8 Ways the Capsula Mundi is Changing the World
Author: Alasdair Nicol Date Posted:1 June 2018
There’s something healing about celebrating the life of a loved one – especially if you can create a living memorial.
Think of the local family who lost their grandmother after a long battle with cancer. . Following a beautiful memorial service and celebration of her life, the family found a way to stay connected with their beloved nan. Her ashes were buried in a biodegradable urn and a camellia tree – her favourite – was planted above them. Their grieving, as well as their love, was focussed into caring for the tree – watering and nourishing it, even talking to and decorating it. Now, around three years on, after growing with them through this process, the camellia is being introduced to new grandkids and has said hello with its first flowers.
Stories like this show how eco-burial products are an exciting and positive development for us all. Not just because they help us heal from the loss in the short term, but because they have a lasting impact on our local environment and the future generations who will inherit it.
However, not all eco urns are created equal.
Today we’re going to take a look at how the Capsula Mundi – a beautifully designed 100% biodegradable urn, designed and manufactured by artists in Italy – is changing the way we memorialise our loved ones, and helping us give back to the planet for years to come.
1. Healing yourself
One of the long term benefits of biodegradable urns is that through the planting of a living memorial, family and friends are given an ongoing, physical presence during the difficult process of grieving. As new sprouts, leaves, flowers or fruit appear, there’s a sense that you’re not alone in the process of healing and growing. Thinking of the future, some families have chosen trees that produce seeds, allowing them to re-plant future memorial trees that give back to generations to come.
2. Leaving no trace
The Capsula Mundi is made from a 100% biodegradable bio-plastic. It’s robust enough to keep the ashes safe in transport, and protect the roots of a tree from the ashes until the plant has started to mature. Over time, the urn will biodegrade, allowing the surrounding soil to mix with the ashes as the tree’s roots grow around them.
3. Growing gardens
As we have seen in the UK and US, new burial sites will emerge to allow memorial fgardens to establish. Different to current traditional memorial grounds, they will be places of nature where people can stroll and be part of the natural world. They will bring communities together to tend and care for trees, remember the past, be at peace in the present, and look to the future with hope.
4. Cancelling a carbon debt
No matter how conscientious we are throughout our life, we’ve all accumulated a carbon footprint. By choosing a tree that will flourish in your local conditions for years to come, you are taking direct action to pull carbon out of the atmosphere, and generate oxygen for future generations to breathe. Over several decades, a large tree can sequester multiple tonnes of carbon, going a little way to repaying our collective carbon debt.
5. What tree would you be?
The Capsula Mundi lets us reflect on our place within the natural world, and the cycles of transformation. Pre-planning a Capsula Mundi burial is not just a practical way of reducing your family’s workload, it allows you to meditate on the cycles of life, importantly asking yourself the questions – ‘What tree do I want to be?’ and ‘Where do I want my tree to grow?’
6. What tree would they be?
If a loved one didn't choose their own tree, one of the hidden joys for family or friends using the Capsula Mundi is deciding on the perfect plant. Reflecting deeply on a loved one’s loves gives quality time to consider your lives together and how best to remember them for years to come. Perhaps they loved the jacarandas, or perhaps they made the best lemon meringue pie in the world and could benefit from a memorial lemon tree. Maybe they were a keen bushwalker and a gum blossom or banksia would be perfect.The memories that are shared when selecting the plant are certain to help you heal.
7. Planting anywhere
The Capsula Mundi’s unique design sets it apart from other eco-burial products in one very important way. In Australia, it can be difficult to get permission to plant a new tree in an established memorial garden or bushland. The Capsula Mundi urn keeps the ashes separate to the tree being planted which means it can be planted beneath an existing tree. For burial sites and parklands where planting a new tree is not possible, and for people who want to use their favourite tree as a memorial, the Capsula Mundi is an obvious choice.
8. A Designer Urn
The Capsula Mundi’s seed-pod shape is totally unique. With over 20 years of design research and development, and over 30 prototypes, the Capsula Mundi team have created a product that elegantly and faithfully expresses the cycle of life. As a symbol of the connection between sky and earth, a tree will become the marker of a loved one’s resting place. The ashes are contained in a seed pod shaped urn to start that new journey of growth.
The Capsula Mundi is more than just an eco-burial product.It certainly offers people a way to create a living memorial, help with the grieving process, and do something positive for our environment. But as well as this, it gently gives us focus to think about the bigger cycles of nature and perhaps most importantly, it creates a practical and beautiful legacy for generations to come.
Read an interview with the designers behind the Capsula Mundi.