Sustainability Compilation #3: Personal Planting

Alternate Afterlives

This video is about the Bios Urn, one option this article will present.

As we all know there are two options for your body after you have died. You’ll be put in a coffin and sent to a cemetery or burned and have your ashes spread. As we push into the first quarter of the 21st century a number of companies want to widen those options. From trees to diamonds and space itself, here are 4 options to consider for your deceased remains. All the links can be found at the bottom to the main sites of every idea I mention here.

First let’s mention the non-biological methods. The company LifeGem has invented a method that will turn the carbon in corpses into diamonds. As a theme that will run through this article, cemeteries take up quite a lot of space. Maybe in rural areas it’s not as big of a problem but closer to cities new room needs to be constantly found. The coffins we place in the ground also take a large amount of wood every year to construct. As our species grows it will become more difficult to keep finding the room and wood so instead why not reuse our bodies for a different purpose? As far as conflict diamonds are concerned I doubt LifeGem’s idea would ever truly compete but they could essentially create a new industry. Plenty of families have heirlooms they pass down so why not pass down the jewelry made from your family? They offer a variety of different colors, cuts, as well as a serial number and certificate of authenticity. There are a number of other companies that have sprung up around this same idea, showing that it could start to catch on in the future. 

Maybe you don’t want to be a diamond. Would you like to go to space? The company Celestis offers to fly your remains aboard a spacecraft. Of course not your whole body; the cost per pound is exorbitant. But they can launch a few grams of your ashes where you can join others who have participated like Gene Roddenberry (Star Trek), Eugene Merle Shoemaker (a founder of the discipline planetary science), Gerard K. O’Neill (best known for conceptualizing the O’Neill cylinder, the interior of which was featured in the movie Interstellar) and Gordon Cooper (one of the first astronauts, first man to sleep in space and the last astronaut to conduct a solo mission in space). If you prefer it’s another choice for going out in spectacular fashion. But what about renewable options?

A different option is Bios Urn. We’ve already seen it above but let’s talk about it a little more. They’ll place you in a large cup, plant you in the ground and the ashes from your body will nurture a tree. The urn itself looks like a large plastic cup, similar to a big Slurpee cup. It already has the seed and plant medium necessary to grow a tree; all you need to do is have your ashes poured in. The cup is biodegradable so don’t worry, it’ll get eaten too. It will essentially work with a large number of trees and they’ll even let you pick your own if you want so have some fun picking which one you’d like to be. They’ve already had thousands of orders and even come in sizes for your pets.

As this video specifically states, even with the addition of the Bios Incube it’s a small price in comparison to an actual funeral. For a good idea, all you’d have to do is find some people to speak at the planting site, maybe a celebration of the person’s life at home or a preferred location and it’s done. With the Incube it’s just like a large house plant and you can keep it with you wherever you want to go.

As you’ve seen so far a number of these practices all involve ashes. Actually turning your body into ashes does produce CO2 emissions so I hope in the future someone can change this process so it can be a bit cleaner. As Bios Urn mentions their future vision for this technology is to turn cemeteries into forests, which works with the next idea.

Imagined in a similar way to the Bios Urn (although only a design from what I can tell), the Poetree is another way to turn us into tree after our deaths. In this design the ashes are placed in a large cork pot with an engraved ceramic disc at the top serving to memorialize the person in the ground. Small trees are then placed inside and grow until the pot starts cracking. It is then placed into the ground where the pot will degrade but the disc remains. This design easily shares the same future vision as Bios Urn since the concept of replacing cemeteries with forests is much more environmentally friendly and could essentially replace the idea of a graveyard with a kind of memorial park. That wraps up the ideas I have found but each new method I find will be added in the future as another update. Thanks for reading and if you see anything that might interest you or a family number give one of these places a call and share it with others to know you have options for your life after death.

LifeGem

Celestis

Bios Urn

Poetree

As it would turn out I missed another option for an alternate funeral when I made my Alternative Afterlives article. This one is another biological method however we’re not growing forests here. Jae Rhim Lee, an artist with a plan, has developed a bodysuit for burials that aims above current methods. She has stated that the human body contains a few hundred different types of toxins which if you are cremated get released into the atmosphere. If you are buried, even using greener methods like the Bios Urn or Poetree, those toxins just stay in the soil unfiltered. Her solution is to use mushrooms to gradually decompose people’s bodies, filtering the toxins in the process. She has been breeding mushrooms to get specific strains that can degrade your body efficiently. The spores from them are placed in capsules along with a nutrient jelly and sewn into the suit you will wear, called the Infinity Burial Project. Once you die these spores will grow, eating your body and growing over you in an environmentally sound way. Funny enough they have also designed suits for pets. Jae Rhim Lee has specifically stated she wants the culture to shift away from our current methods to greener burials and I’ll certainly be there to follow along.

Coeio

Biovessel

Credit:貝殼放大 BACKER – FOUNDER
There’s a new type of pot available for your plants. The Biovessel design is different from current designs not in an artistic or advanced way but differs in a scientific way. Essentially there are three holes in the pot, one for your plant, one for your water and one for your food. As in table scraps. The soil in the pot has earthworms present which will slowly breakdown these scraps and simultaneously enrich your soil. Since they constantly travel throughout the soil they are slowly mixing the nutrients from top to bottom ensuring the quality of the soil for the plant and themselves. This provides an eco-friendly way to discard your spare food without throwing it away to sit in a landfill.  As they advertise, it’s basically creating an artificial ecosystem and using nature to both grow household plants while using your waste food in a way that benefits everyone. The current design is raising money through a Kickstarter but at almost $150 for just ONE pot system it’s not exactly as cheap as your average terracotta pot. Keep checking to see when it gets cheaper but environmentally products are certainly emerging all over the consumer markets now and it’s encouraging to see how our society can move in this direction so quickly.

Biovessel

FarmBot

There is a brand new way to farm and it comes directly from the brilliant minds of the 21st century. FarmBot takes all the effort out of farming because the machine plants and nurtures the seeds into any type of crop all from a computer program. You can use it not only from a computer but also from a tablet or phone. Basically the device works in a grid, which can be as big as you want, with an arm that can move to any spot from above by rolling along tracks to the side of the garden. Other than what we’ve already seen the most unique thing by far is the customization. It would be ridiculous to have previously been able to place tomatoes, broccoli, squash and bok choy right next to one another. It is also unique not only for the individual care of each plant but the ability to program schedules catered to their care. But they say seeing is believing so check below.

FarmBot

This one is a quick video

 

 

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