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Sustainable Moving Tips

Sustainable Moving Tips

Moving season is here! Use this helpful guide to cut back on waste during your move. 

If you have a Sabai sofa or plan to get one - you're already on track for an easy waste-free move. You can quickly disassemble your sofa and carry it in individual pieces to your new home. No need to wrap it in plastic for extra protection. Rest the individual pieces on towels, sheets, or blankets that you plan to bring to your new home for extra protection in transit. 

For non-Sabai pieces: 

1. Wrap fragile pieces like framed photos or dishes in fabric items you plan to bring with you. T-shirts, towels, blankets, etc. make great replacements for bubble wrap or other single use options. 

2. Make a homemade all-purpose cleaner in advance to clean any surfaces that are dirty when you arrive. We love using old t-shirts, towels, or reusable cloths instead of paper towels. Trash is for Tossers offers a very simple recipe: fill 1/2 a spray container with water, the other half with white vinegar. Then add in 10 drops of an essential oil of your choice. One of our team members added eucalyptus essential oil and we are big fans. 

3. When you're looking to add furniture pieces to your new home - look for second-hand, vintage pieces, or new products that are sustainably made. If you're in the NYC area here are a few of our favorite spots: 

- Lambertville, NJ - if you can rent a car or get away for the weekend there are great pieces to be found all over this enchanted town. 

-Dobbin St. Co-op

-Humble House Brooklyn

-Furnish Green 

-Olde Good Things 

-Cure Thrift Shop 

-Small Furniture

-Brooklyn Flea

Online Sources:

-AptDeco

-Chairish

-Kaiyo

-Craigslist 

-Facebook Market Place

-Etsy

4.  Food: Donate or giveaway any food that is shelf safe. Bring anything from your cupboard that you can salvage and want. Reusable freezer bags are great for any frozen goods if you are moving just a short distance away. Consciously dispose of any food that is no longer good - be sure to rinse off any recyclables. 

*Don't forget to pack reusable water bottles to stay hydrated and snacks in reusable containers like Stasher Bags for move-in day. 

5. Clothing: Who doesn't take moving as an opportunity to clean out their closet? For items you no longer want there are awesome re-sale or donation opportunities like Plato's Closet, Beacon's Closet, Goodwill, The Salvation Army, and Buffalo Exchange. For online options - Poshmark, ThredUp, and the RealReal are great too! You could always host a purge party for your friends to come over and shop what you're giving away. 

A great way to pack hanging clothes is on the hanger directly into your car or in reusable hanging bags. This way you don't need a separate container for your hangers and no need to spend money on moving boxes. Using bins or laundry baskets are great for moving clothing or shoes as well. Don't forget to leave some t-shirts out to wrap your fragile items. If you live in a building with cardboard collection - this is often a great source for used cardboard boxes to pack with as well. 

6. Disposing of old furniture? Include these pieces in your purge party too. Another great way to keep old furniture in good condition in use is to sell it at local secondhand stores or online on sites like Craigslist or AptDeco. You can also donate furniture pieces to organizations like Habitat for Humanity or Goodwill. If you're hoping to move on from a Sabai piece - consider selling it through our closed loop program - Sabai Revive. Fill out our buyback form to get started. 

If you're in the process of moving or planning it, we wish you the best of luck with your move. And if you're in need of new furniture that's a breeze to move with, check out our sustainable and nontoxic pieces here.  

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Designing around your Sabai

Designing around your Sabai

Many of you have asked our team for design inspiration and about the best color palettes when considering your sofa fabric. We consulted Natalie Myers, an award winning interior designer, to bring you four mood boards to inspire your home decor.

Natalie first worked with Sabai when decorating a client's home - she enjoyed our sofa so much she got one for her home too! I recently spoke with Natalie to learn more about her style, how she incorporates sustainability into interior design, and the inspiration behind her mood boards. 

 

SK: Natalie, we love your style - can you tell us more about what Scandifornian design is?

NM: Scandifornian design is a term I coined that I use as a guiding philosophy in my work. It combines a minimal and edited approach to decorating and furnishings inspired by Nordic and Japanese sensibilities. Being purposeful about the objects you bring into a home and consistent in the material and color palette. It's also inspired by the laid back Californian lifestyle that meshes indoor and outdoor living year round and incorporates mostly natural materials and textures. 


