Use GPS to Find Your Dead In New Forest Graveyards

When you die, instead of having your grave marked by granite, you can now peg it to something even more immutable: latitude and longitude. A new eco-friendly forest graveyard promises a new kind of service, according to the Sydney Morning Herald:

The deceased will be buried in biodegradable coffins between gum trees in a protected koala sanctuary...Relatives and friends will require a satellite navigation device to find graves of loved ones.

The graves, located at Lismore Memorial Park Cemetery in the Northern Rivers of New South Wales, Australia, will be unmarked but recorded in coordinates, and spaced at 5 meters to ensure you're kneeling at the decomposing remains of the right person. In case you think it's a ploy by Garmin and Magellan to sell more handheld GPS products, mourners will be able to borrow one (possibly for free) for the visit.

This so-called "eco-burial" practice is not without merit. I've always complained that cemeteries and golf courses were great wastes of space—using this concept, you can combine the two. (Just look out for the mourners on the 9th green.) It's not just the land use, either. Cremation emits foul greenhouse gases; embalming fluid and coffin varnishes and glues can harm the groundwater; said coffins deplete non-sustainable forestry; and granite headstones require CO2-emission-heavy shipments from China (at least for Australians). It's a nasty business all around, in need of some green thinking.

I do anticipate a few issues, though, and anyone who's ever tried geocaching can back me up: It's not super easy, and requires a lot of meandering. Spry youthful survivors of the deceased may have an easy time of it, but 85-year-old widows will certainly not, even if they do know how to read and follow the display on a Magellan Triton or Garmin eTrex.

Jack, our new weekend writer, raises another possibly legitimate concern: "After a heavy rain, I might wake up next to someone's dead uncle." [SMH]