There aren’t a lot of options in terms of what happens once we die. There’s burial, cremation, or giving yourself to science.
But, imagine if you could become human compost for something beautiful which could grow and be nourished from your bodily remains. Well, soon you might be able to.
The Capsula Mundi project, being developed by Italian designers Anna Citelli and Raoul Bretzel, involves creating an organic, biodegradable burial pod that turns a deceased body into nutrients for a tree that will grow out of the bodily remains.
(There is the option to choose a tree before dying.)
The body is encapsulated in foetal position and then buried and a seed or tree is planted above the capsule. The pod is made from all renewable and biodegradable materials, including starch plastic and seasonal plants such as potatoes and corn.
So as the pod disintegrates, the human compost is released.
The project is just a concept at the moment, as Italian law forbids such burials. But if the two designers are eventually able to proceed, they hope to create entire “memory forests” – memorial parks full of trees.
The idea is sustainable too. As Citelli and Bretzel say on their website, it takes 10 to 40 years for a tree to grow, and if it is then cut down and made into a coffin, that only serves a purpose for two or three days.
Why not grow the trees instead?