SK: Do you have any sustainable design tips for the Sabai community?

NM: A love for the natural environment means a sensitivity to sustainably made goods. When shopping for large furniture pieces I look for items that are domestically made, and locally made is even better, to reduce the carbon footprint of shipping the items. I look for well constructed and well engineered pieces that won't fall apart and be shuffled off to the landfill in a few years time. I look for natural materials like wool, cotton, hemp, jute, sisal, linen, and wood or recycled plastics. Woods that are sustainably harvested. No MDF. I can feel good about specifying a product that I know won't have toxic chemicals, has longevity, can be recycled or upcycled, and was made with fair wages. Luckily there are so many amazing companies and products out there providing these options, like Sabai. The style is on par with designer pieces and the quality is typically better than the fast fashion furniture brands. 


SK: I love all of this! Our team is also a huge fan of secondhand pieces as they have a lower impact on the environment, are often more affordable, and prevent waste. Would you mind walking us through the four mood boards you designed with our fabrics? 

NM: For the mood boards, I played around with different Sabai fabric options to show how you can make the sofa work for many home styles and user personalities. 

 


Warm

The Dusty Rose and Mustard recycled velvet fabrics take on a young energetic mood when mixed with blonde woods, brass, and funky tile concepts. On first glance the mood board reads feminine, but from experience I know even the most masculine personalities love spending time in these colors. It's a mood booster for all and feels fashion forward as well as contemporary.

Fabrics: Dusty Rose and Mustard Recycled Velvets 



Blues

A modern space can take on masculine clean lines with the Indigo Recycled Velvet and Midnight Upcycled Poly fabrics, smoky cerused oak wood, tobacco leather, and matte black accents. It is a confidently handsome mood board that works for everyone with more streamlined sensibilities.  

Fabrics: Midnight Upcycled Poly and Indigo Recycled Velvet  

 


Greens

The Seafoam and Moss Recycled Velvet fabrics with light grey and polished nickel accents is the most family friendly mood board. It will age beautifully with kids and pets and general life happening around. It reads very well balanced. A crowd pleasing combo.

Fabrics: Moss and Seafoam Recycled Velvet

 


Neutrals

The neutral scheme is a dreamy vacation inspired mood board that will instantly relax you. More suitable for a person who likes the spaces unfussy and zen, rich with subtle natural texture. 

Fabrics: Oat Upcycled Poly 


Thanks so much Natalie! These mood boards are so beautiful - our team can't wait to see how they are incorporated into folks' homes. Feel free to tag us, @Sabai.Design, and Natalie, @NatalieMyers, on Instagram. Don't forget to use #SabaiAtHome and #OnMySabai. 

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The Woman Behind Your Furniture

The Woman Behind Your Furniture

At Sabai we are proud to be a women-owned organization, however even more empowered and creative women run our company daily. 

Our full-time team is entirely composed of women and each day several other women contribute their unique talents to all that is Sabai: from design and operations to PR and manufacturing. 

In honor of Women's History Month, our team wants to introduce you to the woman behind your furniture, Maribel Montenegro. 

Maribel is the Administration Manager at our factory. Daily in High Point, Maribel coordinates with the our operations team to ensure that the correct product is reaching each customer. Not to mention, she's organizing the shipping and packaging for each Sabai piece. Most importantly, she's overseeing our production to ensure that the right pieces are being made and on a timely basis. 

Sabai Co-Founder Phantila Phataraprasit (virtually) spoke with Maribel to learn more about her work, sustainable practices, advice as a working mother, and favorite spots in High Point. 

PP: How did you find yourself in the furniture industry? And how did your upbringing take you to furniture - did you have a specific skill set or knowledge of the industry?

MM: I studied business administration Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in Georgia. When we  (Maribel and her husband Carlos) decided to open our own furniture shop, my college education played an important part on making our business grow. Specifically, learning about business structure has helped me manage the administrative side of the business.  While furniture was a new industry for me, Carlos had been working on furniture for more than 15 years. Because of his work, I was confident that I was familiar with the general concepts in the furniture industry from the beginning. 

PP: What is your favorite part of your work and work with Sabai?

