Poaching the Sacred: The Fight to Preserve White Sage

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Air date: 
Wed, 02/01/2023 - 8:00am to 9:00am

 

Fueled by influencers, celebrities and a wellness community, white sage has become a hot commodity from body products to the infamous smudging sticks of bundled dry leaves. However, most people are unaware that most white sage is poached from the wild and sold on the black market. White sage, also known as salvia apiana, only grows naturally from Southern California to Baja Mexico where it is stolen from the wilds and sold all over the world in boutiques, big box stores, and online. But at what cost?

White Sage is deeply rooted in the cultures and lifeways of Indigenous communities within its native range. Barbara Drake, a Tongva elder who passed away in 2020, called it a sacred grandmother plant, a relative.

Our guest, Deborah Small, along with Rose Ramirez and the California Native Plant Society, have made the award-winning documentary Saging the World [https://www.cnps.org/conservation/white-sage]to raise awareness and call for action around the protection of white sage.

Deborah Small [http://deborahsmall.wordpress.com/] is a gardener, artist, writer, and Professor Emerita in the School of Arts at CalState University San Marcos. She is co-writer of The Ethnobotany Project with Rose Ramirez, and Cooking the Native Way with the Chia Cafe Collective. She is Co-Director and Co-Producer of the Saging the World documentary and campaign.

Jessica Aldridge, Co-Host and Producer of EcoJustice Radio, is an environmental educator, community organizer, and 15-year waste industry leader. She is a co-founder of SoCal 350, organizer for ReusableLA, and founded Adventures in Waste. She is a former professor of Recycling and Resource Management at Santa Monica College, and an award recipient of the international 2021 Women in Sustainability Leadership and the 2016 inaugural Waste360, 40 Under 40.

 

 

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