See how cold grey cemeteries could acquire a new look and grow into vibrant forests for future generations of your offspring to visit you
A bizarre burial alternative to turn your body into a tree after you die is trying to be got off the ground – or rather under it – in Italy.
This radical different approach to death explores the concepts of life coming full circle and returning human beings to the earth in the same position they entered into the world from in the womb – and life continuing to live on.
The idea is that your dead body is placed in the foetal position in a organic burial capsule that turns your corpse into nutrients for a tree that will grow out of your remains.
Boring cemeteries could acquire a new look – instead of being a typical “cold grey landscape” they can grow into vibrant forests. Burial plots are notoriously in ever decreasing supply and eco experts and climate change campaigners would likely also welcome the opportunity for people to ‘give something back’ to the planet in death.
The Capsula Mundi Project is the brainchild of designers Anna Citelli and Raoul Bretzel who are developing it in Italy as a concept to “redesign the coffin” – but it could take off worldwide if there is enough enthusiasm.
First the body is positioned in a bag or pod made of starch-based plastic which is 100% biodegradable and which is then buried in the ground.
Then a seed or sapling is planted directly above the pod and, as its roots grown down, the tree uses the nutrients that emerge from the corpse to develop.
You can choose the type of tree you want to grow from your remains and your family can visit for generations to come, perhaps in some kind of sacred forest rather than a graveyard full of stones.
They say: “A tree will serve as a memorial for the departed and as a legacy for posterity and the future of our planet. Cemeteries will acquire a new look and, instead of the cold grey landscape we see today, they will grow into vibrant woodlands.”
Nature champion and nutrition expert author David Wolfe, president of the Fruit Tree Planting Association, applauds the idea. He is also championing a similar concept, The Bios Urn, another ‘coffin alternative’ where a tree grows from your ashes in a pot.
“An incredible part of these alternative burial innovations are the changes they make on our Modern Western view of death,” he says.
“Imagine being able to take your children to a picnic next to the tree that grew from your great-grandmother.
“Envisage allowing your kids to run freely and have fun in the area where your descendants were buried. This possibility is beautiful, and it can happen in a forest made from our past.”
Well it beats having your ashes rocketed into space!