Farmers in Britain are bottling countryside air and selling it online for £80 a pop. We just bought a jar…
There’s a new business called AETHAER that’s flogging harvested British air online. According to its website, the word aethaer derives from Ancient Greek and is pronounced ‘eath-air’. Until recently, it described air only accessible to the ‘Gods’.
The ‘premium quality’ product is being bottled in ‘heritage-style glass jars’ and sold for £80 each. On the Aethaer website, you can purchase a small portion of the air via PayPal. Delivery in the UK costs £8. To the Heard Islands and McDonald Islands, £12.80.
‘Aethear is collected from fresh natural air flowing over a range of prime locations, from fertile lush pastures and wild untouched meadows, to wind-kissed hilltops and heavenly snow-capped mountains,’ Aethaer explains.
‘It’s filtered organically by nature as it flows between the leaves of woodland trees, absorbs pristine water as it passes over babbling brooks and forest streams, and is lovingly caressed as it rolls over and between mineral rich rock formations, after which it is blown up over vistas of untouched beauty’.
Yes, you’d imagine this is all an elaborate joke. But it appears so surprisingly legitimate. We checked out the terms and conditions, which told us that it’s not a brazen act of tomfoolery – rather, an environmental campaign.
Leo de Watts, from Dorset but mainly now based in Hong Kong, responded to our call on Wednesday and told us a bit more about his new enterprise.
He’s just confirmed an order of 100 jars of fresh, British air to a factory in China.
‘There’s really a market for this,’ de Watts told Country and Town House. ‘We’ve just started, but have already sold 100 jars to a factory in China.
‘We’ve seen similar places in Canada and the US doing it – people see it as a display of luxury, or a piece of art, or even something to use.
‘For me – and my family, who’re involved – we think it’s ridiculous, so this is a way of highlighting an issue with pollution and so on. In some parts of the world, there’s not much care for pollutants, so this is a way of actually drawing attention to it.
‘We’re going to use some of the profits for environmental campaigns. That’s what this is – if people really want to buy clean(er) air for £80 a go, they can.’
De Watts also told us that he came to the £80 price point having read about a French artist who sold some earth for the same sum. It’s lavish, outlandish, but, as the recent order proves, people genuinely have the money to spend on the very stuff that’s around them.
‘We get the air from Dorset, mainly,’ de Watts added. ‘But also from Devon, Wiltshire – even Yorkshire and Wales. We’re air farmers.’
De Watts does have other pursuits, which includes event management and various business interests. But right now, he’s pushing air, big time.
We see de Watts as a sort of an agricultural hot air balloon for people who need a fresh take on breathing.
The AETHAER project is aimed at highlighting issues of environmental concern and is being developed to help inspire original thought to combat such issues. Our intentions are to be a force for good, and influence change for generations to come, through our own actions, and by promoting the work of others. Whether our products are purchased for personal use, as gifts, for decoration, or are utilised as advertised, we hope to be a starting point for conversation that leads to change.
The team behind the project is now marketing its air – suggesting people in polluted cities might benefit from the clean, crisp purity distilled and caught in the sweeping English countryside, ‘far away from industrial pollutants, motorways, and impurities, in search of the most immaculate quality of air.’
Having done some investigation, we seem to have accidentally bought a jar of air via PayPal. The payment is ‘in progress’. We hope it doesn’t go through.