Organic Burial Pods Could Replace Coffins and Transform Gravestones Into Trees

eco-friendly capsula mundi

These egg-formed, biodegradable internment cases turn your body into a tree “seed.” Americans slash hardwood forests each year to bury their dead. Our “preserved” dead are immersed in enormous fields of stone gravestones with roughly a million gallons of formaldehyde per year.

These cemeteries or “memorial parks” cover a million acres of rich U.S. land with heavily watered and synthetically fertilized lawns. But dying needn’t harm the ecosystem. Italian artists have invented biodegradable “coffins” that allow you to turn into a tree when you die.

The Capsula Mundi is an egg-molded unit into which the departed’s fetal carcass is embedded and a seed is planted. The unit develops into a tree, which the designers call a “living memorial.” Citelli and Bretzel hope their pods will transform cemeteries into green woods.

[Read: Artist Uses Chainsaw To Transform Damaged Tree Into Hand Reaching for the Sky]

These forests, which have been fertilized by human activity, would sequester rather than emit carbon, so improving the quality of the environment for future generations. As our population doubles, burials in natural settings like woodlands might become more widespread.

They are recognized as lawful throughout Northern Europe. There is a miniature Capsula Mundi for ashes located in the area where they are not. Ashes from a cremation are inert and do not contribute any nutrients to the soil in the same way that a body does.

Take, for example, the apple tree that is planted on the graves of Rhode Island’s founder Roger Williams and his wife Mary Sayles. The human skeletons that surrounded their bodies were fashioned by the tree’s roots.

According to Lierre Keith, author of The Vegetarian Myth: Food, Justice, and Sustainability, the reason the tree “devoured” the humans was because the calcium in their bones nourished the tree’s roots.

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