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When the World is Falling to Pieces, There’s Hope in Death

There’s been much afoot in the world that leaves me in turmoil; the terrible bus crash of the young hockey players for the Humbolt Broncos team; the shocking killings in Toronto by the young man who drove into a crowd of people (not to mention the reveal of the very disturbing community of “incels” or involuntarily celibates); the loss of homes on the island of Hawaii as the volcano unleashes it’s fury yet again; the on-going crisis in Syria; Donald Trump.

So, I was heartened this morning to open an email revealing the latest update on Recompose, or composting our deceased from Catrina Spade, founder and designer extraordinaire of the project (also known as the Urban Death Project). No doubt it feels counter intuitive to be heartened by a death project, but it’s really a pretty cool operation they are all working on!

Here’s an excerpt from the newsletter:

Introducing…the hive!

We’ve made some exciting changes to our recomposition system, and have switched our focus from vertical “core” to individual “vessel.” The concept is the same: the body is covered with natural materials like wood chips and alfalfa, providing the perfect environment for nature to do its job. Over the span of approximately 30 days, everything breaks down on a molecular level, and a rich soil is created. Friends and family will be able to use that soil to grow a memorial tree or nourish a favorite garden. There were a few reasons for this change, including our ability to shorten the engineering timeline and design a more flexible, scalable system. Perhaps the best part? The individual vessels nest together in a hive, reminding us that we are all connected to nature AND to each other. The folks at MOLT, a local Seattle studio, created this rendering to give a sense of what the hive might look like in a future Recompose facility. We think it’s beautiful!

The above rendering of a Recompose facility, plants grow and people visit the hive, connecting with the cycles of nature and remembering loved ones.

Please visit the Recompose site to learn more. If you’re interested in their latest newsletter, no doubt they would be happy to share it with you or you can contact Ngaio at [email protected] and I’ll share the newsletter with you.

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