Jeffrey Tousey


Check out this genius plan to make graveyards 1000% less creepy.

Two Italian designers are on a mission to re-invent how we remember our loved ones after they pass away.

Death is not something we like to think about. But we know that when we die, most of us will likely end up here ...

... or in an urn on a family member's mantle (next to creepy cat figurines).

But! What if! What if we could end up somewhere really beautiful like this?

Italian designers Anna Citelli and Raoul Bretzel have come up with an idea.

I think I might really be into it:

Capsula Mundi is a 100% biodegradable coffin.

It's shaped like an egg and made from from starch plastic (which is made primarily from potato and corn plants).

For burial, the body is placed inside the capsule in the fetal position.

The egg is then planted in the soil, and a tree is planted on top of it.

There are a variety of trees you can pick from, and you can decide which one you want or let your family deal with the logistics.

Rather than being buried in a cemetery (which, let's be honest, are a little bit creepy and no one likes to visit) you become part of a "memory forest."

Death is a fact of life. Millions of people die every year. What if, instead of cutting down trees to make room for graveyards, we made graveyards into forests filled with millions of trees?

Wouldn't it be great to know that your body is helping provide oxygen, carbon dioxide, humidity, clean water and air, conserving energy, slowing down climate change, and protecting wildlife, among other things?

Unfortunately, this type of burial is not yet legal in the United States or Italy. But it's certainly worth giving it some thought.

(Memory forests don't exist yet, but this is what I imagine one would look like.)

When it's my time to go six feet under, I would find a lot of comfort in knowing it's so a tree can grow.

Wouldn't you?

At the end, the camera zooms out and you see what these kids painted. Incredible.

It's pretty amazing what happens when people from one of the toughest neighborhoods in New York put aside their differences and work together using art.

Brownsville is commonly referred to as one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in New York.

Yes, it may have a past riddled with violence, crime, and addiction, but community leaders are garnering the support of local teens and young people — who have their own storied pasts — and giving them the opportunity to change the tide of their future.

Not all housing projects have to look the same.

This relatively small neighborhood has the highest concentration of housing projects in all of New York City. It's a pretty common stigma for people to immediately associate projects with ugly brown buildings and a generally ominous facade. But if you were to head down to Pitkin Avenue today, you'd see that veil of doom has been lifted.

Who is leading the charge to transform the neighborhood?

The New York City Department of Probation, Groundswell New York, and the Pitkin Avenue Business Improvement District have been working together to inspire a community-driven neighborhood revitalization. Wow, that's a mouthful. And they have been able to do this because of a $100,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Basically, Groundswell has brought in professional artists to collaborate with young adults on probation, and together they have painted massive murals all over the neighborhood buildings.

The results have not only beautified the neighborhood, they have changed the lives of the 90 young adults who signed up to work on the project.

It's about more than just painting a wall.

Creating these enormous works of art not only takes time and dedication, but it teaches important lessons. Lessons that haven't necessarily been missing from their lives, but ones that maybe have never resonated in an attainable way.

Through this program, these so-called "hardest to reach community members" have become leaders.

They have learned the importance and effectiveness of teamwork and have a strong sense of pride in the role they have played in revitalizing their neighborhood. Those skills will be invaluable as they continue to grow their careers and, more importantly, will play a major role in how they choose to interact with family, friends, and neighbors.

After you watch this video and see the response from the participants and from neighbors who have lived in Brownsville for generations, share it! Because who's to say you can't make this happen in your community. I'd like to think I've been to enough places to know that every community has room for improvement, so why not use art as the catalyst for change?

Almost everywhere you turn, there's a blood drive offering a free T-shirt and cookies. There seems to be an endless need for people to donate blood, and for good reason — donating blood saves thousands of lives every year. BUT before you think about reaching for one of those cookies, there are some rules in place to make sure YOU don't have dirty blood.

One of the FDA's most controversial rules has been around since 1977. It bans homosexual men — or, rather, ANY man who has had sex with another man — from giving blood for the rest of their lives. This came about at the onset of the AIDS crisis in America and the fear that HIV would make its way into the stockpile of blood used for transfusions. However, straight men and women can have sex with as many partners as they please and still be allowed to give blood. Stew on that for a second.

After decades of debate, the FDA has decided to lift the lifelong ban that prohibits any man who has had sex with another man to ever donate blood. We should be thrilled, right?

Not so fast. The FDA's statement stipulates that a man who has had sex with another man must remain celibate for one year before he can give blood. Yes, one year.

Sooooo, the amazing, talented, and philanthropic Alan Cumming has teamed up with GLAAD and GMHC to put together this PSA asking people to take the #celibacychallenge.

Because who wouldn't mind giving up sex for a year? You can do all sorts of lovely things. Like learn pottery...

...or take up carpentry...

...or join a Civil War re-enactment group.

RELAX. The #celibacychallenge is not what it sounds like.

The challenge is simply to sign THIS petition asking the FDA to change its questionnaire so donors are screened "based on their exposure to risk and NOT their sexual orientation."

Let's stop screening people based on sexual orientation and allow another 4.2 million people to be eligible to donate blood. That could help save up to 12.6 million lives!

Watch the video and share it with everyone you know. Who knows — it could end up saving your life.