We are left without a hole in the cemeteries: these are the alternatives

The duel It is part of the psyche of the human being since we first populated the world. Our ancestors They performed all kinds of rituals to say goodbye forever to their dead. From the ancient Egyptians, who were buried with objects that had belonged to them, to Day of the Death that Mexicans continue to celebrate today on November 1 and 2, death continually accompanies us in The journey through life.

According to the latest estimates, the world population will increase by 2 billion people by 2050, in an aging world in which life expectancy has increased and yet birth levels have dropped. If the situation is maintained in this way, will there still be room to bury our dead or will we have to invent new ways of dealing with future deaths?

A serious problem

Urban areas are running out of space to house cemeteries. As reported by 'Considerable', Green-wood, an extensive historic cemetery in Brooklyn where many of the most illustrious dead in New York City are buried, recently reported it could run out of space for individual graves at the end of the decade. It's not the only one, in Beijing (China) the cemeteries are full since 2016, and a 'BBC' survey conducted in 2013 found that almost half of UK cemeteries could run out of space in the next 20 years.

What to do? In countries like Sweden, where secularization is the order of the day, many people choose to request that their remains be extended to some place with which, during their lifetime, they felt a special connection. In many of these cases, the deceased requests such a funeral because he does not want to give additional work to his relatives, it is a financial decision or it may even be related to the fact Sweden is the country in the world with more people living alone. We must also bear in mind that environmentalism begins to gain great importance in our lives.

In Taiwan or Brazil they are choosing to bury their dead vertically, in large buildings. In Hong Kong, 'floating cemeteries' have been proposed

Other forms of altruistic burial with the planet have begun to be considered today, in the face of so much individualism: an example of this are the Mundi Capsules, a work of designers Anna Citelli and Raoul Bretzel consisting of a capsule to deposit, in a biodegradable way, the remains of the deceased, which will become nutrients for a tree that will grow. A novel product and that without a doubt will succeed in the near future.

Less ethical are other measures: some cemeteries of United States and London They are reusing graves. It is not the first time something like this is done, 'recycling' was the norm in some parts of Europe for centuries. The corpses of the commoners moved usually to mass graves or deposits that later broke down, although at present it is a bit more complicated because they must give you a special permit to do so. We, like the Greeks, are used to niches, which families rent for years. In fact, in some cemeteries in our country and due to the crisis, many families with diminished incomes rent niches for only five years instead of 75.

Will the sky be the limit?

If the land is too small for us, will heaven be the next territory to conquer? It is another solution. Not far from São Paulo (Brazil), is the Memorial Ecumenical Necropole, a vertical cemetery that is currently the tallest in the world (according to the 'Guiness Book of Records'), with 14 floors. Similar is the True Dragon Tower located on the outskirts of Taipei (Taiwan), another building designed to house the ashes of 400,000 people. Something very necessary in a country where lack of space in urban centers is a pressing problem. In some areas of Europe such as France or Norway they have already taken note and intend to imitate it in the future.

Cremation is an extremely toxic process and requires a lot of energy. It is not useful in an increasingly ecologically aware world

Another plausible option is floating cemeteries. In Hong Kong, where you have to wait years to get a place to bury you, a prototype of 'island' called Floating eternity. An area on the high seas that could be accessed by ferry and also docked on the mainland during some holidays related to the cult of the dead.

Although they are fascinating, the challenge of these architectural concepts is to stand the test of time, like cemeteries. That is why, as we said before, the 'green' idea has gained a lot of strength in recent times. In Australia, for example, some architects promote the idea of ​​a 'burial belt' outside towns and cities, in green spaces with trees planted next to the dead. One way, as one of the architects in 'The Conversation' explained, to reforest and end cremation, which is a extremely toxic process and it requires a lot of energy (in fact, the energy consumed by a single cremation is equal to domestic use monthly of one person).

What is clear is that there are many possible proposals that have been put on the table to fight a serious problem that we have only glimpsed the tip of the iceberg. For the experts, end with the cemeteries It would be a mistake due to the strong emotional burden of having them in the cities. They are part of the history of each society, and, as with the people who forget their history and are condemned to repeat it, those who do not remember their ancestors are condemned to forget the only thing that is safe in our lives: death, sooner or later, reaches us all.