Over the past two decades, cemeteries all over the world have been running out of viable burial space. With limited space, comes price surges and increases. Various countries around the world are now faced with the ultimate question: what do we do when we run out of cemetery space? Places like England and China are already dealing with these situation. Cremation is almost required in China, and even finding a place to store an urn seems to come with a long waitlist. Cities and countries in Europe are known to ¨lease¨ or recycle graves, but this is also a temporary solution that does not directly address the issue at hand.
Recent headlines across the world read:
What happens when cemetery space runs out? – CBC
Death in the city: what happens when all our cemeteries are full? – The Guardian
Housing the dead: what happens when a city runs out of space?– The Conversation (with reference to the Bios Urn)
Re-thinking the cemetery.
In the next 20 years, cemeteries in some parts of the world are predicted to run out of space completely. When cemeteries were first created and used widely during the industrial revolution, they were not designed with a sustainable future in mind. No one thought to question what would happen if space became limited. Caskets, embalming, and other compliments of the modern funeral have made cemeteries even less scalable.
How can we shift from a traditional cemetery to an alternative, one that serves our communities, and the environment? We believe the answer lies where it often does: in nature.
Let´s convert cemeteries into forests.
The Bios Urn was first thought up by Gerard when he was planting flowers and vegetables in the garden with his grandmother. His grandmother found a dead bird, and instinctively planted the bird with wildflower seeds, thus giving it new life. This image and memory stuck in Gerard´s mind, prompting him to think about the circle of life and death, and how nature is inherently involved in this process. The natural laws of the Earth teach us that everything is recycled, and that energy never truly leaves, it merely changes form.
Cemeteries need to evolve. We propose a new space that is not dedicated merely to store the deceased, but also to propagate new life in wake. The world as it stands now has reached nearly 7 billion in population. If we continue to unsustainably bury those who have passed, we will no doubt run out of viable land for future generations to come. This land should instead be used to replenish our forests, promote growth, and provide sustenance for the future.
With the Bios urn we hope to open up a conversation and dialogue around ecological and environmentally friendly alternatives. After all, everything must go back from whence it came.
We are on a mission.