There is not a week that goes by without an article in the media on the lack of burial space. It is a worldwide crisis.

The Planet’s population is growing faster than we can find cemetery space . Our need for a place to call home even after death is not sustainable. Let’s look at the World’s exponential population growth: The Graph’s curve has gone almost vertical. We have gone from 1 Billion people in 1850 to 2 Billion in 1950, currently siting at 7.6 Billion and expecting 9 Billion by 2050.


Watching the World PopulationClock is a sobering experience! ( Let’s have some more fun and look at Australia’s population:

 It is currently sitting just under 24 Million.  With an average death rate of 0.65 % according to the Bureau of Statistics, this represents 156,000 deaths a year.

 Using a conservative figure of 60% cremation as a national average, this means 62,400 burials each year. Let’s take a bit off for SA and WA who “recycle” their graves in some way.

 What is left amounts to 15Ha of land/year used for the burial of our dead. Imagine 9 MCGs or a half of the Sydney or Melbourne’s Royal Botanical Gardens every year, locked in for burial use only.

 Apply the population forecast and, in 2050, we will need 30% more each year. Australia is a “young” country with no talk of curbing its population growth. To the contrary, our population is expected to double by 2075 ( If nothing changes, the Dead will continue to take up more and more space otherwise useable for the Living.

WHAT ARE WE DOING ABOUT IT? We have been looking for band-aid solutions to take us over the next decades: smaller graves, more efficient layouts, double and triple graves, grave re-use, vertical burial, high-rises and tunnels etc…

We need to acknowledge the Elephant in the Room.

elephant in the room

Burial for Perpetuity is a selfish concept as well as an unwise one. Voluntary Limited Tenure (choosing short term use of a grave) is a drop in the ocean. Compulsory Limited tenure is a step in the right direction but even that is not necessarily sustainable depending on your country or state of residence and its population growth and it may not be suitable depending on your religion. When will there be a Government’s Vision beyond the next term, beyond the next decade and beyond your and my lifetime? We are using the Planet’s resources beyond sustainable levels during our lifetime, we are set to continue beyond our death by expecting a perpetual piece of this earth. When, as a specie, did we start this trend?… That will be the subject of another blog! I do not intend to be so selfish… but that too is another story …for another day!