Who are Down to Earth
(L-R) The Trust's Nigel McKinney with Down to Earth's Gill McNeill and James Orr.

Who are Down to Earth

12 August 2014

The Trust just announced an £800 pledge in Down to Earth's Community Shares programme, but just who are they...

Down to Earth is a new, locally owned, independent company which will bring green burial sites and funeral services to Northern Ireland. Trustee, Elizabeth Rice, explains more about the organisation and why it has become involved in the Community Shares project. 

Who is involved in Down to Earth?

We are a group of people who are committed to developing the first woodland burial site in Northern Ireland. What we also share is a search for meaning or ritual and a deep sense of responsibility to nature.

We have no ideological or religious agenda and are bound together by a desire to do the right thing for people who are going through a tragedy and to restore land to ecological health.

Some of us have a faith (part of the woodland burial site can be consecrated if people wish), others do not.

What is your experience in this area?

We have a background in ecology, green business, arts and marketing. We share a concern that conventional funerals are unnecessarily expensive and that land should not be poisoned. Funerals should be personalised. The natural aesthetics of a graveyard should convey beauty and tranquillity. There are currently six people involved in Down to Earth.

How did Down to Earth get started?

It was something we had identified as a niche for Northern Ireland since there aren't any green burial facilities. We also have a combined working experience in conservation and environmental media and a strong sense of sustainability.

Down to Earth will be a trustee-based green burial service, with an emphasis on woodland burials, quality and integrity.

How did you get involved with the Community Shares project?

I heard about it through a colleague and thought it would be ideal for our project.

Where did the idea come from?

Green burial has been identified as one of the most sustainable ways to a better environment for the future. We knew there were other people out there equally behind forming a co-op and knew we had the background and contacts to do so.

Who are you keen to hear from at the moment?

We would love to hear from people who are genuinely interested in the project as well as pledges, trustees and those with land available.

Have you had many expressions of interest from potential trustees?

Yes we have generated interest from past sustainable events and by email through the site and from our information leaflets.

What is your target for this year?

We are aiming for £40,000 in pledges raised by June 2015.

What are your plans for the future?

We are hoping to work on ancillary small businesses such as casket making and indigenous flowers. We also plan a sustainable building in time as a place to celebrate the life of the deceased. We will also have a pet burial site near the woodland burial site.

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