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Dr. Bronner's soap company spells out its “Moral ABCs” and a unfiying mantra on every label. Courtesy photo
Soul on Fire

Soul on Fire: Vista soap company encourages cleanliness, mindfulness

What a week … not even sure that by the time this column comes out, there will be people out and about to read it. And as things are always in divine order, this piece is timely as can be.

I’ve been working on getting an interview with Dr. Bronner’s Soap for about a month now. The timing with this pandemic and the new consciousness around washing your hands a column about soap seems most appropriate.

I will never forget the day that I came in from the beach one summer day back in the ‘70s, standing under the hot shower and actually read the label of the Dr. Bronner’s soap bottle. I was blown away. It was the same week that I found a sticker that said “Be Here Now.” I was on my way down a mystical, spiritual path.

We are ONE, and the Moral ABCs spelled out on the label of every bottle of pure castile soap is a beseechment that on this planet, we are not only responsible for ourselves but also each other. He used the labels on his superb ecological soaps to spread his message that we must realize our unity across religious and ethnic divides or perish: “We are All-One or None!” A peace plan for uniting Spaceship Earth.

Dr. Bronner’s was founded in 1858 by Emanuel Bronner, a third-generation master soapmaker from a German-Jewish soapmaking family. Still family-owned and run, Dr. Bronner’s honors its founder’s vision by continuing to make socially and environmentally responsible products of the highest quality, and by dedicating company profits to help make a better world.

This fifth-generation soapmaking tribe is now being run by the great-grandsons of Dr. Bronner, David and Mike. They are a new culture and the future of Dr. Bronner’s, along with the planet in which they manufacture.

They are now charged with taking the soap, and the message, into the world in new and innovative ways. Continuing the labeling with the unchanged Moral ABCs and All One mantra, they are using the label the same way their grandfather did by taking a stand against social concerns such as factory farming and also to promote soul healing.

David, (a Harvard graduate, mental health counselor, hemp advocate) was big on fair trade and environmental sustainability. He has implemented crop diversity, organic agriculture (no synthetic inputs or pesticides) and other soil fertility measures (use of mulch, compost) for healthy, productive soil in the countries that they buy their products.

Dr. Bronner’s has created or partnered with fair trade and organic projects all over the world: in Sri Lanka and Samoa for coconut oil, Ghana for palm oil, Palestine and Israel for olive oil, India for mint oil, Ecuador for palm kernel oil and Brazil for sugar.

An estimated 10,000 people around the world benefit directly from Bronner’s fair trade projects, and they are supporting the development of domestic fair trade programs here in North America as well.

Together with Rodale Institute, Patagonia and other regenerative organic allies, Dr. Bronner’s is at the forefront of developing a Regenerative Organic Certified standard that manufacturers and producers can use to certify ingredients and products as regenerative organic.

They are setting the new standard for manufacturing across the globe and they are right here in Vista, taking care of their employees, their suppliers and the earth while giving back.

Bronner’s recently donated a 1,200-acre parcel of wilderness worth $1.4 million to San Diego County Boys & Girls Club from profits. This shows me that global change and ethical entrepreneurship is possible, and should be demanded from consumers.

This is the kind of future that we can hope for once this epidemic passes. My thoughts are that this pandemic is a blessing in disguise, as people have been mandated into isolation.

Families across the world are forced to slow down. Perhaps this time together will be a mending of the insane pace we have all gotten used to that is causing not only stress to the human body, but also to the earth’s organism. This isolation is causing a global slow down and introspection that the planet needs at this time. We can’t keep consuming with no thought to the effect our footprint is making on the world.

We have seen that China’s pollution has completely cleared up due to the current slowdown of human movement proving that humans can heal the entire Earth within months if they actually tried, and also proving that if they don’t, then they may be forced by nature to do so.

It is a time to think about why the population is riddled with anxiety and depression and PTSD symptoms just by being alive. Bronner’s was also spearheading efforts to legalize hemp production as well as psychedelic medicines.

According to David, when used responsibly in therapeutic settings, they are effective tools for awakening compassion, healing trauma and catalyzing progressive social change. Their larger goal is to see psychedelic medicine responsibly integrated into American and global culture.

I know I want to be a part of the world Dr. Bronner’s is making happen with their global vision and responsible stewardship.

It sets my soul on fire to know that the future is actually looking bright, and it all starts with adding a little soap.