A new concept has people waving goodbye to coffins and hello to burial pods and biodegradable urns. As it stands, once a person’s loved one has departed their current state of life, the only memorial that remains is either a tombstone or traditional urn. The first is a souvenir placed above the burial ground and the latter is a container filled with the deceased person’s ashes. Ashes can be kept in a special place, thrown into the ocean, scattered from a mountaintop to vanish or be used to form new life by becoming merged with the seed of a tree.
The tree not only leaves something tangible to care for but will endure throughout generations. It is a great reflection of the circle of life. Children, grandchildren, and their offspring will witness a tree which was once the seed of their ancestors. As life continues its normal process toward death, new young trees will be planted as descendants of the first. This is enough for some to say goodbye to the coffin and hello burial pod.
Currently, the process following death moves rather routinely with a hearty fee attached. Typically, a person’s remains are handled by a team of professionals at a funeral home. The team pumps the body with embalming fluid in order to preserve it from immediate decay. It is then placed in a plastic, wooden or metal box with an airtight seal to protect it from the elements or placed in a huge incinerator and reduced to ashes to be placed in a container. The final result pales in comparison to the dignified and meaningful “life” that many would like to leave behind.
Eventually, the most decorative tombstone will become a sterile and cold display. Contrariwise, even the most abnormal tree is work of art which is alive and unique to its own characteristics. For many years, it will remain a progressive memory for loved ones to watch grow and change with each season. Regardless, of the family’s financial status, all that would be necessary is care and dedication to see the tree become strong and provide shelter to the tiny creatures beneath it.
Based in Italy, designers Anna Citelli and Raoul Bretzel formed a project called Capsula Mundi. Fueled by their love of trees, this duo created an organic, biodegradable burial pod that literally turns a person’s remains into nutrients for a beautiful tree which will grow into a beautiful and organic reminder of their loved one. The burial pod is not the only project designed to accomplish this goal.
In order to transform one’s ashes into a tree, another company has created the Bios Urn. This is an urn, which is fully biodegradable and designed to convert the remains, which go through a cremation-like process, into a tree. Mainly composed of two parts, the urn contains a seed which will grow in the name of the deceased to ultimately transform death into life through nature.
The Bios Urn has a special growth medium that allows the seed to germinate and grow successfully. After some time, depending on the type of tree, the roots will grow through the decomposable material of the urn. Through this process, the roots of the tree only have contact with the ashes once the tree is grown enough to support them. With the decomposition process, it all becomes part of the subsoil.
The thought of this new concept is exciting, especially for those wanting to preserve the memory of loved ones and add to the beautification of the earth. This biodegradable incubator, known as the Bios Incube, can also be synced with a mobile application which gives owners the ability to monitor the status of their tree as well as stay up-to-date with its progress and conditions of the surrounding environment. Both natural burial movements offer unseen opportunities to make choices that could easily nudge today’s culture in another direction. While it has yet to come to fruition, many are ready to say, “Goodbye coffin and hello burial pod.”
By Cherese Jackson (Virginia)
Be a Tree: Natural Burial; the Ultimate Back-to-the-Land Movement
Earth Porn: Bye-Bye Coffins, These Organic Burial Pods Turn Your Loved Ones Into Trees
Bios: Let’s convert cemeteries into forests!
Top Image Courtesy of YouTube
Inline Image Courtesy of Bios Urn
Featured Image by Francesco D’Angelo and Adriano del Ferro – Courtesy of Capsula Mundi