Better Place Forests Sells the Rights to Scatter your Ashes Under a Redwood

Fast Company & Inc
By Katharine Schwab
June 24, 2019

Bet­ter Place Forests sells the rights to scat­ter your ash­es under a red­wood. Prices start at $2,900, but can soar to $36,000.

Sandy Gib­son hates ceme­ter­ies.

The ser­i­al entre­pre­neur, who lost both his par­ents at a young age, had been mak­ing reg­u­lar trips to vis­it his fam­i­ly grave, which was locat­ed at the edge of a ceme­tery next to a busy road. His fam­i­ly had cho­sen a beau­ti­ful pol­ished gran­ite tomb­stone, which had seemed like a good idea at the time. But that means that every time he pays homage to his par­ents, Gib­son sees the reflec­tion of cars rush­ing down the street on the slick sur­face of the grave­stone. “I knew it didn’t feel like the right place for them,” he says.

Gib­son knew he couldn’t be alone. The end-of-life expe­ri­ence for a fam­i­ly is a dread­ful one. Not only have they lost some­one they love, but ceme­ter­ies are expen­sive (and are run­ning out of space). A 2017 study from the Bureau of Labor Sta­tis­tics reveals the cost of dying—$7,360 on aver­age for funer­al ser­vices and burial—has risen 227% since 1986 (com­pared to 123% for all goods). Today’s $14 bil­lion death indus­try is cater­ing to an increas­ing sec­u­lar coun­try: A 2017 sur­vey by the Nation­al Funer­al Direc­tors Asso­ci­a­tion found that only 39.5% of respon­dents are being buried in cer­e­monies with a reli­gious com­po­nent, and more than half of respon­dents are inter­est­ed in green bur­ial options. Cre­ma­tion is on the rise.

What do you do if you don’t want to bury your loved one in a ceme­tery, you don’t have a reli­gious com­mu­ni­ty to turn to for sup­port, and cre­ma­tion doesn’t feel like a spe­cial enough way to mark their pass­ing? Some have turned to human com­post­ing, while oth­ers request to be buried inside a biodegrad­able pod. The still liv­ing are turn­ing to “death doulas” to make the process of dying more pos­i­tive.

And now, thanks to Gib­son, you can buy the rights to sprin­kle your ash­es under­neath a red­wood tree.

To read the full arti­cle, vis­it Fast Com­pa­ny


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