Do Leaves Breathe?
They absorb carbon dioxide and expel oxygen, whether or not you want to call that breathing is up to you. We don’t typically think of the leaves we use to brew tea as living (because they aren’t), but they once were. Trees are living beings as well - they are not “things” that we can use however we please. They may experience life slowly and silently, but a lot goes on both above and beneath the forest floor that we are not capable of seeing.
RESPECTING LIVING BEINGS
If we are going to harvest these trees’ leaves, then we need to make sure they are taken care of. I believe we should treat all living beings with respect and trees are no exception.
When we start to think about what pesticides and fertilizers are used on the trees that make our tea, what our tea is packaged in (single-use plastic, perhaps?) and where that brand new teapot will end up 100 years from now (a landfill most likely), we can have an incredible impact on the environment around us.
Our actions have consequences. The sooner we realize that, the sooner we can help reverse the horrific effects of our collective lifestyles. Hopefully, then, the trees that grow our tea will continue to thrive, and we can keep drinking in good conscience.
My Mission For 2019
Sell tea that is:
Grown sustainably without the use of pesticides or fertilizers.
Purchased directly from farmers and producers at fair prices.
Shipped in environmentally friendly and recyclable packaging.
So good I would drink it every day for the rest of my life.
This business is about the environment, the people, and the tea. For every decision I make, I ask myself how it aligns with the values and mission of this business. Will it positively affect the environment? Will it directly support the growers and producers? Am I passionate about the product? The goal, of course, is for all those to be answered with a strong and unwavering “yes”.
To the best of my knowledge, every tea that passes through my shop fulfills these requirements. I cannot give you a 100% guarantee on the growing conditions of the tea trees since I am unable to making sourcing trips right now. However, I am confident in the reliability of my sources and will keep working towards more direct ways of interacting with the families I work with.
In the next few years I hope to develop relationships with 2-3 tea-making families and work more closely with them. I also have plans to release reports with my progress on these goals. For now I am still establishing connections and gauging demand.
My hope is that this project can fully align with the values that guide my personal life. I spend a lot of time thinking about how to practice compassion, and it has guided some of my most important decisions. I don’t want people, animals, or the earth to suffer. I practice a vegan lifestyle and am transitioning to a zero-waste lifestyle because of that. While I hope this business can fully support me one day, that is only on the terms that it is guided by compassion.