MM: I love seeing how we realize a customer's vision - especially with Sabai. It is incredible to step back and appreciate that we are taking part in the process of making sustainable furniture - a concept that is still very new to our industry. 

 PP:  How does sustainability play a role in your work?

MM: I’m very conscious about sustainability so we are always looking for ways to reduce waste and re-use materials. And when we can, we use responsible materials that are sustainably sourced. A few factory specific examples of our conscious strides are: 

  • Using leftover fabric scraps to make new zipper stoppers. 
  • We make small throw pillow covers from leftover fabric pieces. 
  • Sometimes, we even use leftover fabric pieces beneath the upholstery. 
  • Prioritizing sustainable materials such as jute (for our webbing), cotton, as well as natural fibers. 

PP: The factory prides itself on offering living wages  - can you tell us more about how this standard originated?

MM: We always wanted to have high quality standards and I think appreciating employees work in every aspect is an essential step to achieve those goals. Plus every employee takes a part of making the factory run.  This has been our standard from the very beginning. We definitely see that our employees are satisfied with the company. For example, 90% of our employees have been with us since the very beginning (almost 4 years) - this says a lot. 

PP: As a working mother, what do you hope to teach your children or want them to know about being a woman in the workplace as well as a working mom?

MM: I hope my kids can see how important is to work for what they want to achieve and feel accomplished in the making. As women, we find great satisfaction when develop in all aspects in life - as mothers, wives, workers and so on. Showing myself as a valuable worker to the people around me; including my kids, let them know that no matter one's gender we are all valuable in our workplace. 

PP: Do you have any recommendations for someone who may want to visit High Point?

MM: High Point is a great place to find all resources and materials for making furniture and a great place to buy furniture. You all should visit during Market Week. The High Point Furniture Market is really exciting for us locals because our small city becomes full of people from different parts of the world. You can also find so many types of furniture for any and all design purposes. It's beyond exciting if design is your thing. 

While you're in the area, a few of my favorite local spots to grab a bite to eat are:

  • Magnolia Blue 
  • The Basil Leaf Sushi & Thai 
  • The Market (Phantila's favorite spot for cake when she visits) 

A huge thank you to Maribel and the driven women who inspire our team each day. Sabai is dependent on your creativity, passion, inspiration, and determination.  

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Environmental Justice: What You Need to Know, How You Can Have an Impact.

Environmental Justice: What You Need to Know, How You Can Have an Impact.

When Phantila and I set out to start Sabai, there was one thing we were both certain of: we wanted to build a business centered around inclusive sustainability. Most companies that market themselves as sustainable create a brand that only embodies whiteness. Not Sabai. 

Sabai is a Thai word that means cozy - this is how we want every single member of our community to feel when they engage with us, no matter their race, religion, gender, sexuality, or background. From our name to our entire brand ethos, we take a global approach to sustainability that focuses on bringing everyone into the fold, and acknowledges the history of sustainability and its origins within Black and Indigenous communities.

Making Sabai an inclusive brand is not only representative of our beliefs but also of the unjust reality that people of color are disproportionately impacted by environmental issues. Communities of color in America are exposed to significantly more air pollution, toxic waste sites, landfills, lead poisoning, and other industrial complexes. 

The proof is in the pudding: A study conducted in 1983 by the U.S. Congress’ General Accounting Office (GAO) found that 75% of the hazardous waste landfill sites in eight southeastern states were in low-income communities of color. 

Meanwhile, a 2014 study found that Black people are 75% more likely to live near fenceline zones. A fenceline zone is defined in the study as, “an area designated as one-tenth the distance of the vulnerability zone, in which those affected are least likely to be able to escape from a toxic or flammable chemical emergency, but not representing the outer bounds of potential harm.” This means that Black people are more likely to be exposed to chemicals that have been linked to cancer, birth defects, and chronic illnesses.

To ensure that Sabai embodies inclusive sustainability, our team is working to reduce waste by using recycled materials and through our Closed Loop Program, Sabai Revive. Meanwhile, Sabai’s products are nontoxic - they are made without harmful chemicals such as flame retardants or formaldehydes to prevent further inequities in public health. Unchecked by government, corporations big and small are responsible for this legacy of harm. As a small business, we lead by example through our inclusive and sustainable ethos. However, it is the strength of our message that we hope will inspire our community to take collective action and demand these practices from our governments as well as all corporations.

