Talking or even thinking about death, especially your own, can be very unsettling, uncomfortable, and even worrying.
Even though it’s normal to want to live your life to the fullest, there are only two certainties in life: taxes and death.
Some people would rather not burden their family or children with administration and formalities after they pass away, so they arrange everything beforehand.
One of the major questions after a loved one passes away is whether they should be buried or cremated.
A new company has now come up with a third alternative: an eco-friendly organic burial pod that turns you into a tree after you die.
Even though it may the least of one’s concerns after someone passes, traditional coffins actually are quite polluting.
Jennifer DeBruyen works as an Associate Professor of Biosystems Engineering and Soil Science at the University of Tennessee and says that the materials in a coffin won’t break down anytime soon.
“A lot of energy also goes into producing these materials, which are used for a very short time and then buried. They’re not going to break down very fast,” she said to CNN.
Two Italian entrepreneurs and designers, Raoul Bretzel and Anna Citelli figured that there had to be a better solution.
They came up with the ‘Capsula Mundi’.
The capsule is a bio-degradable organic burial pod that lets your body turn into a tree and become one with nature.
‘Capsula Mundi’ is Latin for “world’s capsule” and works for both ashes as well as bodies.
The starch plastic capsule is biodegradable and will break down fairly easily, and a tree sapling is planted right above the capsule.
When the organic casket has degraded, the nutrients of ashes or a body can actually be used by the sapling that’s planted directly above.
“Capsula Mundi is a cultural and broad-based project, which envisions a different approach to the way we think about death. It’s an egg-shaped pod, an ancient and perfect form, made of biodegradable material, where our departed loved ones are placed for burial. Ashes will be held in small egg-shaped biodegradable urns while bodies will be laid down in a fetal position in larger pods. The Capsula will then be buried as a seed in the earth,” the website reads.
The tree that is planted directly on top is a living memorial for the deceased person, and it encourages friends and family to look after the tree as it grows bigger every year.
Capsula Mundi hopes that it can one day transform the way cemeteries look, making them look like woodlands instead of a place filled with tombstones.
According to their slogan, life never stops.
“A tree, chosen in life by the deceased, will be planted on top of it and serve as a memorial for the departed and as a legacy for posterity and the future of our planet. Family and friends will continue to care for the tree as it grows. Cemeteries will acquire a new look and, instead of the cold grey landscape we see today, they will grow into vibrant woodlands.”
These so-called ‘memory forests’ are actually gaining popularity in the United Kingdom and in the States.
People can also choose to plant the biodegradable casket and the tree in a place of their choosing, to keep their loved ones close to home, for example.
The US and Canada even have their own eco-certification organization for the burial and cremation industry.
“We’ve noticed an uptick in the public interest in green burials in the last 24 months. Although our providers continued to grow steadily, the public has become much more aware and there is a lot more interest in the practice” Kate Kalanick of the Green Burial Council said to CNN.
As of right now, the Capsula Mundi caskets are legal in North America, but they’re still not allowed in a number of other countries.
In the inventors’ homeland of Italy, for example, it isn’t possible to proceed with this type of burial, although the two hope that the rules can be loosened soon.
Learn more about this “green” approach to the after-life in the video below.
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