Have you heard the expression "ashes to ashes" before? The site http://www.phrases.org.uk explains the origin of this phrase:
"'Ashes to ashes' derives from the English Burial Service. The text of that service is adapted from the Biblical text, Genesis 3:19 (King James Version):
In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.
The 1662 version of the Book of Common Prayer indicated the manner and text of the burial service:
Then, while the earth shall be cast upon the Body by some standing by, the Priest shall say,
Forasmuch as it hath pleased Almighty God of his great mercy to take unto himself the soul of our dear brother here departed, we therefore commit his body to the ground; earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust; in sure and certain hope of the Resurrection to eternal life, through our Lord Jesus Christ; who shall change our vile body, that it may be like unto his glorious body, according to the mighty working, whereby he is able to subdue all things to himself."
But (more importantly, to me at least) "ash" is also the name of a tree, common in the northern hemisphere. In Portuguese, it's called o freixo. Well, it's a tree that is facing extinction in various places.
In the UK, there are some 90 million of them. "The ash is the fourth-most common species today and beloved by millions for its beauty. But it appears to be doomed thanks to the importation of tens of thousands of Dutch and Danish ash trees afflicted by Chalara fraxinea, an incurable blight that strangles the tree by covering its leaves with fungus." The sad tale is told in this story at http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_reckonin ... ation.html
And the City of Toronto alone has close to a million ash trees. They are all dying (if not already dead) from an introduced Asian insect pest. The city is actively cutting them all down to prevent the spread of this pest, which would affect this tree in all other parts of Ontario and beyond. See the story here: http://www.toronto.ca/trees/eab.htm. There are some 7.5 billion ash trees in North America, and most are in danger of extinction. That's billions, my friends.
Somebody do something, is all I can say.