Ashes to Trees?

It is no secret that ours lives will eventually come to an end. We will die. As much as some of us may try not to think about death, it is inevitable.

Since about 2008, green burials and green funerals have been growing in popularity. Now six years later, an ever-increasing number of environmentally conscious individuals are considering sustainable or “green” options as they plan for their own deaths and/or for the loss of loved ones. Such options include green funerals and green burials, which you can read about here in more detail courtesy of David Suzuki’s Queen of Green, Lindsay Coulter (though please note the post is dated 2011).

Perhaps most appealing to me is that a tree can be grown from the ashes of a person’s remains.

The Bios Urn is a funerary urn made from biodegradable materials (cellulose and natural fibres) that turns a person into a tree following burial; the Bios Urn turns burial into regeneration through nature. Inside the urn there is a pine seed, which can be replaced by any other seed or plant (e.g. one suitable for the location and time of year). The ashes are stored in the lower compartment of the urn and the upper compartment is designed to hold soil and facilitate growth. To ensure success, it is best to use a germinated plant or bury the urn next to a tree that will grow in honour of your loved one.

The Poetree is a funeral urn that evolve over time, becoming a companion through the stages of mourning. It is comprised of a ceramic ring with the deceased’s details, a cork container and a stopper. The ashes are placed in the urn and it is taken home along with a boxwood tree sapling in a biodegradable pot. When the loved ones are ready, they can remove the cork stopper, pour soil into the urn, and plant the small tree in the ashes. Once the tree is big enough, the urn is planted outside in a garden or a park. Since the urn is made of biodegradable material, it will eventually disappear leaving only the ceramic ring as a marker – much like a gravestone. The tree grows as loved ones move through the grieving process and in the end, the tree is left to commemorate the deceased.


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