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NOTEBOOK – One Good Read: Could trees be the new gravestones?


Many friends who experience the loss of a loved one have told me the same thing: We don’t talk about death enough. That extends to Silicon Valley, which has typically focused on what happens in life, not the end of life — but a new, low-tech startup wants to change that, the New York Times reports. Better Place Forests wants to create a better graveyard by buying forests, establishing conservation easements to prevent future development and selling people the right to have their cremated remains mixed with fertilizer to feed a particular tree. They’ve raised $12 million in venture capital funding. It raises the question: Could state or national forests designate a section of land for similar services for conservation revenue? As an aside, the story also mentions an interactive placard system that would allow visitors to scan and watch a digital portrait or memorial. A group of eighth graders in Charles City, Iowa, was already working to install a similar system at the historic Riverside Cemetery during the 2016-17 school year to tell the stories of some of the colorful early residents of the area. Perhaps this feature will come closer to home soon.

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