 

To close out Black History Month, I spoke with Sustainable Brooklyn's Whitney McGuire to discuss environmental racism, climate change, and sustainability messaging. Whitney is a Co-Founder of Sustainable Brooklyn, an organization that is bridging the gap between the sustainability movement and targeted communities. She is also an attorney and leader in fashion law. 

Caitlin: Can you tell us how sustainable corporations are excluding Black and Brown communities? 

Whitney: The sustainability movement doesn’t incorporate the different aspects of different cultures that practice sustainability. We are the originators of this concept of sustainability that is being appropriated, repackaged, and resold to us as a commodity that we need to buy into in order to “be sustainable”. It’s a fucking lie. When you’re broke you take the train, when you’re broke you take the bus, you shop second hand clothing, you shop at thrift stores.This has been my entire life.

Caitlin: Right. Where do you think that cognitive dissonance began? Where can we trace the rewriting of this legacy within history to?

Whitney: Not addressing the lived experiences of descendants of enslaved Africans throughout America is [the first] gaping hole in most conversations about sustainability. 

Caitlin: Of course, so essentially history has been re-written from Day 1. Do you have any advice for brands with sustainable products that want to ensure their company is inclusive and incorporates the communities of color that have been at the forefront of sustainability for generations?

Whitney: If you want to be on the wave of the future, and you want to actually paint the future and break with the status quo, you have to be willing to make bold decisions. For corporate brands, that can be difficult with the landscape of venture capital funding. But we at Sustainable Brooklyn try to emphasize the importance of really paying attention to your responsibilities within intersectionality. Any brand that is on that wave is automatically willing to at least do some introspection to ask, "Where is our accountability, and how can we make more intentional actions? What is our responsibility to our consumers and their communities?" These brands can’t operate in silos anymore, and can’t think that "business as usual" is going to shield them from the impacts of an unstable social climate. Brands have to really understand that they have much more responsibility now than they have been given in the past.

Caitlin: How can our community help the environmental justice movement? 

Whitney: Locally, our elections are really impactful. It’s vital that we take the extra step to go to the police commissioner’s website and see who our actual representatives are, to go to our County Board of Elections and see who the gatekeepers to our safety are. So I would encourage people to use this momentum from the national election to form habits of political engagement.

Caitlin: I couldn’t agree more with your advice to create habits of political engagement, especially at the local level. Thanks so much Whitney for sharing your perspective, life’s work, and action steps with us! 

 

For more resources on Environmental Racism and the Environmental Justice Movement please visit: 

Climate Justice Alliance

NAACP

Sunrise Movement

Yale Environment 360

 

Photo by Sustainable Brooklyn, featuring Co-Founders Whitney McGuire and Domonique Drakeford on the Essential Sofa in Indigo Velvet.  

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An Open Letter to Our Community

An Open Letter to Our Community

To Our Community,

I want to start by saying a resounding thank you. Thank you for bolstering our team each day as we realize our vision of a sustainable future. Your feedback, support, values, ideas, and imagination are Sabai's true north. On behalf of our team, I personally invite you to join us in upholding the Sabai Standard.

The Sabai Standard is a culmination of our mission - to make beautifully designed, affordable furniture that doesn’t cost the earth. Our goal is to prolong the life of our furniture by offering customers the right to repair their furniture and a Closed Loop Promise that affords Sabai's pieces a second chance at life. The Sabai Standard is not only designed to reduce furniture waste but also to provide our customers with more affordable options, whether that be through accessible repairs or a secondhand sofa. 

After working behind our customer support email, I was struck by one recurring theme: life happens. Isn't that just magical? Yes, most of the time. However, when your adorable puppy mistakes your new sofa leg for a chew toy it is not as wonderful as most moments life beckons.

Now, life's sticky situations do not need to be a means to an end for Sabai's furniture. The furniture industry's current cycle of buy, use, wear, and trash is not sustainable: for our planet or bank accounts. With the launch of the Sabai Standard, I ask for your participation in setting a new standard for the furniture industry - one that embraces circularity, not waste. 

