April 4, 2022: Saging the World with David Bryant

General Meeting: April 4, 2022: Saging the World with David Bryant

Saging the World Documentary: Supporting Indigenous Advocates to protect White Sage

See agenda and Zoom link below for meeting time and location


Metric tons of white sage (Salvia apiana) are being poached across wildlands to supply an international demand for smudge sticks, essential oil, and other products in response to a viral trend of smudging or “saging”. Saging – people burning sage bundles in the hope of purifying space and clearing bad energy – has recently more become common in movies, TV shows, social media, and cleansing rituals. Instead of healing, the appropriated use of saging in popular culture is having a harmful effect. Indigenous communities have tended a relationship with white sage for thousands of generations, using this sacred plant for food, medicine, ceremony and more. White sage (Salvia apiana) only occurs in southern California and northern Baja California, Mexico. Today, poachers are stealing metric tons of this plant from the wild on both sides of the border to supply international demand. Saging the World spotlights the ecological and cultural issues intertwined with white sage, centering the voices of Native advocates who have long protected and cherished this plant.

white sage is available at many online retailers
white sage is available at many online retailers

White sage is deeply rooted in the cultures and lifeways of Indigenous communities of Southern California and northern Baja, the only region in the world where it naturally occurs, but the devastating theft and the appropriated trend that it fuels stand in sharp contrast with the values and traditional practices of regional Native communities. Native people have long fought for the protection and recognition of white sage and Indigenous advocates express that white sage that has been irreverently ripped from the wild, sold on the black market, shipped across the planet, and burned without regard for Indigenous practices has no medicine. Rose Ramirez and Deborah Small, authors of the Ethnobotany Project, and David Bryant, CNPS’s Director of Education & Engagement, have produced and directed a short documentary, Saging the World, and speak about the Saging the World campaign, sharing co-led efforts with Rose, Deborah and Indigenous partners to protect this imperiled plant.

The short documentary was produced by Rose Ramirez, Deborah Small, and the California Native Plant Society to foster awareness and inspire action for white sage.  Join David Bryant to hear about the making of this film and the world premiere, set for Earth Day, April 22 in San Pedro at the Warner Grand Theatre!

About David Bryant

David’s passion is making others passionate about native plants: inspiring communities towards a love of biodiversity, connection to place and sense of agency through the plants that define our home. As Director of Visitor Experience at California Botanic Garden, David drove public engagement and education for California native plant advocacy. He led the development and implementation of the Interpretive Master Plan, oversaw an annual calendar of community events and classes, produced numerous exhibitions and stewarded communications – all in service of fostering connections and change for native plants. At CNPS, he now leads education and engagement programming across the state. He earned his BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design and his career began with positions in the exhibit departments at Roger Williams Park Zoo and Harvard Natural History Museum. David is indebted to the guidance and ongoing stewardship of California Indigenous mentors, and works to amplify the voices, perspectives and legacies of Indigenous communities in relationship to native plants all that is connected to them.

2022 Zoom meeting information:

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Meeting ID: 872 4081 2653
Passcode: 217746
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