Every new generation brings about a change, but our society is still rich in traditions, especially ones associated with important events in life. Yet, new trends emphasize the need for sustainable living, and as it turns out, for sustainable dying as well.
Now, Italian designers Raoul Bretzel and Anna Citelli might have the solution to a reduced carbon footprint after our death. They maintain that death is as closely related to consumerism as life, so their vision is to create cemeteries full of trees, “instead of the cold grey landscape we see today.”
They got the idea in 2004, after seeing tons of furniture trashed at the end of Milan’s famous design fair, “Salone del Mobile.”
“It was a big competition to design new things, but almost nobody cared about future impact or whether anyone would actually use these things. We started thinking about projects that could have an environmental aspect. Death is part of our life but at design fairs, nobody cares about that because it’s one side of our life that we don’t want to look at. We don’t like to think of death as part of life.”
Their invention, Capsula Mundi, (“world’s capsule” in Latin) might make a revolution when it comes to the way people are buried. They explain it “is a cultural and broad-based project, which envisions a different approach to the way we think about death.”
Namely, this special egg-shaped, organic casket will turn the corpse into a tree, and it will thus continue to be in harmony with nature.
The corpse is being encapsulated in the fetal position, and the pod, made from a completely biodegradable starch plastic, is buried. Bacteria in the soil soon break down the bio-plastic, and a tree grows over it.
The corpse provides the tree with the needed minerals and nutrients to grow and in this way, it returns to nature. The idea of luscious forests replacing the granite gravestones we are all used to doesn’t sound that bad after all!
In most cases, the person chooses the seed planted in the pod. However, these burial pods still need some work before they hit the market.
Until then, Capsula Mundi has brought out their biodegradable urn, which functions in the same way, but it contains the ashes of the deceased one.
The urn is buried deep underground as well, and over time, a tree grows above it. The urn breaks down, and the tree absorbs the nutrients after the body decays.
It is now available online and it can be bought from all over the world.
Regardless of our faith, the idea of coming full circle and returning whence we came from is one that appeals to many of us, and this new burial method ideally captures the idea.
According to their official website:
“It is time for humans to realize our integrated part in nature. Capsula Mundi wants to emphasize that we are a part of Nature’s cycle of transformation. This universal concept goes beyond cultural and religious traditions.
Only a tree, a symbol of the connection between the sky and the earth, will mark the resting place of the deceased. As tree after tree is planted, the cemetery will become a forest, free of the architectural motifs that mark today’s memorial grounds. “