Member
Your donation supports our high-quality, inspiring and commercial-free programming.
Support Icon
Discover all the ways you can make a difference.
Support Icon
The Leadership, Advancement, Membership and Special Events teams are here to help.

A Return to the Earth: Organic Burial Pods Turn Your Loved Ones Into Trees

Support Provided By
Photo by <a href="http://www.capsulamundi.it/progetto_eng.html">Capsula Mundi</a>
Photo by Capsula Mundi

How would you want to go out in the sunset of your life — stuck in a coffin, which requires a tree to be cut down to build, or returned to the earth, where your remains could actually nourish a tree?

Strange as it may sound, human compost isn't new. Natural burials (or "green burials") are on the rise among baby boomers, some out of financial necessity and some out of a desire to be one with the land. There's even an exploratory project in Seattle that may eventually construct urban composting facilities to convert human remains into compost, much in the same way you turn your vegetable scraps into fertilizer.

But these organic burial pods by Italian company Capsula Mundi bring a little beauty to the process of green burials. Rather than simply burying an unembalmed body in a biodegradable casket, the body is placed in the fetal position in an organic burial capsule and lowered into the ground. A tree is planted above the capsule and as it grows, it feeds off the nutrients from the decomposing body.

Photo by <a href="http://www.capsulamundi.it/progetto_eng.html">Capsula Mundi</a>
Photo by Capsula Mundi
Photo by <a href="http://www.capsulamundi.it/progetto_eng.html">Capsula Mundi</a>
Photo by Capsula Mundi

Designers Anna Citelli and Raoul Bretzel envision a world in which "a cemetery will no longer be full of tombstones and will become a sacred forest." A memory park, if you will.

Capsula Mundi is the first Italian project to promote green burials in that country, but alas, it is only a concept for now. Italian law currently forbids this type of burial, mandating that coffins must be made of wood, cemeteries must be in closed and controlled areas, and burial spaces are only temporary unless you own a family chapel — laws that date back to Napoleon Bonaparte.

But such a concept is a comforting one when you think of your descendants visiting your tree, caring for it, and sitting in its shade long after you've passed.

Support Provided By
Read More
LA County Fair (1948), from CPP Archive

Rare Photos from the Los Angeles County Fair's 100 Years

The Los Angeles County Fair turns 100 this year. Considering all the ways the fair has entertained, informed and marketed to Angelenos over the past 100 years, here is a glimpse of a few rare attractions that have lit up local imaginations over the last century.
Mizuki Shin, a middle-aged woman of Asian descent, is wearing a vertical-striped black and white apron and a red bandana on her head. She's learning against a glass pastry case displaying rows of pastries and other baked goods.

Roji Bakery’s Tender Milk Bread is a Slice of Japan in L.A.

Roji Bakery has served the Mid-Wilshire neighborhood for the past 20 years, serving up warm, fluffy Japanese shokupan (milk bread) and other baked goods. Owner Mizuki Shin talks about the yudane technique that makes milk loaf unique and reminisces on her memories eating shokupan as a child in Japan.
Jennie Fou Lee is wearing a pink tie-dye hoodie and a white apron as she holds out a tray of doughnuts from a glass case. There are two kinds of doughnuts on the tray — a line of Oreo/cookies and cream doughnuts and a doughnut topped with Fruity Pebbles.

DK's Donuts Capture Sweet Memories in Golden, Fluffy Donuts

In this video, Jennie Fou Lee of DK's Donuts talks about how their family-run store has become a community staple and how their doughnuts hold memories for the community they serve.