Have you ever thought about where you want your body to end up when you die? Would you like your body to be managed by a professional funeral services team who will plump and preserve your body with embalming fluid? Placed in a decorative hardwood lumber casket and buried stacked on top of a family member? Do you want to be cremated and have your family and friends scatter your ashes into the Pacific Ocean?
Regardless of what you’d ultimately like to see happen, the fact remains that once you die, your flesh decays. Death turns everyone to ash.
The question for many families is what to do with the ashes. While some keep the cremated remains at home on a mantel, others choose cemetery buildings called columbariums or bury them beneath a tombstone.
A company called Bios Urn would like to take those ashes and turn you into a tree. Roger and Gerard Moline’s launching of the Bios Urn is a beautiful and innovative way to celebrate the life of your loved ones while also contributing to Mother Nature. Their design studio, Estudimoline believes that “design and nature can change the world”.
The urn is composed of coconut shell, compacted peat and cellulose. Once the cremated remains have been put into the urn, they germinate the seed inside, which can then be planted to develop into a tree. This product allows the entire set to become part of the sub-soil. Bios Urn is also compatible with any kind of seed.
You may be wondering how this idea for a biodegradable urn came about. Surprisingly, it wasn’t a monumental moment, but rather something that seemed, at first, irrelevant.
“When my brother Gerard was planting seeds with our grandmother, they found a dead bird on the ground,” explains Roger. “That’s when she instinctively took the dead bird, dug a small hole in the ground and buried it along with some seeds she had in her hand. Our grandmother is someone who has always been in contact with nature. She worked as a farmer in the north of Spain. Her reaction proved that the way she saw death was slightly different than the majority of people.”
Years later, it was his grandmother’s instinct that became the inspiration behind their product that “could transmit that message by allowing the proper growth of a tree using the remains obtained after cremation.”
Bios Urn is truly changing the way people think about burial customs and traditions. Sooner or later, we’re going to run out of room for cemeteries. Throughout the world, the overcrowding of graves is a significant problem. However, it’s not just the overcrowding that’s becoming an issue, it’s the impact on the environment. Conventional cemeteries generally require tremendous amounts of water, pesticides and weed killers; not to mention, the soil and groundwater around your plot will become contaminated.
If you choose to be cremated, then your most significant impact will be on air quality. Cremated remains are mostly dry calcium phosphates with some minor minerals, such as salts of sodium and potassium. But if you become a tree, that influence will be a positive one.
"The lack of space and the high maintenance costs of a cemetery, and also the conception of human designed spaces just for the storage of the deceased is something we should leave behind,” Roger emphasizes. “In my opinion, Bios Urn improves common burials. If this is true, then we will begin to see related businesses appear, such as parks and other spaces designed for Bios Urn planting. We are hoping to be part of that positive change.”
Roger hasn’t actually used their product to say goodbye to someone, yet, though the feedback from their customers has been illuminating. Urn Bios has received thousands of emails, Facebook posts and tweets from people around the world who want to share their wonderful thoughts and experiences. “But there’s one special message that we always keep in our heads,” he says. “Someone once said ‘Keep up the good work guys. I’m with you’ and that’s what keeps us moving forward.”
The best seller in their store is the Bios Urn Maple. If he had the choice, Roger would want to become a giant sequoia. “I would probably choose to grow into a General Sherman or one of the others found in Sequoia National Park. It is said that some of them only flower once every 100 years,” he added.
I don’t know about you, but I would much rather lie beneath the shade of my grandmother’s Willow Tree than kneel beside an uninviting, cold tombstone.
“This final process of life, which we awfully call death, is in fact what powers the engine of life. We can say that death is just a process of transformation consisting in a return to life through nature. This is the medium we all come from, and ultimately where we all go back to. I may say I believe in reincarnation, a reincarnation through nature or trees. It’s treeincarnation.”
Bios Urn can also be used to say farewell to a beloved pet.