What happens after you die? You become a tree, of course. Spanish designer Martín Azúa has designed an urn that not only biodegrades into the earth, but once buried will start the process of growing a tree.
He calls it the Bios Urn Project and aims to reintroduce the human to the natural circle of life. The urn itself is made of coconut shell, compacted peat and cellulose. Depending on where the urn will be planted, different seeds are available for the different climates around the globe. This is just one urn in the developing trend for an alternative burial process.
Other organizations offer similar ends. One I particularly enjoyed is from UrnGarden and offers the perfect ocean or deep water burial. Designed to momentarily float before sinking to the ocean floor, this urn will naturally break down over time, once again returning the ashes into the cycle of nature.
I always thought it was illegal to scatter or bury ashes anywhere you want, but it seems as if the laws are more liberal than I was aware of. For example, burying ashes in the sea is allowed, as long as you’re at least three nautical miles out into what is known as international waters. It’s also perfectly acceptable to bury an urn on private property, as long as the owner gives consent. Certain states may also require you to disclose the information if the property is ever sold.
Ideas like the bio urn are important for solving some of the current population problems. “As concerns about the environment and over population rise in this country and across the world, people are beginning to look at preserving the earth in every possible aspect of their lifestyle, including death,” explains Melody Jamali, president of Une Belle Vie Memorial Urns. “And, when you look at the financial and environmental cost of traditional burials, having a green funeral option makes good, sound sense.”
According to Une Belle, “The funeral industry buries 30 million board feet of wood a year, 90,000 tons of steel, 1,636,000 tons of reinforced concrete and more than 800,000 gallons of toxic embalming fluid into the ground.” It seems as though now is the time to consider alternatives like Azúa’s urn tree, especially if burial is something you don’t necessarily have a set belief in.
Azúa has many other romantic notions on his website, not to mention some very moving philosophies such as, “In nature nothing is free” and “A question can be a project, an achievement in itself.”
Most importantly, he helps answer the question of a very common dilemma: if you don’t think you are going to be able to leave a lasting impression on this earth, think again.