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Wile E. Peyote

The Peyote Files

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This three-part web series joins Dr. Bia Labate on an eye-opening road trip through West Texas to meet Dr. Martin Terry, one of the world’s leading experts on Lophophora williamsii (peyote).

Episode 1: https://youtu.be/NYGivLwfCkA

In episode one (Peyote Territory) Bia and Martin trek through peyote’s natural habitat and discuss its unusual morphology, psychoactive nature, history of human interest, and Martin’s irrepressible zeal for all things cacti. Martin’s rigorously scientific understanding of peyote’s evolutionary context challenges the mystical assumptions often underpinning the role of its psychoactive properties.

Episode 2: https://youtu.be/Y6NZUH-ooNY

Returning from the desert to Alpine, Texas, Martin shows Bia the collection of peyote cacti he nurtures and studies in his fortified greenhouse—following strict DEA regulations—and explains the current threats to peyote populations (currently listed as "vulnerable" by the IUCN Red List), such as the destruction of peyote’s habitat and the pressures of overharvesting. This series represents a testament to Martin’s tireless conservation efforts and a call to action to recognize and respect the right to exist of this extraordinary cactus, before it’s too late. You can watch the other episodes from this series now using the links below. Also, please consider liking, sharing, and subscribing, so our videos can reach an even wider audience!


Episode 3:
https://youtu.be/9IPaC08gwEc

Martin outlines the research and action he is carrying out, along with the Cactus Conservation Institute, to mitigate the threats faced by peyote, including spreading awareness of sustainable harvesting techniques, the impact of frequent, repeat harvesting, and the urgency of cultivation. This series represents a testament to Martin’s tireless conservation efforts and a call to action to recognize and respect the right to exist of this extraordinary cactus, before it’s too late. You can watch the other episodes from this series now using the links below. Also, please consider liking, sharing, and subscribing, so our videos can reach an even wider audience!

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Wow, what a great watch. Really exciting for me was the accentuation of some of the ethnobotanical politics that I have touched upon elsewhere around the tension between colonial, indigenous people and plant relations.
 

 I’m no closer to any conclusion, but the neo-liberal vibes are so strong. Business screws over the peyote population. No one can do shit about this, so consumers begin copping responsibility for solving the problem. Scientists tell indigenous people to change their traditions, psychonauts begin growing threatened lophs. It’s impossible to take on the businesses raping the land so we point the fingers at each other. Fuck you modernity.
 

Glad to see Bia acknowledge that we need a plant-based ethics committee. But what will they have to say about vegans :/

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