This Cardboard Box Turns into a Forest

Posted by Adele Peters

There's a poetic justice in the Life Box: like any cardboard box, it's made from trees, but unlike any others, it actually helps forests grow back. Filled with hundreds of tree seeds, this might be the first box that's more interesting than whatever's sent inside. When you get the Life Box in the mail, the cardboard can be torn off and soaked to start the seedlings. In a couple of years, you'll have baby trees that you can plant anywhere and track by GPS on the Life Box site.

The seeds inside include birches, pines, cedars, and other species carefully selected as native to ecosystems all over North America. The seeds are also given a special boost from mushrooms—the box was the brainchild of Paul Stamets, a brilliant mushroom expert (check out his TED talk) who has discovered how effectively fungi can support tree growth. 

The box isn't just a clever design, but has serious benefits: if only one of the hundreds of seeds in the box is planted and survives 30 years, it will sequester about one ton of carbon. Paul Stamets writes on the Life Box site:

The Life Box is a perfect example of a product that closes the loop on a cycle that begins and ends with Life. Once delivered, a regular cardboard box dies at your doorstep, so to speak. The conventional brown box serves only the purpose of delivering a product. And then, at best, it is recycled. The Life Box is not just a box – it is a teaching tool that unfolds into a continuing, life-long experience. It empowers individuals with the ability to sequester carbon by planting trees and making a positive difference.

Images courtesy of Lifebox

This post is part of the GOOD community's 50 Building Blocks of Citizenship—weekly steps to being an active, engaged global citizen. This week: Plant a Guerrilla Garden. Follow along and join the conversation at good.is/citizenship and on Twitter at #goodcitizen.