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I Tree Dead People: Cool and Creative Alternative Burials

Updated on April 22, 2016

Over the past few decades concerns have cropped up about the overpopulation of the human race on Earth. It is widely accepted that at some point in the near future humans will be too abundant for our planet to continue supporting us with natural resources. There is however one aspect that many people overlook, the fact that, according to the Population Reference Bureau, the dead outnumber the living by about 15:1, this means that for every one person taking up space on the surface there are fifteen people taking up space in graveyards and it is beginning to be an issue.

Tokyo, pictured here, has come up with a creative burial solution.
Tokyo, pictured here, has come up with a creative burial solution.

In London and many other cities across the world where burial space is limited people have begun to share graves with other dead relatives, while certainly a solution it is temporary at best because sooner or later these multi-person graves will begin to fill up and we will be faced once again with the issue. One city however has found a way to efficiently cut down on burial space; companies in Tokyo, Japan have opened up multi-story storage buildings where one’s remains can be safely stored. In these buildings family members of the deceased may visit and pay their respects to their loved one any time they wish. This option is fine for people who live in a city that offers it, but others may need to get creative. Luckily for those who don’t have access to such a facility there are a few other options that some would say are even better.

This is what a Bios Urn looks like.
This is what a Bios Urn looks like.

In the 21st century we are faced with multiple environmentally threatening situations and companies like Bios Urn and SpiriTree are taking an interesting approach to take out two problems with one solution, using human remains to provide nutrients to a new tree. The way this works is simple, by placing the ashes of the deceased in a special urn that will supplement them with enough nutrients to grow a seed of your choosing that has been placed inside the urn, with proper sunlight, water, and care the seed will eventually grow to become a tree. If saving the environment wasn’t incentive enough to go with this method there is another upside that also involves “saving green”, the cost. A typical burial in 2012 cost just upward of 7,000$, compare that to the total price of the Bios Urn (including cremation fees) and you are looking at a price of around 1,245$ , that is nearly a 6,000$ difference.

As important as it may be to save the earth’s trees it is equally important to save the earth’s seas. One company is making “Eternal Reefs” for exactly that purpose, Eternal Reefs are artificial reefs intended to help marine life and are made from a special mixture of concrete and human ashes. The creation and placement of these reefs is a four day process in which family and friends of the departed are encouraged to be present and help each step of the way. With many locations across the United States Eternal Reefs are becoming more and more of a viable option to all looking for a green burial.

A comparison of an eternal reef, before and after being put out to sea.
A comparison of an eternal reef, before and after being put out to sea.

Many people fear death not because it is seen as an eternal end but instead because they see it as an eternal boredom, an end to the wild adventures that they will experience in life, for those people there exists another option, brought to them by a company that calls itself And Vinyly, this option allows the deceased to avoid the ground altogether. Be it a favorite song or even a recording of you saying your final words, And Vinyly will press your ashes into up to 30 copies of a vinyl record with audio of your choosing. Those who choose this method can also choose from a variety of additional options offered by the company such as using a custom painted portrait of yourself as the album cover or even having the company’s event organizers throw you a “FUNeral” upon your passing.

Which of these sounds the most appealing to you?

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