Many people are searching for ways to reduce their carbon footprint as much as possible. But just how far are you willing to go? As it turns out, you can minimize your environmental impact not only in how you live but from the afterlife as well. Two Italian designers have invented an eco-friendly way to be buried when you die.
Raoul Bretzel and Anna Citelli created egg-like shells called Capsula Mundi, Latin for "world's capsule." These pods act as natural containers for bodies or even cremated ashes. Once buried, the pod eventually grows a tree fueled by the nutrients in your decomposed remains.
As strange as it may sound, the biodegradable burial pod could serve as a solution to a pressing environmental issue, CNN reports. Traditional means of burial often feature coffins made of unnatural materials housed in a concrete-reinforced hole. As more and more bodies fill burial plots, the synthetic materials surrounding them continue to interrupt Earth's natural cycles, according to Business Insider.
"A lot of energy also goes into producing these materials, which are used for a very short time and then buried. They're not going to break down very fast," Jennifer DeBruyen, an associate professor of biosystems engineering and soil science at the University of Tennessee, told CNN.
By using the pods, the burial plot becomes a space which avidly helps the environment instead of leaving a hollowed-out pit of unnatural materials for centuries, while still actively incorporating the deceased. This innovative idea struck the pair in 2003 when they were shocked to see the waste left behind at a Milan design fair.
"It was a big competition to design new things, but almost nobody cared about future impact or whether anyone would actually use these things," Bretzel told CNN. "We started thinking about projects that could have an environmental aspect. Death is part of our life, but at design fairs, nobody cares about that because it's one side of our life that we don't want to look at. We don't like to think of death as part of life."
In the future, the pair hopes to see cemeteries full of flourishing tree groves as a result of their invention. It's a plan Mother Nature can surely get behind.
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