To our fellow furniture companies, the impact of this program will only be greater with you on board. I encourage you to join Sabai in taking responsibility for the life cycle of your furniture products. Please let our team know if you we can help along the way. 

To our customers, we set the foundation that will empower you to minimize your personal impact and look forward to your taking part - when and if the time comes. 

To our community, the Sabai Standard is just the first leg up for the furniture industry. I hope that together we can foster open conversations and constructive growth as we enter this new era of consciousness. I look forward to seeing what we achieve as a collective body. 

Stay cozy, 

Sophie Kennedy
Director of Business Development

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5 Black Owned Home Decor Businesses To Support

5 Black Owned Home Decor Businesses To Support

Now that most of us are spending far more time at home, many of our apartments are getting old fast. If you’re looking to add something new to your home right now, consider making your purchase at a brand founded by a Black entrepreneur. Whether your walls need a fresh coat of paint, your old couch is due for an upgrade, or you’re looking for a new set of plates and glasses for the day you’re allowed to host a dinner party again, these Black-owned brands have got all your home decor needs covered. 

Harlem Toile

Drawing on the eighteenth century french toile tradition, which depicted rural scenes in wallpaper patterns, Sheila Bridges created a gorgeous, subversive wall covering featuring images which, in Bridges' words, "lampoon some of the stereotypes deeply woven into the African American experience." Her design is critically acclaimed, housed in the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum’s wallpaper collection and often exhibited in museums worldwide, from The Studio Museum in Harlem to the Musee De La Toile De Jouy in France. The design was originally only available as wallpaper, but is now sold on bedding, ceramics, and glassware. 

Jungalow

Justina Blakeney started Junglaow as a blog, but her eye for aesthetics quickly led to the site’s evolution into a lifestyle brand. The online boutique sells basically everything you could possibly need to decorate a home: bedding, bath accessories, planters, glassware, plates, rugs, light fixtures, and more, from Jungalow’s in house line and carefully chosen outside brands. The website also curates a selection of prints by womxn artists. The company prioritizes sustainability by shipping in pre-used boxes, and working with vendors and suppliers that use natural, recycled, and compostable materials. For every purchase made at Jungalow, the company plants at least two trees.

Mitchell Black

Mitchell Black is a Chicago-based wallpaper brand offering permanent and removable versions of their vibrant, colorful designs. Their ‘Bohemian Bungalow’ collection offers a variety of nature-inspired patterns: ferns in deep indigo, a lotus pattern in metallic gold, and an art deco take on palm fronds. The brand also sells photographic wallpapers: bright and invigorating coastal images like ocean swimmers and beach umbrellas from a bird’s eye view. 

Clare

Nicole Gibbons thought paint shopping was a hassle-filled, overly long process, so she decided to create Clare as a one-stop shop for indoor paint, with a pared-down collection of 56 colors you can order online. The website offers an interactive feature called Color Genius that suggests colors based on your furniture and space. Their swatches are peel and stick, so you can easily imagine the colors on your walls, and don’t have to deal with paint chips. To top it all off, Clare paints are sustainable, free of toxic carbon-based solvents and manufactured through a Greenguard Gold certified process, which means they meet rigorous standards for emissions. 

Sabai

Caitlin Ellen and Phantila Phataraprasit couldn’t find a chic, eco-conscious couch at an affordable price, so they made their own, founding a company to offer other people the furniture they’d been dreaming of. Sabai couches and pillows are sustainable, affordable, customizable, and of course, beautiful. Made of fabrics that come from natural fibers and recycled water bottles and manufactured in High Point, North Carolina, their sofas are not just sustainable, but also easy to assemble, stain-resistant, and soft.

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How to Make Iced Coffee at Home

How to Make Iced Coffee at Home

Picking up an iced coffee on the way to work, school, or wherever we were going was a beloved part of many of our pre-quarantine routines. However, that habit was never good for the environment, and now it’s also potentially hazardous to our and others’ health. With that in mind, we’ve been learning how to make our own cold brew at home during quarantine.


We’ve all heard the statistics about plastic straws in the ocean, but the straws aren’t even the worst part. Most takeout iced coffee cups aren’t even recyclable, because they’re made of polypropylene, a material most recycling programs don’t accept. So basically, making iced coffee at home keeps you and others safe from COVID-19, and helps shrink your environmental footprint. 


