Forget coffins, deceased loved ones can be buried in organic pods to grow trees

By @iamkarlatecson on
Relatives clean the tombs of their loved ones in preparation for All Souls Day inside a public cemetery in Manila October 29, 2010. Reuters/Romeo Ranoco

An Italian-based team of designers is seeking to change how people say goodbye to their loved ones and remember them after: to create cemeteries full of trees instead of tombstones.

Anna Citelli and Raoul Bretzel have conceptualised an organic egg-shaped pod that can convert a person’s remains into nutrients to grow a tree. The two hope to change the perception of death, not as the end of life but as the “beginning of a return path in the biological cycle of life.”

A cultural and broad-based project, Capsula Mundi refers to a pod made of biodegradable material where the departed loved ones will be placed for burial. Bodies will be laid down in a fetal position in large pods, while ashes will be put in smaller pods. Each pod will be buried like a seed, and on top of it, a tree will be planted to serve as a memorial for the deceased.

Clients can choose from a wide array of trees, preferably when they are still alive, such as olive, oak, eucalyptus, birch or cherry. “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,” the team says on the project’s web site. Instead of a cold and sometimes creepy landscape that they are known for, cemeteries can now be looked at as vibrant woodlands.

While there are already biodegradable caskets and ash urns available, Capsula Mundi goes a step further with their revolutionary and eco-friendly idea. However, the project still remains to be just a concept as of the moment. The team is working to put into production the biodegradable urn, before a coffin made of the same sustainable material. The people behind Capsula Mundi are working to make their vision become a reality, especially fuelled by encouragement from those who believe in their project.

Source: YouTube/Tedx Talks