Since we’re memorializing Octavia Butler‘s passing tomorrow, I thought it was a good time to draw attention to this exciting new possibility in green burials.
Death puzzles, touches and disturbs us all, while presenting a realm of unanswered questions. One thing we do know for sure is that not one of us will escape death, and so you might as well know how you want to be buried.
No matter what your faith, or if you believe in an afterlife, these organic burial pods that turn loved ones into trees make the idea of death a little more comforting. In fact, these awesome burial pods make for the perfect burial ritual in so many ways.
Based in Italy, the Capsula Mundi project was formed by designers Anna Citelli and Raoul Bretzel. Fueled by their love of trees, the pair created an organic, biodegradable burial pod that literally turns a person’s remains into nutrients for a beautiful tree growing directly up above.
Sounds ideal, right? Unfortunately, these burial pods are only a concept idea for now, as it is against Italian Law to bury someone in this manner. If, or when, the project is allowed to proceed, the overall goal is to create cemeteries full of trees instead of tombstones. Instead of a cemetery, these parks will be referred to as “memory forests.”
The body is first encapsulated into a fetal position in order to fit inside of the burial pod. The pod looks like an earthy piece of art, but really it’s a biodegradable “casket.” Once the burial pod is buried deep underground a tree seed or a young tree is placed directly above, and from one source of life sparks another.
Instead of visiting a spooky, sad cemetery visitors will enter a beautiful memory forest full of hope and the promise of new life. Loved ones would care for the tree, seeking comfort beneath its shade, which is far more than you can expect from a tombstone.
Instead of visiting a cemetery full of headstones, mourners would visit a sacred forest full of beautiful trees
After being presented with this burial option it seems rather silly to purchase a fancy, overpriced coffin. After all, a cemetery full of headstones is far more depressing than a beautiful memory forest full of lush trees.
This idea is also far better for the environment. Instead of cutting down trees to make wood coffins, we would be producing more trees. The pod is made from all renewable and biodegradable materials, including starch plastic and seasonal plants such as potatoes and corn.
The company writes on their website that it takes 10 to 40 years for a tree to grow. It is then cut down and made into a coffin that only serves a purpose for 2 or 3 days. It was this line of thinking that sparked the perfect solution: a way to save one tree and plant another.
Clients will pick their favorite tree to be buried beneath
There will be an assortment of different trees clients can pick from. The idea is that someone will pick their favorite tree while they are still alive. “The tree is chosen when the person is alive, relatives and friends look after it when death occurs. A cemetery will no longer be full of tombstones and will become a sacred forest,” it says on their website.
Just imagine… a late husband and wife, sprouting new life side by side as two gorgeous trees. It truly adds beauty to the sadness of burying a loved one. I plan on telling my family later tonight this is how I want to be buried–I’m only 26, and so I’m expecting these burial pods to be in the US by the time of my (hopefully) very distant demise!
The eco-friendly forces behind Capsula Mundi are currently working to change legislation, turning their amazing burial ritual into a reality. Media attention matters, help us spread the word!