It also couldn’t be easier. All you have to do is measure out 1 cup of coarsely ground coffee, mix it with four cups of cold water in a large jar, stir, and put it in the fridge overnight (anywhere from 12-24 hours). When you’re ready to drink, filter out the grounds using a coffee filter or a french press! 

We like these compostable coffee filters from Public Goods, or these reusable cotton ones from Thrive. The jar options are endless. We used the jar our favorite Bloody Mary mix came in, but you can use a mason jar, or any other empty glass glass container that seals shut tightly. 


Pour over ice, add your favorite milk or non-dairy substitute, and drink! If the straw is essential to your iced coffee experience, try a stainless steel version. We love these from Onyx. They curve at the right angle, and they’re dishwasher safe.

 

Image By David Dewitt

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A Q&A With Sabai Founders, Caitlin and Phantila

 

Last week, I spoke to Sabai's founders about how they started their company, why they wanted to make couches, and what it's like to be young women working in two male-dominated sectors: the startup space and the furniture industry. 

 

Q: So, how did you two meet?

Phantila Phataprasit: We met in college, first as friends and then as colleagues – our first business venture together actually came before Sabai, when we were still in school.

Caitlin Ellen: In college, we worked together to found Columbia University’s first credit union. We wanted to give students a better way to bank, a system that actually had their best interests at heart, so we helped establish a student-run credit union that also helped students learn financial literacy. We already had a personal rapport, but we really built our professional rapport during that project.

Q: Why couches? You two definitely seem destined to be business partners in something, but what drew you towards making furniture?   

Caitlin: During our senior year of college, we lived together and really started trying to incorporate sustainability into our daily lives. We learned how to compost, and joined CSA, and planned to bring this climate-oriented mindset into our post-college lives.

Phantila: So, when we started trying to furnish our first apartments, we realized there weren’t really any affordable, sustainable furniture options on the market, especially in the couch space. We wanted to bring our values into our purchasing decisions, but that option just wasn’t there. So, we decided to create it, and we set out to figure out what a sustainable furniture company that produced pieces at a reasonable price point might look like.

Q: How do you see Sabai becoming even more climate-conscious in the future? Do you guys have any plans to reduce your company’s environmental impact even more?

Phantila: That’s one of our top priorities – one of the reasons we were inspired to start this company was that we kept seeing abandoned furniture on curbs. People throw away so much furniture in this city! And we wanted to figure out how to build something that would last longer, and create less waste.

Caitlin: 80% of the furniture in this country ends up in landfills. With that in mind, we are looking for ways to make the end of a Sabai couch’s life more sustainable, ways to keep them out of landfills. We’ve focused so much on keeping the production side sustainable (you’ll read more about that soon, in an interview with our factory owners), so now we’re turning toward the other end – we’re looking at a buy-back option that could close the production loop entirely, and a repair-don’t-replace program.

Q: Lastly – can you two talk a little bit about your experience as young women in the startup and furniture spaces?

Caitlin: Well, we get called girls a lot. It’s just harder to be taken seriously when you are entering these male-dominated spaces as a woman, especially a young one.

Phantila: The furniture industry has established its systems over centuries, so it’s a really traditional, aging industry. We’ve come up a lot of men who don’t trust us to know what we’re talking about, or don’t take us seriously, but we’ve also met so many deeply kind, open people in the industry who are excited to get new perspectives and want to modernize their industry.

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5 Climate Change Docs to Binge Watch

5 Climate Change Docs to Binge Watch

Every day seems to bring more news about COVID-19’s spread across the globe. Bogged down by constant coronavirus coverage, we risk forgetting about other urgent crises facing our planet, most importantly, climate change. In between the next two shows you binge watch this quarantine, give yourself a refresher course on climate change, sustainable solutions, and our planet’s history with one (or all!) of these climate-focused documentaries.


1. Our Planet

Released on Netflix last April, this British docu-series focuses on the way climate change affects animal life across the globe. David Attenborough narrates in a soothing British accent, taking you from coastal aquatic ecosystems to rainforests and deserts, documenting how all these spaces are under siege from encroaching human-induced climate change. This series basically combines a national geographic style tour of the world’s natural wonders with eloquent, lucid scientific explanations of how we got here.

