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  • Writer's pictureRoss Henry

New York Times: How Botanical Oils Won Over the West

DeCarlo doesn’t want to halt the trade in frankincense, which would deprive many Somalis of a livelihood. “Use it with reverence and respect,” she says: Recognize that it’s a limited resource and invest in the places where it’s harvested by directly funding worker cooperatives and planting nurseries. Public demands for sustainability can have an effect, as a number of companies are seeking ways to monitor the supply chain for frankincense, as well as oils from other overexploited species, such as tracking resin in real time through blockchain (a technology that has its own environmental costs) or, as has been done in India, implanting microchips in trees. “We’re living in an interconnected world,” DeCarlo says. “The impoverishing of others to make ourselves beautiful is making us all ugly.”

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