Can you imagine living in a world without honey? What about coffee? (Gasp!) Wine?! That’s exactly what artist Catherine Young hoped to get us asking when she created the futuristic line of perfumes dubbed The Ephemeral Marvels Perfume Store (T.E.M.P.S. for short). This line of perfumes is composed entirely of scents that are endangered by global climate change. What makes them so thought-provoking is not that they smell of rare and exotic florals found only in the Brazilian rainforest, but that they smell like common everyday things that could someday disappear.
The perfume line includes eight scents — Coasts, Coffee, Honey, Wine, Eucalyptus, Peanuts, Ice and Hardwood and was designed by Young, Givaudan (a Swiss flavors and fragrance company) and The Apocalypse Project. Crazy to think about, right? But the video for these fragrances shows just how vulnerable everyday items are when faced with global climate change. Although we spelled out what T.E.M.P.S stands for above, we can’t help but see the double entendre when it comes to the potential impact of climbing global temps.
All of us have specific scents that evoke powerful, positive memories, like that dish grandma used to make for you or the cologne your partner wore on your first date. Scientists have discovered that humans have over 1,000 different types of smell receptors, far more than any other sensory receptor in our bodies, and unlike other senses, when you smell something, it travels through your brain directly to the olfactory bulb, without stopping over at a “relay station” called the thalmus. While scientists don’t know why scent doesn’t work the way other senses do, they speculate that this is why smell and memory are so closely linked.
It’s no surprise that Young says her favorite perfume in the line is Coasts, “because it smells of a place as opposed to the others that smell of specific objects.” Thinking about losing special memories of beach trips with family and friends, or a whole generation limited to experiencing them via bottle is a startling reminder of what we risk when we don’t think about how our actions impact climate.
As major brands like IKEA attempt change their carbon footprint and average Joe/annas create new tech to help us all cut down on our climate-changing actions, it’s a powerful reminder to think about what future generations could be missing out on.
The perfumes are not currently available for purchase, but most of the scents can still be found in our everyday lives… hopefully forever!
What do you think of this project? Let us know in the comments below!