According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services, as of 2015 American taxpayers spend more than $120 billion dollars annually dealing with the negative impact of invasive species on agriculture, natural resources, and property loss. Worldwide, that amount grows to $1.4 trillion dollars spent on environmental impacts resulting from invasive species each year, which is roughly 5% of the global economy.
When I first started the blog Eupterra Foundation as the continuation of a college project, I primarily wrote articles on ethnobiology – the relationship of humans with plants, animals, and their surroundings – and specifically ethnomedicine – the medically focused portion of that subject. Coming from a biology background, my writings centered around proving the efficacy or lack thereof of traditionally based medical practices in hopes of finding insight that could bolster modern medicine. What I found from interactions with blog readers was an increasing demand for naturopathic solutions to pervasive problems such as anxiety, depression, diabetes, inability to focus, and even cancer. Many of these probably sound familiar to you.
As I researched documentation in effort to find validity in natural solutions to these medical concerns, I noticed a particular trend arising. In almost every case, there was an increasing difficulty in obtaining the needed natural supplies due to habitat loss and invasive species competition. Additionally, these environmental problems were applying everywhere – manufacturing, agriculture – not just medical goods. It became clear to me that the more environmental stressors there were, the harder it for our civilization to meet its needs, and subsequently the greater strain there was on our individual lives.
So, what can be done about this? At Eupterra Foundation the blog, we continue to make articles and information available about naturopathic remedies for conditions of all kinds. However, in recent years we have also decided to take restoration efforts one step further.
Starting in 2016, Eupterra Foundation began the production of its Eupterrae essential oil diffuser line in effort to help spread and promote naturopathy and its practices. In addition though, we also work in conjunction with factories to manufacture and produce our Harvest Gift Boxes made of invasive plant species fiber to accompany our crafted pendants.
With what follows, I hope to introduce and describe a bit more about us and our industrial environmental practice and how we harvest invasive species and turn them into consumer products for you.
Eupterra, pronounced (Yoo-p Teh rr-ah), Foundation originally started as an ethnobiology blog in 2014. The whole concept behind it was to be a resource on the web where individuals could find credible studies and explanations on traditional medical and naturopathic practices that were proven effective or not by research. As interactions among blog readers commenced, the blog eventually started to include sections dedicated to herbalism, Ayurveda, yoga, and essential oils.
Knowledge regarding the many long-practiced uses of essential oils in particular was much sought after b readers. By 2015, it was brought up in question if I, as the blog’s writer, could recommend good portable aromatherapy apparatuses such as necklace diffusers. After comparing available models found on Amazon and Ebay and witnessing consumer complaints, I found myself not being able to recommend any one style due to my reservations on each’s quality, craftmanship, and durability. Thus, I decided using my own personal skills gained from other hobbies to make my own to provide to readers. After some trial with the first 3 designs, in 2016, the brand line Eupterrae was developed with its own dedicated webstore.
What made Eupterrae essential oil necklace pendants different was their superior craftsmanship, usability, and stylized design. Some of the biggest complaints users of essential oils experienced was that the metal alloy used for the necklace pendants would corrode or tarnish very quickly and that weak necklace chains would break under the weight of heavy pendants. For Eupterrae, all necklaces and pendants would be made of stainless steel to increase strength and durability of each one. As for the design, each piece originates from a hand-drawn design based off of past cultural symbolism following a natural or seasonal theme. Using fine metals such as 14k yellow gold, rose-gold, and sterling silver the pendants are plated and coated to enhance quality and their visual appeal.
The other difference Eupterrae makes is in its unique gift boxes.
Industrial environmentalism is a concept that entails the use of industry to help solve environmental problems. Collecting spilled gasoline from disaster areas and re-purposing it for consumer or manufacturer use is an example. Other ways in which this concept may be put to practice involve invasive species, however.
In a paper published during 2014 by biologists Susan Pasko and Jason Goldberg titled “Harvest the Invaders”, a discussion involving using incentive programs to control invasive species ensues. Although many scenarios are presented and methodology debated, the over-arching point that industry through consumers can deal a greater impact on resolving ecological problems than traditional conservation and volunteer groups is made.
With Eupterrae, we take this point to heart. Working with Distant Village, invasive plants such as water hyacinth and kudzu in North America are harvested, converted into packaging fiber, and manufactured into our necklace gift boxes in place of more typical fibers such as trees. Eupterrae’s “Harvest Gift Boxes” are 100% biodegradeable and hot-stamped in sustainably sourced Agri-Ink with our logo. In this way, consumers can not only gain a high quality apparatus for portable aromatherapy, but they will also be reducing the impact of invasive species one gift box at a time.
For more background on what is naturopathy, medical anthropology, and ethnobiology, click on one of the below for more info:
Fortuitously, I believe this is only the beginning of what such re-positioned industrial practices can do for our world. What started as a healthful blog in 2014 has evolved into so much more.
If you think environmentally our future as industrialized civilizations must be all gloom and doom, I invite you to imagine it again. Perhaps it is possible for us to have the resource we need and the sophistication we want without having to give up hope on a harmonious ecological environment?
As the Founder of Eupterra, I encourage us to continue along down this path.
May our industry resolve our environmental problems for us!
Charlene A. Rountree (aka Eupterraen)
Live Crafty, Spread Naturopathy