Most of us have likely had the opportunity to visit a cemetery at some point, and walked through the endless rows of cold marble headstones and weeping angel statues. An Italian design company called Capsula Mundi has a brilliant solution: burial pods made of natural starch plastic that nurture tree seeds as bodies break down. The natural decomposition process feeds the tree above, and over time, burial spaces can be transformed from desolate graveyards into lush memorial forests.
With over 7 billion people on the planet, all of whom have an expiration date, outdated modes of burial really have to be revisited. There just isn’t enough space to accommodate the remains of an ever-growing population on a planet with a finite surface area, and even cremating bodies uses up a startling amount of energy. With burial pods such as those created by Capsula Mundi, a body (which hasn’t been befouled with formaldehyde or other toxins) is curled into fetal position and placed within a pod made of a bio starch plastic. A tree seed is placed into the capsule with them, and the pod is then buried in fertile soil. Instead of having an engraved stone to visit, family members are gifted with a beautiful, living tree that they can tend and nurture as it grows.
The trees being planted would be indigenous to their region: for example, in a mountainous area in Italy, there would be options such as fir, beech, birch, maple, or juniper, while the more Mediterranean region could offer myrtle, oak, olive, or eucalyptus. As the burial space grows and more trees are added, the area transforms into a sacred woodland: bodies are returned to the natural world from which they came, and barren land can be reforested with the remains of those who lived and loved there. This is just a conceptual design right now as burial legislation is being revisited around the world, but hopefully it can become reality in the near future.
Images via Capsula Mundi