partners (as detailed on earthfunerals‘ website here and here).