The Urban Death Project
The Urban Death Project is a compost-based renewal system. At the heart of the project is a three-story core, within which bodies and high-carbon materials are placed. Over the span of a few months, with the help of aerobic decomposition and microbial activity, the bodies decompose fully, leaving a rich compost. The Urban Death Project is not simply a system for turning our bodies into soil-building material. It is also a space for the contemplation of our place in the natural world, and a ritual to help us say goodbye to our loved ones by connecting us with the cycles of nature.
The Permaculture Research Institute
When I was little I was terrified of death. I often cried myself to sleep as I thought of the end of life. It seemed so bleak, pointless, and severe. Mom tried to comfort me with the concept of going to heaven. This did not reassure me at all. “How do you know there is a heaven?” I’d ask. “Have you been there?” Eventually, I just numbed myself to the fear by burying it in the recesses of my mind and body. Years later the fear evaporated with an incredible discovery – composting. Yes! Here was tangible proof that there was life after death, that everything did not just end/stop/vanish with death. Instead, things transformed. In the compost pile I saw kitchen scraps, weeds, and a dead chicken decompose into beautiful, rich, fertile soil in which earthworms, mycelia, chiles, and all kinds of new life grew.