Green Burial: A green burial evokes the idea that our burial will be good for the earth. The providers of green burial wish to market their services to those who are environmentally minded. Green burial brings with it an idea of change from and a standing against the destructive practices of conventional-embalmed burial.
Traditional Burial: Traditional burial is that of a natural body in the manner before embalming became the convention for our society. Traditional burial is green burial, but the emphasis is everything old is new again. Traditional burial speaks to those who like the old and simple ways of doing something, but might not be as excited about being environmentally friendly as about doing something old fashioned way. You might have a combination of environmentally friendly with some of the conventional trappings of a conventional burial. For example, the coffin might not meet the standards of a green coffin as stipulated by the Green Burial Council.
Conservation Burial: Conservation Burial is a technical designation given by the Green Burial Council. Among other criteria, conservation burial must be adjacent to already designated conservation land and the burial must also seek to restore and conserve the land. Conservation burial is the greenest of the green burials.
Natural Burial: Natural burial is green burial but might provide the consumer with some not so green aspects of burial such as a headstone not from local sources. Natural burial tends to be for those who do not want to be embalmed, and want just something simple and perhaps easy. On the other hand, natural burial is also a designation given by the Green Burial Council. Natural burial under this designation might best be described as simple certified green burial. Natural burial grounds must be conservationally minded among other things. This term more than the others might be the most confusing of them all.
Hybrid: Hybrid burial grounds are those certified by the Green Burial Council as part of a conventional cemetery. The cemetery has designated part of the land and offers a certified green burial following the Green Burial Council standards.
Certified Green Burial: A certified green burial offers the consumer the peace of mind knowing that the Green Burial Council has vetted the provider and that the provider will adhere to certain criteria. The consumer does not have to wonder if what they are purchasing adheres to certain standards when dealing with a certified provider.
Green Burial Option: In truth, you might not come across this anywhere but in my writings. Most corporate cemeteries that offer green burial, but do not wish to get certified for whatever reason will most likely not want to telegraph that they are not certified. They might be likely to just state that they offer green burial. Always ask questions of any provider you want to use and see if they measure up to your standard of service. You do not need to be buried in a certified cemetery to get a good green burial. You do need, however to ask as many questions as you feel is necessary to get an answer.
The alternative might use a lot of terms, but The Green Burial Council needs to have a way to designate different levels of certification, so that we as consumers will know what it is we are buying. As an activist and an educator, I need to keep in mind that not everyone knows the many different ways to say green burial and try to keep things succinct when speaking or writing.