Earth Day Thoughts and Wishes

Greetings, dear Purrfumery friends!

Happy Earth Day! It’s the 50th anniversary of this very special day when we stop and ask: What can each of us do to protect Mother Earth? While it’s usually a day for festivals and conferences, this year we will celebrate in our own quiet ways. I’ve been enjoying the plants in my garden, and have been harvesting lemon balm (Melissa officianalus) for tea—it helps reduce anxiety—and have been infusing violets in honey—a salve for the respiratory system. I’ll say more about lemon balm a little later.

This note is also my way of celebrating our beautiful world with you!

Winding Path To Awareness

My work in natural perfumery over the last 20 years has been an incredible teacher. Every day I experience how interconnected we are with the natural world. I have studied where and how plants grow, the terroir they draw from the land, and how plants can impact our lives, our moods, and our health. I’ve also learned how to collaborate with the ultimate perfumers: Bees! I use their beeswax to create several of my most beloved scents.

Sadly, there is a dark underbelly to natural perfumery. I have witnessed the promotion of animal musks and secretions that are derived from animals at the cost of horrible suffering. An animal’s suffering begins when they are trapped in the wild. It continues—in some cases for years, as with civet cats—as people harvest their bodies for their musk that will ultimately be sold to perfumers.    

It is this same logic—that wild animals possess something we must take for ourselves—that is at the heart of the COVID-19 pandemic.

My Earth Day Message: Find a Solution

I am so sorry to hear about the loss of life that has resulted from this pandemic, and the loss of livelihoods from the shelter-in-place. And while I know researchers are still studying the source of the pandemic, I am saddened that there may be a link to animal cruelty and the exploitation of wild animals. Researchers have traced COVID-19 to wet markets, where wild and endangered animals are sold. In these environments, humans and wild animals are close—too close—and diseases can jump from one species to another. We are learning a painful lesson about Mother Earth, where we should tread and where we shouldn’t. 

Taking animals from the wild for our amusement puts us all at risk—can we all see that now? 

But once we acknowledge this, it is not as easy as simply stopping this practice. (Though China did recently ban the trade and consumption of wild animals for food.) There are ramifications to bans because in some countries, animal trafficking is how many people earn a living and feed their families. Finding solutions that sustain local communities and the environment is a much larger conversation that we need to be having. I have explored this in my advocacy of civet cats in the wild—I believe that if people work together, we can phase out these harmful practices. Jane Goodall has been an example to me—she inspires me with her work to help communities find solutions to animal trafficking. Jane Goodall is my hero! She is helping people explore more sustainable ways to earn their livelihoods. Learn more about her message and work!

I agree with Jane Goodall and other conservationists that we must find solutions to animal trafficking that benefit animals AND people. I think that is the only way they are going to work. 

How Can YOU Make A Difference?

I am always asking myself that question! Here in my Purrfumery, I create my scented artworks from natural treasures that are cruelty free. They do not contain even a speck of animal byproducts. I partner with groups that have a voice in the community and around the world, and I try to help them in any way I can. 

Here’s what I am working on now:

Deforestation around the world is another culprit that harms wildlife, the environment and people. I’ve been partnering with Centre ValBio, led by Dr. Patricia Wright, who is working hard to save Madagascar lemurs and help indigenous people through research and education. I created a perfume for their fundraiser—Luminous Lemurs! It is aging now and will be ready in a few months. The proceeds from this perfume will go to helping Centre ValBio build tree corridors for lemurs to live and roam. Purrfumery proceeds also support the exploration of the Lost Rainforest of Crystal Mountain, and help girls from remote villages attend high school, all through Centre ValBio.

And Masks, Lots of Masks!

I am sheltered in place like so many of you, and I have time to help! My dear friend Lisa has been helping me, buying fabrics and elastic, and I have been making masks for those in need, so I have gone back to my sewing roots, which I love. The mask pattern I made is based on this video: Watch the video after it too, for instructions on how to make the jig. Kitty Magic and Truffle love to help, as you can see!

I recommend making it 1’ wider and washing the fabric 3 times in the washer and then the dryer so they won’t shrink. Hope it’s helpful and useful to you and yours. I am also seeing folks selling them on Etsy and NextDoor.

Back to Lemon Balm...And Free Shipping!

I would like to offer free shipping for a month, because I am shipping very sporadically right now. So, free shipping until May 22nd! Type in Violet in the discount box. And I am including a special treat from my garden with each order while supplies last. I have been harvesting and drying lemon balm for tea and would like to share it with you. Enjoy this special gift from the Perfumer’s Garden!

The Constant- Earth Day is My Every Day

The solitude of the shelter in place has given me time to think, which can be a good thing, right? I’ve experienced bursts of creativity, but there have also been hours spent in deep concern for what the future holds. While so much is unclear right now, there is one thing that has never changed:

My respect and love for the natural world and animals, and my commitment to the wellbeing and safety of all living things. I am in awe every day!

Thank you for being part of this journey, my dear Purrfumery friends!

Until next time. . .

Peace, purrfume and kitty cats,