There is a continued trend to harness Mother Nature and at the same time paint products to appear as if they are made from nature when they are actually created in labs. The rise of corporate power and the promotion of conjured facts in relation to nature are also on the rise.
Let's first look at the microcosm of an incident that just transpired. In my experience most fruit teas I have sampled are made with synthetic aroma chemicals. In fact I have yet to find one I like, so I stick to my Earl Grey flavored with true Bergamot essential oil. Recently I decided to ask a tea company about their ingredients, I had a strong intuitive feeling that the tea was flavored with a synthetic. Two weeks later I got the response back from their customer service department. I expected an answer like "Yes, we use synthetic flavoring." or "No, we use no synthetic flavoring and are completely devoted to using only the highest quality flavorings from the botanical world." Instead I got a long, mumbo jumbo e-mail going on about how they use nature identicals because, I quote: "It is not artificial because it can be found in nature and man has figured out a way to copy it."
Sometimes I feel like I'm Alice who has fallen into a strange alternate universe. The e-mail went on to justify that using these chemical recreations is actually a benefit to the environment. I'm thinking that they must be referring to the environment of their corporate offices. By using song and dance the company manages to deceive people into thinking their product is something it's not. Surely we are all aware that supporting organic agriculture is a benefit to the environment, right?
The tea company went on the establish their position by telling me that the copied molecules are safer than those made in nature. This reminds me of a perfume event here in Los Angeles where the representatives of a large synthetic perfume conglomerate convince the audience that it is more sustainable to recreate aroma molecules than use the real thing. To my astonishment the audience is not able to perceive the truth.
This is one of many challenges that those creating true botanical products face. As corporations attempt to gain more ground, deceptive advertising will continue. I'm an advocate of calling a spade a spade. Green washing and greed seem to be intricately woven. It's up to the consumer to ask lots of questions and do their best to evaluate the answers. The customer service fellow who contacted me back was very clever how he worded his paragraphs. The average consumer might be swayed by the mumbo jumbo and the idea that creating copies in a lab is actually better than Mother Nature. Personally, I'm not interested in supporting products that copy Mother Nature, most especially when their marketing uses deceptive advertising.
On a marco level, a similar related challenge has been brewing that begs for consciousness from the human race. I've been teaching this in my Aromatherapy classes for over ten years now. Let's begin by looking at slice of history with the attempt to control the feminine and wild magic which began in the early fourteenth century Europe. This resulted in the deaths of somewhere between 40 to 100 thousand individuals of all types but more importantly it wiped out much herbal remedy lore. Many historians believe that this period was an attempt to eliminate female midwifery skills. An antiseptic cleansing transpired which then continued on into the 1900's with the invention of the microscope and the establishment of the drug cartel. Now in modern times we have the majority of the population with no clue on how to manage their health. We've also got the conglomerate Monsanto trying to harness and control Mother Nature by disallowing the growing of crops unless their "seed" is used, even in our own backyards! A patent of food.
The symbols of the feminine, wild magic of Mother Earth versus the patriarchl Father are evident in this ongoing Earthly drama and beautifully illustrated in the film Avatar. My personal favorite illustration of the times, via the media of film, is the Matrix.
In these rather surreal times we live in remember who you are, be ever so mindful, dig for the truth, ask questions and make your voice heard. Call a spade a spade.