2. Sustainable

This documentary will change the way you think about your next meal. It’s a deep dive into the American food system, following the trail of devastation big agribusiness has left in its wake by telling the story of a seventh-generation, independent farmer in Illinois. You’ll learn how large agriculture corporations’ farming practices degrade our soil, waste massive amounts of water, and overuse pesticides, but also how we can build a better food system to replace this one. 

3. True North

This series comes from the progressive news organization The Young Turks, and follows three journalists as they embark on a trip to the arctic to see how climate change is affecting local native live, arctic wildlife, and deep north ecosystems overall. They draw connections between the north pole’s ecosystem and weather patterns all over the world, and tell their stories in an honest, inspiring voice. The episodes clock in at less than twenty minutes each, and you can watch them on youtube. 


4. The True Cost

After you watch this 2015 documentary about the fast-fashion industry, you’ll never be able to shop online at Zara the same way again. In addition to revealing how exploitative the industry is for garment workers, the film also reveals all the hidden climate costs of fast fashion, from the way factories foster river and soil pollution, contaminate crops, spread disease, and contribute to greenhouse gas emissions. 

5. 2040

If all those movies are starting to make you pessimistic, finish off your film syllabus with 2040, an Australian documentary that came out last year. Filmmaker Damon Gameau imagines the world he hopes his young daughter can inherit twenty years from now, and it’s a much healthier, happier one than we currently live in. He looks at technologies like renewable energy sources and potential futuristic mass transit solutions, and remains optimistic even as he lays out how difficult our journey to this future will be.

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How to Help Heal the Food Chain From Your Couch

How to Help Heal the Food Chain From Your Couch

During quarantine, it’s easy to feel powerless to help the small businesses that you used to patronize in daily life. We all have favorite restaurants, cafes and bars we miss, and many of the entrepreneurs behind them will struggle to reopen storefronts when all this is over while many of their employees are struggling to buy essentials in the meantime. In addition, many of the wholesalers and farmers that supply our favorite spots are losing business too. While the coronavirus has broken a lot of American food chains, there are ways you can help mend its holes from your couch. We pulled together four ways to support farmers, restaurateurs, food service workers, and wholesalers during this crisis. 

1. Buy Produce From A CSA

Community Supported Agriculture programs are a great way to support farmers in your region who have lost business during this crisis. Here’s how they work: you sign up to pay a monthly fee to a farm, and you periodically receive an assortment of fresh produce. In New York, the City Greenmarkets are partnering with the app Fellow Farmer so you can sign up online, pre pay, and coordinate contactless delivery. Modern Farmer published a list of CSAs in every state, which you can check out here. When you want to choose your own specific produce, OurHarvest allows you to shop from an online array of locally-sourced groceries, and OurHarvest will donate a meal to a local food pantry for every order over $25. 

2. Buy Ingredients From Restaurant Wholesalers

Companies that normally source niche, gourmet ingredients and sell directly to restaurants are hurting right now, with restaurants closed. During quarantine, you can buy restaurant-quality ingredients in bulk to cook with. Not only are you supporting a struggling business, but you also get access to the types of ingredients that are usually hard to find for a non-chef. In New York, two options offering home delivery right now are Baldor and Natoora.

3. Tip Your Out of Work Servers & Bartenders

Huge numbers of restaurateurs have created GoFundMe campaigns to support the staff they laid off or furloughed because of COVID. Use GoFundMe’s search function to look up your favorite closed restaurants, bars, and cafes to see if they’ve set one up, and you can donate directly to the people who used to work in your favorite spots. If a business hasn’t set one of these up, you can donate to one of the funds for out of work food workers – the Restaurant Workers Community Foundation’s Emergency COVID-19 Relief Fund is a great option.

4. Buy Gift Cards & Dining Bonds

See if your favorite places are selling gift cards online. Many are, and plan to put the money towards reopening in the future. Buy one now and start imagining your first restaurant meal post-quarantine. Hundreds of restaurants have also joined Dining Bonds, which is a program that sell gift cards at 25% off, so you are making an investment that pays off in free food. Check out participating restaurants here.

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