Solar cemetery: a new form of green burial?
Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 23 March 2016 at 10:30 am
Santa Coloma de Gramenet cemetery, just outside Barcelona in Spain, brings a new environmentally friendly option to the table. Having installed 462 solar panels on top of their mausoleums they generate enough electricity to power 60 homes. It has become a 'solar cemetery'.
Usually when people talk about a green burial they are referring to a more minimalist funeral service, free of man-made materials and chemicals. This might involve forging the coffin, or opting for a shroud or wicker basket. It may be choosing to be buried or have our ashes spread in the woods rather than in a cemetery, or having a tree in place of a gravestone. Whatever the presentation, the message remains the same - minimising the impact of one's death on the world around us.
But cemeteries and solar farms have a lot in common; they both require large open expanses of land, preferably in quiet undisturbed locations. While cemeteries are affected by what is happening underground, solar panels only need to have access to sunlight. This difference could make them mutually compatible and if installed together would raise the income value generated by the land.
Many solar farms in the UK have an active ecological programme set to improve or preserve the local plant and animal biodiversity. This makes for an attractive place to visit lost loved ones and presents an excellent opportunity to make a statement on how we choose to let go of life as well as how we choose to live.
I understand this might not be for everyone, but I for one wouldn't mind sharing my space with some solar panels after I'm gone. After a couple of decades a friendly solar worker might be the only visitor I'd get anyway!
I'd love to hear people's opinions on this - how many people would be willing to be buried in a cemetery that shared its space with a solar farm? Leave your comments below.
Image & Source: BBC News
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