Cemetree - The future of human burial

Cemetree vision

As planet Earth’s population keeps growing, the need for respectful, efficient, and sustainable burial solutions grows as well.Most of the existing burial methods are traditionally set by different religions, and usually involve different versions of burial in coffins below tombstones. In a time when more and more people are not obligated to the religious traditions, altenative burial techniques and cemeteries like "Hollywood forever” are growing fast.

Cemetree is the future architecture of cemeteries and human burial. It is an Integral solution, so it brings into account all the different aspects of this sensitive issue.

In a nutshell, Cemetree is a forest in which each tree was once a human and the trees actually (or symbolically) grew feeding of the natural fertilizer that the bodies become, so there is something of the person living in the tree.

Human beings were once part of nature’s cycle, and although we lately tend to forget it and block it with asphalt, highways, and big cities, we came from the ground, and to the ground we shall to return. Tombstones and coffins suppose to give us an illusion of immortality, but even a stone is not immortal, and would be worn out one day.

Humans are mortals, and so do trees. It comes to a creation, grows, lives, and than goes back to nature cycle. Highlighting the commonality between man and tree, using a tree to “continue” one’s life, provides beneficial applications that span most levels of existence.

On the personal level, instead of conceiving death as an absolute end, a person will live knowing that when he dies he would transform into another way of existing, in the form of a tree. The death concept, which is being strongly suppressed in our time, would be much familiarized. People would be able to choose which type of tree they want to be. The funeral itself would be also a beginning of something, and not merely an end.

For the family and friends of the late, visiting the Cemetree would be a natural, beautiful and unique experience, walking in a wood which all trees “were once humans”, and visiting a live memory which grows and changes each year.

It would also benefit anyone who lives around the cemetree, both from the economical point of view, and from the quality of life aspect, as the current situation is that living next door to a cemetery lowers the properties prices and the quality of life. If cemeteries would be  “green lungs” instead a built area, it would have the opposite influence. 

 From the environmental aspect, the more green areas near residential zones, the better the air and life quality of urban surroundings. Green areas can be the ideal separation between neighborhoods and cities. This would prevent the eventuality of one big urban monster. The fact that this “green lung” also serves as a cemetery, would guarantee that it remains green and forested – akin to National Parks, but with much more meaning and function, and proximity to urban areas.

Technical issues: How will it work?

 The body is buried in a biodegradable coffin. For those who prefer cremation, the ashes would be buried. A sapling is planted above it during the funeral. A small metal plate would be attached to the tree with the deceased’s name and details. When a tree comes to its natural death, the trunk would be cut about one meter height of the ground, so that the stump rings would be seen, and the metal sign would be located on the top of it. Than new trees would be planted between the stumps, so that area would always be used as a cemetery. The cemetery would allow any sort of ceremony the family wants to do, as it will not be forcing any specific tradition or religious habits.  

Business aspects

Though the motivation behind Cemetree is neither economical nor commercial, Groveyard would still need to be economically viable. Therefore the following factors should be considered

1) The number of people who can be buried in one acre is smaller than in a standard cemetery, and also being determined by the type and size of the trees. This would be balanced on the long run, as the same area would be used for more trees. Anyway, considering the costs of preserving the cemetery, this type of burial would be more expensive than the standard one. For that reason, the best way to promote it would be to find someone who sees the beauty and advantages of this vision, and owns (or can finance) the land needed for the first cemetree.

 2) The cemetree should receive a license to operate from the state authorities, without limiting it and forcing certain manners on it. 

3) An arborist should be employed to ensure optimal planning, planting and maintenance of the Cemetree forest. Judicious means of protection against fire and damage would be necessary. Though the Cemetree should be sufficiently insured, families should document their understanding that trees do not last forever. 

 4) California would be the ideal place to establish the pilot Cemetree. This state has a critical mass of progressive people who might see the beauty in this concept.

I believe that Cemetree project would attract lots of coverage from the media, both internationally and locally, and that it’s very likely that few celebrities would want to be buried in Cemetree, so the marketing side of this project will be relatively easy.

 It is important to remember that this venture is long-term based. Initially it will be attractive to a small part of the population, but I believe that time will show this idea would eventually reach mainstream acceptance and utilization.

Turning Cemetree project into a reality would be an enormous contribution both to humanity and to planet Earth, and I strongly believe that if we’ll do it out of this motivation, we will be blessed.

Contact: oren@ecolibris.net